• A Brief Buugeng History


    Buugeng and S-Staffs are expressive, S-shaped objects that are spun, juggled, and manipulated to make shapes and illusions. The art of S-Staff borrows many moves from traditional staff spinning, with the inclusion of the curves to create isolation tricks, and hook the prop around the body. The S-Staff requires a lighter touch than traditional staff, as well as rigorously disciplined plane mechanics for isolations. Somewhere between fans, hoops, and staff lies the motion world of buugeng.


    The first recorded appearance of the s-shaped staff is on the PBS special, “In Motion with Michael Moschen” (1991) with Michael Moschen. The segment of the performance, sometimes called "Curves," shows Moschen on stage manipulating two S-staves to create persistence of motion shapes and isolation patterns. Moschen is an innovative juggler who has worked with Cirque du Soleil, won the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant”, and was the contact juggler behind David Bowie’s amazing performance in the film Labyrinth (1986). Since the s-staff shares many characteristics with the Double Deer Horn of Chinese martial arts, it is often presumed to be one of Moschen’s inspirations for the shape and early manipulation techniques, though there is no known evidence of this. Moschen grounded the prop in isolation styles; his influence echoes in the unique charm of the prop.

         Dai Zaobab (real name Dai Murata), a well-known Japanese entertainer, first coined the term "buugeng" after seeing "Moschen in Motion" in 2001, then taking and adapting Moschen’s s-shaped staffs into the prop we know today. The name derives from "buu" (Martial Arts) and "geng" (Illusion) in Japanese. Dai began to handcraft and sell his redesign of s-staffs as "buugeng," bringing the art to the wider object manipulation world for the first time. The following is a quote from Dai Zaobab himself:

    • “I want to say first that I have a lot of respect for Micheal Moschen, and actually my inspiration for Buugeng originally came from him. I first saw “Moschen in Motion” in Africa in 2001. When I saw his video, I was inspired by the optical illusion he created. At that time, I didn’t remember much of what I had seen. I didn’t know exactly what it was or what shape it was. All I remembered was that it was something not-straight.”

    Ministry of Manipulation, blog article titled “Dai @ Flow Temple (&Moschen)” posted January 11th, 2010 (Read the original article)

    At roughly the same time as Dai was distinguishing buugeng from Moschen's S -staff, an American performer named Banyan Gallagher, was developing an s staff for fire. In the emerging flow arts community, Banyan is remembered as the originator of the fire s staff, as well as helping to link buugeng to the fire spinning community.

    1990: Michael Moschen receives a MacArthur Genius Fellowship
    1991: "In Motion with Michael Motion" debuts on PBS, first recorded instance of s-staff.
    2007: Dai wins a photo contest on Home Of Poi, helping to bring buugeng to an even wider audience.

    2008: Dai travels to North America.
    2009: Temple of Poi's "Fire Dancing Expo" happens in San Francisco-- Dai performs.
    2009: Dai teaches at FireDrums, one of the largest and oldest flow arts and firedancing festivals in North America, and the world.

    2009: Dai appears in FireGroove's "Fire All-Stars Vol 1"--he is the only one to perform without fire.

    2010: Dai travels to Burning Man, introducing many people to the prop.

    2011: Buugeng and S Staff Lab is created on Facebook.

    2012: Gustavo Ollitta's "FLOW - Manipulação de objetos" video goes viral, bringing buugeng to wider performance consciousness.
    2014: Pyroterra (Light Toys) begins retailing led buugeng.

    2016: Buugeng Convergence, a festival for buugeng, s staff, and trigeng, happens outside Austin, TX.

    2016: Rion Fish's "OctoIllusion" video goes viral.

    2016: Kaylie Kreatrix performs in the showcase with buugeng at the European Juggling Convention.

    2017: Buugeng Convergence, a festival for buugeng, s staff, and trigeng, happens again outside Austin, TX.
    2018: FlowToys hosts a weekend intensive for buugeng at the FlowSpace.

    Some Notable Performers:

    1. Colin Peterson                     Malaysia
    2. Chris Hanke                         CA, USA
    3. Kaylie Kreatrix                     Canada
    4. Gustavo Olitta                      Italy
    5. Roux Brulee                          France
    6. Lauren Raske                       PA, USA
    7. Jay Firecat                            France
    8. Fabian Arana                        IL, USA
    9. Chris "Janus" Dall                 TX, USA
    10. Shao                                     Poland
    11. Elizabeth Knights                  MA, USA
    12. Sennyo Senn                        GA, USA
    13. Jayesh Corbetta.                   India
    14. Kum-Kum.                             France
    15. DJ Chad                                RI, USA     
    16. Adam Benson                       NY, USA
    17. Cristian "Panda" Escalante   PA, USA
    18. Ima Kokode                           France
    19. Cassia Chloe                         UK
    20. Hanan Harush                       Israel
    21. YE. Torres                              MA, USA
    22. Martin Mart                             Russia
    23. Mateus Russell                       MA, USA
    24. Arthur Kao                               CA, USA
    25. Kimberly Bucki                         IL, USA
    26. Jessy Spin                              Australia
    27. Riel Green                               OR, USA
    28. Thom Thumb                           TX, USA
    29. Aram Bonyad                           Iran
    30. Xia Greenberg                          NY, USA
    31. TJ Stutts                                   CA, USA
    32. Jandro Nerdo                           TX, USA
    33. Maggie Lasher                          TX, USA
    34. Duncan Roy Greenwood          South Africa
    35. Moose O'Malley                       MO, USA
    36. Chris Petterson & Mara Zoe       UK
    37. Danny Goldberg                        DC, USA
      ...and so many more!
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