They are a hard acrylic ball, about
3" diameter, which is attached to a nylon or silk cord which is then looped
and knotted to form a finger hold. This is generally wrapped around the
middle finger for swinging.
Bola's are actually derrived from
the hunting tool also called Bola's or Bolo's, which are hunting devices
composed of three strands of rope weighted on the end. It is held by one
weight and swung around and then released, wrapping itself around the
legs, neck or wings of the selected target to bring it down. The Bola
is named in singular because it has only one weighted end.
Bola's are constructed by taking
a hard acrylic ball (such as a contact juggling ball) and using a fine
drill and a vice grip, a hole is drilled through the center. On the bottom
the edge of the hole should be tapered out a bit so that the knot of the
cord will rest flush with the surface of the ball. The cord is then threaded
through, knotted and pulled flush. It is then knotted again at the top
to keep the ball from slipping up the cord. I should mention here that
the cord should be at least hip length if not waist length.
Bola's are actually rhythm instruments
used in conjunction with hard shoe dancing such as Tap, Gael Step, and
most commonly with Flamenco. They are swung with a hard down swing to
create a counter rhythm to the shoe rhythm. Use of Bola's on carpet or
other buffered surface doesn't work because the plushness causes them
to bounce back up, losing the rhythm. On concrete or other extremely hard
surface the acrylic will break. The optimum surface for Bola's to work
is a wood stage which is hollow underneath because it makes a louder noise.
If this can not be accomplished then a would area resting upon the ground
is also acceptible.
The patterns of Bola's is very
similar to POI swinging, though the swing has a bit more force. The joy
and difficulty in Bola's is to present a
pleasing rhythm not only on it's own but also with use of the feet which
means all the limbs going in different directions at once. A wonderful
aerobic exercise and much fun, but watch out because they hurt when you
miss the ground!
More internet sites on Bola
Bola - History and heaps of pictures of Bola as a weapon