Northern Alberta teenage juggling sensation Las Vegas-bound

Northern Alberta teenage juggling sensation Las Vegas-bound

Jordan Imgrund-Harvey likes to practise his juggling blindfolded.

The northern Alberta teenager is a master of the art, tossing balls and pins — behind his back and over his head — in a flurry of fingers.

Like any good Vaudevillian performer, the 15-year-old rehearses every day.

"I try to improve a little bit every day, and I love that," he said.

"I can go a whole month without feeling like I've improved. But then I will watch an old video that I took and realize, I did improve.

"It's the evolution of the juggling for me. I like always being able to learn something new."

After winning the YEG's Got Talent competitions, which earned him the chance to perform at the Oct. 28 Edmonton Eskimos game, Jordan is ready to test his skills in Las Vegas.

The Grade 10 student at Morinville Community High School will be among hundreds of competitors at the World Juggling Federation junior overall championships.

The six-day tournament, which kicked off Thursday, awards points for best tricks, speed and endurance.

"It's part of an event called Skill Con, which is a bunch of other wacky sports," said Jordan. "If it's almost a sport, we've got it.

"I've never competed before but I've always wanted to go. In Edmonton, they're aren't a lot of jugglers … and I want to be challenged."

Jordan discovered juggling almost three years ago, watching videos online.

"I watched a video on YouTube one time and remember thinking, 'That is way too hard for me,' " he recalled with a laugh.  

At first, he didn't think he would ever be able to master it.

"I saw a type of juggling called cigar box juggling," he said. "That's with three boxes, and you kind of exchange them and throw them up. And that looked a lot easier at first.  

"Cocky, 13-year-old me thought, 'Pfft. I can do that.'

"I could not do it. I spent a long time practising for hours a day."

After cigar boxes, he graduated to baseballs, and eventually invested in some classic pins, called clubs, often used by professional  jugglers.

'I just love it so much'

Jordan practises at least three hours every day, including during his breaks between classes. He can now juggle up to seven balls at a time, but is still trying to master the rings, which he described as "a pain." The rings leave his palms and fingers covered in cuts, and roll away every time he fails to make a catch.

"I wanted to learn to do more. I thought that the most important thing at the time was having actual juggling equipment," he said.

"Looking back at it, it was not the most important thing. It was the practising."

One day, Jordan wants to join the circus. More specifically, he would like to be a part of the Cirque du Soleil cast, and make his passion into his livelihood.

"I just love it so much," he said. "It's become part of my life. I need to practise. I need to get better."