Angel rolls, Devil Rolls and Vertical Steves - Oh My

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Angel roll theory.jpg
Angel and devil similarities.jpg

Okay so there are four basic vertical rolls that travel from hand to opposite hand. Yes there are variations and various half versions etc etc but for the purposes of this article, I'm just going to talk about the full symmetrical versions.

(Why are there Four Vertical Arm Rolls vs Two Horizontal?)

  • 1) Angel Roll
  • 2) Vertical Steve
  • 3) Devil Roll
  • 4) Anti-Angel Roll

These are all related, so everyone can have their OTP for vertical rolls: Vertical Roll Relationships

This video should clarify these, thou it has intentional comedy naming.

These are all rolls. Though obviously they contain other modes of movement. Also Daniel Gunthorpe has an exceptionally clean version of the Anti-Angel on facebook: (To Be Found.)


  • Angel Roll - Reverse Spin - Starts behind.
  • Vertical Steve - Reverse Spin - Starts in-front.
  • Devil Roll - Forward Spin - Starts in-front.
  • Anti-Angel Roll - Forward Spin - Starts behind.


Behind in this situation is with the arm extended behind the plane of the body, and in-front is with the arm extended in front of the plane of the body.

So you can see there are some pairings up there, in terms of spin and starting positions, but there is also the pathway over the body that the staff takes, and for an angel roll, it starts on the front side of your arm, before transitioning to the back of your body until it reaches your other elbow where it comes o the front and is caught again.


  • Angel Roll: Front - Back - Front
  • Vertical Steve: Back - Front - Back
  • Devil Roll: Front - Back - Front
  • Anti-Angel: Back - Front - Back


Now we know from video that Lukas bolas discovered the Devil Roll, way back, probably in 2007, but it got lost until more recently when Brettstar popularised it. He also made this awesome video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJH-X1v6pjE The first sequence goes through all four, except the anti-angel has an extra beat in it, as does the vertical steve, which is why they stay behind the plane of the body more than they 'should'. (More than the definitive versions do.)


See this: Steve Angel Devil Anti-Angel Moves


Arm Roll Up Central Move Arm Roll Down Name Link
Angel Halo Angel Angel Roll Angel Roll
Angel Throat Wrap Angel Front Angel Roll / Throat Angel Throat Angel
.
Steve Chest Halo Steve V. Chest Steve Vertical Chest Steve
Steve Neck Wrap Steve V. Steve Vertical Steve
.
Anti-Angel D. Chest Halo Anti-Angel Anti-Angel Roll Anti-Angel Roll
Anti-Angel D. Throat Wrap Anti-Angel Throat Anti-Angel Roll Almost
.
Devil D. Halo Devil Devil Roll Devil Roll Tutorial
Devil D. Neck Wrap Devil Shortcut Devil Roll Shortcut Devil Roll

D = downwards / darkside / devil

  • Arm Roll Up - From the hand to the first shoulder
  • Central Move - The torso part of the move, from shoulder to shoulder
  • Arm Roll Down - From the second shoulder to the hand