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Devil Sticks

Devil stick (also Devil Stick, devilstick, devil-stick etc., or plural forms) manipulation is a form of gyroscopic juggling, or equilibristics and is generally considered to be one of the 'circus arts'. The name, "Devil Stick" most likely comes from a confusion of 'diabolo' (to toss across) with 'diablo', or devil. Sometimes called "devil-sticking" other terms often used are: "twirling", "sticking" and "stick juggling".

A set of devil sticks is made up of three pieces - the baton and two control sticks - but it will often be called a "pair of sticks".


A set of devil sticks consists of one baton—usually about 60-120 cm (2-4 feet) long—and two control sticks—generally about 1 cm (0.5 inch) thick and 30-50vcm (12-20 inches) long—which are used to manipulate the baton. The baton (often called "the center stick" or simply "the stick") is tapered in the center, normally about 3 cm (1 inch) in diameter at the ends and 1.5 cm (0.5 inch) in the middle. Designs and measurements vary quite widely, in the extreme case the center stick may be as short as 1 foot or so, ranging to the extreme length of slightly more than twice that of the juggler's height.

Basic Manipulation

A devil stick baton is lifted/struck/stroked alternately by the two control sticks ('handsticks', or 'sidesticks'). The handsticks, and sometimes the baton as well, are often covered with a material to provide good 'grip' or friction when in contact with the devil stick, though some sets are made of slippery polished, bare hardwood. In one basic stick pattern, the Pendulum, the devil stick is lifted alternately with the left and right handsticks touching the baton at a point about halfway between the center and its upper end and swings out of the vertical to either side while remaining in a plane parallel to the shoulders.

The pendulum is an important move to learn, because to a great extent, all of the more difficult maneuvers rely on this skill.

The 'helicopter' spin is a variation in which a horizontal rotational force is applied as the baton 'pendulums' in the vertical plane, causing a continuous rotation in a nearly horizontal plane. Advanced twirlers can twirl the stick with one stick only, with an arm, knee or other limb and are able to manipulate the baton in any plane above below or in front or back of the performer's body...

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