The flurry of jugglers’ balls might seem chaotic, but for instructor Jesse Shavel, juggling can be meditative and help learners set aside distractions.
“It’s one of those things that is really great for your focus. ... I feel like a lot of people lack focus,” he said.
Children and adults tested their coordination and focus as they sent bright balls and clubs flying through the air at a juggling open house late last month hosted by Shavel, a coach with Durango Aerial Arts & Acrobatics. The group teaches students circus skills, such as juggling, unicycling, silt-walking and twirling through the air on silks.
Stephanie Harris attended the open house with her children Jordan, 10, and Chloe, 12, to practice their juggling skills as a family.
“I knew it wasn’t easy, but I didn’t know it was this hard,” said Stephanie Harris, who started juggling this fall.
More experienced juggler and Animas High School student Quinlyn Bright said developing the skill improved her hand-eye coordination.
“If you threw something at me, there was good odds it would hit me in the face,” Bright said.
Shavel, who teaches juggling at the rec center, sees it as a skill that can be applied to other sports. For older adults, learning to juggle can help maintain cognitive function, he said.
“Anything can be learned, if you learn it the right way,” he said.
Coach Cynthia Johnson focuses on the aerial arts and acrobatics and finds it far more appealing than simply going for a run.
“It’s good exercise – exercise that we want to do,” she said.
Adults can find even simple acrobatics scary because they never learned how to fall safely, she said.
She ensures adults have those skills, so they can have fun with acrobatics, she said.
“It makes you feel like a kid,” Johnson said.
Bright, an aerialist, said she likes being upside down, and it is a beautiful art.
“It’s like, ‘Guess what? I am in a circus,’” she said.