Hat manipulation is a form of juggling in which the manipulator performs feats of skill and dexterity using a brimmed hat such as a bowler hat or a top hat as a prop. Tricks can range from rolling a hat up and down the various parts of the body to throwing and catching the hat in amusing ways. Hat manipulation is often comedic in nature, and can be very entertaining. Part of the appeal of the art is in the necessary equipment; all that is needed is a good, heavy, brimmed hat, which can be found at many juggling stores. Famous manufacturers of manipulation specific hats are Nils Poll and Dubé. Hat manipulation is also frequently combined with traditional forms of juggling in order to create more varied acts.
Types of tricks
The types of tricks performed during hat manipulation fall into seven major categories. These are:
- Tumbles: Tricks where the hat rotates end over end (possibly over the body).
- Twiddles: Tricks in which a hat rotates quickly through the fingers.
- Spins: Tricks where the hat spins around its central axis, much like showing off with a basketball.
- Rolls: Tricks involving the hat spinning on its brim like a wheel.
- Throws: Tricks where a hat is thrown into the air.
- Comedy: Gags with the hat intended to make the audience laugh.
- Multi-hat juggling: Juggling 3 or more hats along the lines of normal juggling.
Chapeaugraphy, occasionally anglicised to chapography, is a panhandling trick in which a ring-shaped piece of felt is manipulated to look like various types of hats. The act originated in 1618 with Parisian street performer Tabarin, the most famous of the charlatans who combined a French version of commedia dell'arte with a quack medicine show.
In the 1870s another French comedian, Monsieur Fusier, revived the act and managed 15 hat-twisting styles in his act.
Types of hat that can be created:
- baseball cap
- American and British army hats from the Revolutionary War
- pirate's hat
- naval captain's hat
- Mickey Mouse ears
- Ushanka (a Russian fur hat)
- mortarboard (a graduation cap)
- Catholic nun's headgear
- derby hat
and several inventive others.
Some know chapeaugraphers are
- Tabarin, a French comedian,
- Monsieur Fusier, another French comedian who revived the act,
- Paul Wildbaum, a Canadian physical comedy master, and
- Sir Richard, a New Zealander event host.
- List of Circus skills