Junior Jack Levy stood before the notorious red, white, and blue backdrop, just beneath the three looming x’s. As he gazed out in awe of Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel sitting before him, he realized that this was the single most professional performance he had ever been part of. He drew in one last deep breath to calm his nerves, and as he set the objects into motion, Levy was confident, focusing entirely on his talent and love of nine years: juggling.
“I love it, because you can just juggle and for a point in time, that’s all you can focus on. It’s all that really matters. I’ve also had so many performing opportunities because of it,” Levy said.
When he was 16, Levy had the opportunity to air a juggling video of his on Nickelodeon. In 2010, he and his juggling group, The Five of Clubs, won the Minnesota State Fair Talent Contest and shortly after were contacted by America’s Got Talent. The group was brought in for a private audition, where they made it to the celebrity judge round in Minneapolis, Minn.
Levy is now the vice president of the Gustavus Juggling Club. In 2009, he and current juggling president, Ben Hestness, won the gold metal at the State Championships.
“Jack and I both went to the afterschool program Jug Heads Youth Juggling Company in Edina. I used to take juggling as seriously as Jack, but now, in the club, it’s just something fun we do. It’s very relaxing,” Hestness said.
Members of the Gustavus Juggling Club have been trying to entice more people to join, but they think people are too timid to give it a chance.
“It’s a place for people to come if they’re interested in juggling, whether they have little skill or a lot of skill. I mean, Jack taught me in an hour,” Junior Jeff Solberg said.
Solberg had been roommates with Levy and after watching him take juggling breaks during homework, he decided to learn himself. He’s now been juggling for two and a half years.
“I think a lot of people are intimidated to come, because they don’t know how to juggle, but the truth is, a lot of people are just starting,” Solberg said.
It wasn’t until a couple weeks ago that the juggling club got the recognition they were seeking. A video featuring the club members showing off their skills went viral all over sites like Facebook, Diggs.com, and Imgur. Hestness was one of the members featured had an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Feb. 12.
“It’s really exciting because the general public finally gets to see what we’re doing,” Solberg said.
- There’s a movement driven almost entirely by Jason Garfield to make juggling a sport on par with chess for least-interesting televised event
- One can juggle 89.5 balls on the moon
- Juggling is thousands of years old, with historical records stretching back to ancient Greece
- Juggling burns 280 calories an hour