10 Circus Acts That Have Withstood the Test of Time

Jugglers can perform with a many different objects, including bowling pins. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Some of us might associate juggling with clowning, but juggling is an old standby at the circus. In 1820 an Indian juggler named Ramo Samee became quite famous for his performances, and he only had four balls in the air [source: Speaight]. As the circus became more popular, more balls were added to acts, but audiences were restless for another kind of excitement.

Enter the idea of juggling bizarre objects. Jugglers began throwing up whatever they could, from coffee cups to knives. And juggling now might involve a bit more athletic prowess, as jugglers perform on a unicycle or tightrope to raise the stakes of an act.

In Chinese circus acts, just juggling wasn't nearly good enough — not when you could have performers juggling while suspended by their hair. This act, called hair hanging, is making a bit of a comeback in modern circuses, but it might involve more acrobatics than juggling [source: Winship].