Disco ball

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A mirrored disco ball

A disco ball (also known as a mirror ball or glitter ball) is a roughly spherical object that reflects light directed at it in many directions, producing a complex display. Its surface consists of hundreds or thousands of facets, nearly all of approximately the same shape and size, and each having a mirrored surface. Usually it is mounted well above the heads of the people present, suspended from a device that causes it to rotate steadily on a vertical axis and illuminated by spotlights, so that stationary viewers experience beams of light flashing over them, and see myriad spots of light spinning around the walls of the room. They are typically but not exclusively associated nightclubs, especially Discotheques, where they got their modern name from.

Miniature glitter balls are sold as novelties and used for a number of decorative purposes, including dangling from the rear-view mirror of an automobile or Christmas tree ornaments. Glitter balls may have inspired a homemade version in the sparkleball, the American outsider craft of building decorative light balls out of Christmas lights and plastic cups.

A disco ball and spotlight in the Fishbowl of Currier House.


What are now usually called "disco balls" were first widely used in nightclubs in the 1920s.[1] They were patented in 1917.[2] An early example can be seen in the nightclub sequence of Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt, a German silent film from 1927. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, these devices were a standard piece of equipment in discothèques, and by the turn of the millennium, the name "disco ball" had grown quite popular.[citation needed]

A Louisville, Kentucky company known as Omega National Products claims to have made 90% of the disco balls used in the United States during the disco craze, and remains a supplier.[3][2]

A mirrored ball can be seen above the bandstand in this 1919 photo of the Louisiana Five jazz band.

Popular culture[edit]

The 1942 movie Casablanca featured a disco ball in a flashback sequence.

The English rock band Yes used a variant of the disco ball in their 1972 "Close to the Edge" tour. This was a slowly spinning vertical mirror disk mounted atop a tall ladder, with a single spotlight aimed at it, used for the opening and closing birds/waterfall-sounds sequences of the title song Close to the Edge.[4]

The Grateful Dead featured a disco ball in the band's 1977 concert documentary The Grateful Dead Movie. The film includes several sequences where glittery reflections from a disco ball fill San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom during a series of 1974 performances. "A twirling mirror ball overhead also adds some visual flash to the image," notes a reviewer.[5]

Every Raising Cane's restaurant has this type of ball, since its inception in Baton Rouge, LA in 1996.

U2 also featured a lemon-shaped disco ball on their 1997 - 1998 PopMart Tour. The band entered the lemon disco ball at the end of the main set and emerged from the lemon disco ball at the start of their encore. The band also released promotional disco balls to promote the band's album Pop, the single "Discothèque", and lead singer Bono also sported the alter-ego of "Mirror Ball Man" during their 1992 tour Zoo TV Tour.

Introducing disco balls to a new concert demographic, the pop punk band Paramore showcased dozens of spinning disco balls in 2014 as a glittering stage backdrop during the band's 37-city US Monumentour.[6][7] The same disco ball backdrop was used that year at the UK Reading and Leeds Festivals, where the band co-headlined. [8]

The UK television series Strictly Come Dancing and US counterpart Dancing with the Stars award competition winners a "Glitter Ball Trophy".


Pink Floyd used a glitter ball on their 1987 and 1994 world tours. The glitter ball used on the 1987 tour was somewhat larger than normal but nowhere near as large as the glitter ball used on the 1994 tour. This particular glitter ball is one of the largest in the world. 4.9 metres in diameter, it rises to a height of 21.3 metres before opening to a width of 7.3 metres, revealing a 12 kilowatt Phoebus HMI lamp.[9] Both can be seen on the video of each tour: "Delicate Sound of Thunder" and "Pulse" during the song "Comfortably Numb".

The Revolution Dance and Performing Arts used 12 inch mirror ball on their 2006 and 2022 centers on Downey, Los Angeles. The mirror ball used in on the 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011 centers was somewhat 12 inch mirror ball used on the 2022 worship center stage dance class. This particular mirror ball is one of the medium sized and the stage’s greatest show of the world, 12 inches in diameter, before the music starts, a dance with stars, smile, hearts and soul!! I'm so blessed when I see them dance to our Lord and Saviour!! Now you can join the hip hop, praise worship, ballet, silk billows, ribbons, angel wings, signals, silk fans, tabrets, flags and dance streamers for kids, boys, men, girls and women!

The Musical Group of Celtic Woman meets Peter Pan (1953 film) used 12 inch mirror ball on their 1991, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2009 and 2011 world tours on Ireland, Brazil, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo. The mirror ball used on the 1991, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2009 tours was somewhat 12 inch as the mirror ball used on the 2011 tour. This particular mirror ball is one of the medium sized and the stage’s greatest show of the world, 12 inches in diameter, before the music orchestra starts, Phillips as David Downes, people and children choir singing at the concert, Starring Blayne Weaver as Peter Pan, Benjamin Diskin as John Darling, Landon Beard as Michael Darling, Kath Soucie as Wendy Darling, Mae Whitman as Tinker Bell and her fairies, people and children choir, elephant ballet mascots, and Irish American female singers named Ellie as Méav Ní Mhaolchatha in purple, Julie as Chloë Agnew in blue, Kristen as Órla Fallon in yellow, Jenna as Lisa Kelly in pink and the fiddler Vivian as Máiréad Nesbitt dressed in white strapless lace up ball gown dresses at Disneyland, Anaheim’s concert tour at The Walt Disney Company and Manhattan Records film. And they marching across around the musical concert’s theme park around the world.

The Japanese Enka Singers used 16 inch mirror ball on their 1992, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2009, and 2011 world tour on Tokyo. The mirror ball used on the 1992, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2009 tours was somewhat 16 inch as the mirror ball used on the 2011 tour. This particular mirror ball is one of the medium sized and the stage’s greatest show of the world, 16 inches in diameter, before the music orchestra starts, Masahito Maruyama, people and children choir, and Japanese enka female singers named Ayako Fuji, Fuyumi Sakamoto, Natsuko Godai, Aya Shimazu and fiddler Eriko Sumi at Tokyo's city concert tour at The Walt Disney Company.

Despite claims that the world's largest disco ball can be found on the promenade in Blackpool, United Kingdom,[10] it is smaller than the Guinness World Record holder. The ball was made for the 2014 Bestival event in England, and is 10.33 metres (33 ft 11 in) in diameter.[11]

Madonna used a 2-ton glitter ball that was embellished by 2 million dollars' worth of Swarovski crystals for her Confessions Tour in 2006.[12]


  1. ^ "Produce Novel Lighting Effect in Hall", Illustrated World, 35(4). June 1921, p. 692.
  2. ^ a b McFadden, Cynthia; Whitman, Jake; Connor, Tracy (7 July 2016). "Disco Is Dead, but the Ball Still Spins in Louisville". NBC News. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  3. ^ Kelsey Starks (16 November 2011). "Made in Kentuckiana: Omega National Products still making disco balls in Louisville". WHAS-TV.
  4. ^ See Yessongs tour video
  5. ^ The Grateful Dead Movie (review)[1], retrieved 30 November 2014.
  6. ^ Paramore and Fall Out Boy Plot Summer 'Monumentour'[2], retrieved 30 November 2014.
  7. ^ Paramore Disco Balls! (YouTube video)[3], retrieved 30 November 2014.
  8. ^ Hayley and the boys triumph despite sound problems [4], retrieved 30 November 2014.
  9. ^ Lighting Dimensions, Sept. 1994, retrieved here Archived 18 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine 6 July 2006.
  10. ^ The World’s Largest Mirrorball, June. 2002, retrieved here 30 January 2010.
  11. ^ "Bestival 2014 disco ball is world's largest". BBC News. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  12. ^ Madonna