Ivan Pecel, a juggler from Los Angeles, California, brought the art of juggling to Arkansas Tech on February 19. Pecel is renown at his craft, winning several championships as well as performing on the first season of “America’s Got Talent.”
Pecel emphasized how he encourages crowd participation to make the show more enjoyable not only for the audience, but for him as well. Starting off with juggling three red balls, he began engaging the crowd by balancing the ball flat on his forehead, and then shifting its position all across his face; a talent that he entitled “Seven years without a social life.”
The entire performance was riddled with comedic moments, while the juggling continued and escalated in difficulty. Pecel then started juggling five yellow balls at once, and subsequently moved on to clubs, which he balanced on his forehead, nose and chin all the while continuing to juggle. Needless to say, the crowd continued to hang on his every action.
“I could not stop laughing the whole time. I had never seen anyone juggle before and I was constantly amazed by his talent. He was totally one of a kind, that’s for sure,” said Rachael Hicks, an undeclared major from Monticello.
When Pecel told the crowd that he was going to juggle a bowling ball, an egg and an axe at the same time, they were taken back to say the least, but this made the success of it all even more jaw-dropping.
At one point within the performance, Ivan juggled swords while a Tech student lay on the stage blindfolded and holding a balloon. At this point, if the crowd was not already on the edge of their seats, they were now.
“I thought I was going to die,” said Clay Williams, a fisheries and wildlife major, the student who was literally under Ivan’s knife. “I trusted him,” he continued, but he highlighted his disbelief in the courageous acts of Ivan Pecel. Williams had no idea the extent to which the act would go, and until his girlfriend showed him a prior video of a performance, he was in disbelief.
“I started when I was like ten years old, and I saw somebody at a street fair doing it when I was a kid. I honestly thought that it was like the lamest thing I ever saw in my life, but I was like, I guarantee that I can do that. I went home and tried it, and could do it and just took it way-way too far, and now I’m in Arkansas,” said Pecel.
Although juggling, performing and competing in front of audiences is generally Pecel’s forte, he is still a family man offstage. “Being self-employed is always a little more difficult,” said Ivan, because he often has to do the things a normal businessman would do, but on his own. Regardless of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, it is obvious that his passion for performing fuels him to go the extra mile to make people smile.
“My advice to anybody that wants to do anything, not just juggling, find something that you love to do and find a way to make money at it. Then life becomes a little bit easier,” said Ivan.