Young LaGrange Park juggler has got the moves
Meet Jake the Juggler
Favorite subject: Math
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite movie: “The Incredibles”
Juggling idol: Anthony Gatto
Family members: His brother, John, 14, and parents, Debbie and David
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:13AM
LAGRANGE PARK — Jacob Petersen is a young man of few words, preferring to let his talents do the talking.
The sixth-grader at Forest Road School in LaGrange Park is only too happy to demonstrate the range of his juggling prowess.
Looking as if he hardly needed to concentrate, Jacob tossed three pins into the air and rotated them with ease while answering questions. He casually added one more pin until four were spinning and flipping, and he, too, executed a quick spin in between catching and tossing the pins.
The 11-year-old moved on to five bright orange rings, tossing them high into the air, later catching them around his neck.
The final objects were three knives, resembling small machetes or swords. Jacob’s parents, Debbie and David, were models of self-restraint while watching their son’s brush with danger.
“No, I’m not scared,” Jacob said about the knives. “I was so used to juggling with the clubs. I wanted something more impressive.”
Jacob saves the ultimate wow factor for the front yard where he enjoys juggling three flaming torches on a nice day.
“It’s like a club, except it’s on fire,” he shrugged.
Jacob got his start at the age of 3 while dressing as a clown assisting his dad, who performed at parties as Corky the Clown.
“He started entertaining the crowd by juggling scarves as I was setting up,” David Petersen recalled. “Now he has far surpassed me. I got him sets of seven balls or rings as a goal to reach, and he’s there already.”
One day, Jacob said he aspires to juggle 12 balls at once, as well as a combination of odd objects like chain saws, as a professional juggler in Las Vegas.
In the meantime, he’s honing his craft through workshops and meetings of a juggling club and two juggling associations. He auditioned for TV’s “America’s Got Talent” in 2008 and 2011 and submitted online auditions as well.
Most recently, Jacob performed during the Hometown Holiday Walk in La Grange and for an afterschool program at the Caring Place for Kids in La Grange.
“I also like to do gymnastics, flips and stuff, and I can balance and walk on a big ball,” he said. “I like riding my unicycle every day with my friend, Jack. I go to the park at school.”
Jacob said practices at least an hour a day, and he’s polishing his act for the upcoming Forest Road School talent show.