Spinning Top

Like a story-teller in a wide dark coat Jochen Schell leads you into his fascinating world; a world full of remarkable images. His character is oddly mysterious but at the same time exhibits a mischievous wit. Whipped into a speedy spin by the string, Jochen's whirling tops perform a cascade of tricks. They land on his feet, his hands, or on top of their master's head. Small concentrated sequences are followed by quick and dynamic images. He builds up a fragile construction of balanced metal-tubes with a large spinning top above all of that. Or he swings one of his tops with a string around his body and turns like a dervish. He performs a traditional Japanese trick with a top that glides along on the edge of the blade of a samurai-sword to its tip.

It seems as though Schell gives life to his objects!

When Jochen Schell saw the Japanese artist Koma Zuru in a French Circus in 1988 he was impressed and wanted to know more about the subject. Mr Schell met Mr Zuru but he had to find his own way with the tops. Over the next couple of years Schell used his lathe to build and experiment with many different shaped spinning tops. While practicing his skill with the tops themselves Jochen gave careful thought to the character and presentation that he would adopt for this new act. As he had when he built up his Diabolo act and his Ring act, his focus was on the creation of uncommon stage pictures. The importance of the "single sequences" (as opposed to the more mobile transitions) brought him around to the more traditional "gentleman juggler" character. But from there he couldn't help but add the darker twist that is his own personal touch.

The archaic and hypnotic fascination of the spinning top weaves a spell and the audience responds.