Magic performances usually require that the illusionist's hand and body motions appear casual and un-choreographed—but this is far from the truth. Indeed, magic and juggling require similar levels of practice and dexterity. There are many other connections, historical, social and cultural, between magic and juggling. Yet, one customary difference between both types of performance is that, whereas magic shows appear to defeat the physical laws of nature (objects appear and disappear, they levitate, they transmogrify), juggling shows demonstrate the skill of the performer in the face of gravity. Except perhaps for one particular modality of juggling, known as contact juggling. Here, there are no hidden moves, no contraptions, no smoke or mirrors. Everything happens the way it looks—but how things look seems impossible.
In memory of the artist David Bowie, who died on Sunday, January 10, we feature here an excerpt of the movie Labyrinth, with Bowie performing contact juggling as the Goblin King. [In reality, Bowie did not juggle the crystal balls, but juggler Michael Moschen did it instead blindly, while hiding under Bowie's armpit. Real movie magic].