It was in 2000 when Pascal van der Neut was drawn into the world of juggling. He had always been into sports, enjoyed their social and competitive nature, and had the strong drive to perform with excellence. Juggling was somehow different though. It challenged him to master the smallest technical details while fusing them into creative expressions of his own. Telling stories with balls, rings or clubs that would catch people’s attention – because they are so simple and stunning at the same time. On big and small stages, or while just being at home.
Juggling and the way of learning new things
Pascal easily taught himself the basic patterns of juggling and over the years he trained hard to become better and better. Learning new patterns, gaining more control over the balls. And, of course, dropping them many times – while allowing feelings of embarrassment and failure as a natural part of the process. The beauty of juggling is that everybody can learn it, he says. And it is about understanding what suits you as a person, setting your own goals and overcoming your own barriers. Again and again. It really changes your way of thinking, how you approach new things.
The art of the rings
During the juggling conventions, Pascal realised soon that there weren’t so many jugglers with rings – and he made this become an art of his own. After starting out with juggling balls, he fully committed himself to training with rings. But it also meant a lot of hard work – and a lot of blisters. The effort paid off though and in 2008 he earned the title of Dutch champion in ‘Three Ring Freestyle’. A few years later, he set up his own juggling show together with friends, called ‘Ring for service’, followed by more event invitations and own workshop series.
A life-changing incident
In 2016, Pascal’s whole life changed from one moment to the other. Due to a serious bike accident, he had to learn every single movement from scratch again. And juggling helped him through the revalidation. He had the strong inner drive to get back to it, step by step. And with great body awareness, lots of training and patience, he was able to build up and coordinate his muscles again. ‘I knew from juggling that if I am aware of my habits and change small movements, I can improve and get where I want to be.’ And he made it happen.
These days, juggling is an established part of Pascal’s everyday life and he truly values the social nature of it. Developing new sequences with friends, performing on stages or training others on how to improve their own juggling skills. He enjoys seeing people getting motivated, being challenged and growing. Juggling gives you a lot of freedom: you can basically do it anywhere and anytime, you can do it on your own terms and there is something very relaxing to it. And in the end, it all comes down to throwing a ball up in the air and, in the best case, catching it again. Something most of us have already done in our lives at some point, Pascal says with a smile on his face.