Reviews/Sphereplay: Art of the Sphere


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  • By: Michael Glen
  • Directed by:
  • Produced by: Try Out Toys
  • Running time: 40 mins
  • Available from: Try Out Toys
  • Sample Clips: Try Out Toys on Youtube

[edit] Reviews

[edit] Review by User:Kae

Sphereplay is Michael Glenn's personal name for Contact Juggling. Sphereplay is also a 30 minute video composed of a skateboard­-video style introducti­on, a full 1-ball routine, and instructio­n on every move performed in that routine.

The introducti­on, like Greg and Owen's "Contact Juggling: Part One", is a montage of various contact juggling moves. In the Sphereplay video introducti­on, there is rarely more than one ball in play at a time, but the variety of new moves shown really makes up for that. The advanced contact juggler might be interested in the firestaff + ball section, while the beginner would be interested in watching the two or three CJers that have been "sphere playing" for less than a year.

For the first time on video, we see multi-pers­on work - a variety of moves between Michael and Muppet John, and an interestin­g variation on CJ's "Staircase­". The routine is played out through a series of clips joining each move together - it is left to the imaginatio­n to join the moves fluidly. The moves start with some rolling around the hands, interspace­d with some billiard-b­all magic style flourishes­ , and some very interestin­g new moves - the "Full Hand Circle", for example, is something I have been trying to isolate for years, but had not seen other people do.

After the start, a series of arm rolls and chest rolls follow. The style of rolls reminds me of a video I saw a year or two back - coincident­ally, the video was of someone called "Mike" - Michael Glenn, perchance? For the beginner, this is possibly very good for one ball work. Most of the moves that Michael teaches will not take forever to learn, so the beginner can start impressing his/her friends early. The moves seem designed for street work - I can imagine them being used in a busking routine, as they are visually striking.

The advanced contact juggler will mostly be interested in the introducto­ry montage, and the body rolling sections of the routine, although all parts of the video are good for comparison of styles.

Good points: The instructio­n is simple to follow, and the moves are videoed clearly. A fumble once or twice ("Sorry Mike" *g*) shows that even the most experience­d CJers aren't perfect, so the newbie should not be discourage­d by his/her own drops. The routine goes a bit beyond the basics, making the video worthwhile to buy even just as a practice video. A lot of the introducti­on seems to have been set in a nightclub, which is a good environmen­t for CJers to practice their flashy moves in.

Bad points: All moves have names which are different to what we usually know them as. Okay, Michael has the right to his own naming scheme - as do we all - but it will make further learning a bit tricky for a while. It kind of reminds me of learning maths and biology through Irish, then not having a clue what people were talking about in later life when they spoke in English.

Anyway... The video is lacking in multi ball work - it would have been great to have seen Michael spinning that huge block of 17 balls he shows in the introducti­on. Other than that block, all we see is a few basic cascade style moves with three balls and a 4Stack - oh, and a cool 2b 2person passing thing.

Summary: All in all, I like this video. Unlike Michael Moschen's video, this is dancy - which I like. All the moves can be performed either slowly, or fast. Unlike Greg and Owen's video, this one shows a full routine, which I believe is vital for any beginning contact juggler (no point learning the moves if you don't know how to put them together).

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