The manipulation of the devil stick (also devil-sticks, devilsticks, flower sticks, gravity sticks, or juggling sticks) is a form of gyroscopic juggling or equilibristics, consisting of manipulating one stick ("baton") between one or two other sticks held one in each hand. The baton is lifted, struck, or stroked by the two control sticks ('handsticks' or 'sidesticks'), stabilising the baton through gyroscopic motion.
Devil sticks are believed to have originated in China in the distant past, in the form of simple wooden juggling sticks. They are one of the circus arts, and is sometimes called devil-sticking, twirling, sticking, or stick juggling.
Devil sticks are always conic and most of the times wooden.
Flower sticks have flower-shaped ends which somewhat slow down the movement of the baton to learn more difficult moves and tricks. Heavier and floppier ends allow for greater control by expanding the sweet spot with more weight and increasing the duration of the control phase of a stroke or lift due to the momentum and continued motion of the 'flop' or 'tassel' on the ends of the central baton.
Fire devil sticks (also known as firesticks) typically have an aluminum core and have fuel-soaked wicks on the ends to allow them to be set on fire for visual effect. Both flower and non-flower versions of firesticks exist.
Illuminated devilsticks can create interesting visual effects in darkness with the use of battery-powered electric 'seed' bulbs; LEDs; or with phosphorescent or chemiluminescent materials.
- Hovey Burgess; Judy Finelli (1976). Circus techniques: juggling, equilibristics, (+) vaulting. Drama Book Specialists. p. 106. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- Hovey Burgess; Judy Finelli (1976). Circus techniques: juggling, equilibristics, (+) vaulting. Drama Book Specialists. p. 108. Retrieved 8 September 2012. - Although devil sticks have been known in the West for a long time, they originated in China and even today's Chinese acrobat- jugglers excel at devil sticks.
- Sampa Ghosh; Utpal Kumar Banerjee (1 January 2006). Indian Puppets. Abhinav Publications. pp. 287–. ISBN 978-81-7017-435-6. Retrieved 8 September 2012. - The ancient Chinese were skilful craftsmen and one of the oldest props in juggling; the devil on two sticks
- Frank Cullen; Florence Hackman; Donald McNeilly (16 October 2006). Vaudeville, Old and New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America 2V Set. Psychology Press. pp. 308–. ISBN 978-0-415-93853-2. Retrieved 8 September 2012. - Originally simple wooden sticks that originated centuries ago in China...
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