Tomas Aguilar says his grandfather started his own circus in Mexico, and both of his parents were performers — his dad’s specialties were the high wire and trampoline, and his mother was a trapeze artist, animal trainer and contortionist.
But none of them, he says, could juggle, so it came as a surprise when Aguilar started practicing the skill when he was 16 years old.
“They wonder, ‘How can you juggle?’” said Aguilar. “‘We never [could] do that.’”
Now 50 years old, Aguilar is known as Tommy Tequila, the world’s fastest juggler. “Normally, you can maybe juggle one or two revolutions, but I do it with four revolutions very low,” he says of his juggling clubs, which look like bowling pins, “so, it looks really, really fast.”
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Aguilar says he can perform about 200 tricks using the pins, including passing it through his legs and around his back, and people can now catch him in action. He’s part of the Royal Canadian Family Circus SPECTAC! cast, performing eight shows at The Pickering Markets from July 19 to 22.
He says his specialty is juggling seven ping pong balls at the same time using his mouth. “You have to practice maybe eight hours a day, but it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s like when you go [to] the cinema and you play with the [popcorn]. You throw the popcorn and you catch it with your mouth. It’s exactly the same thing.”
His whole family is now involved in the circus. His wife, Alejandra, formerly an engineer, is also in the show, performing as a trapeze artist. His eight-year-old daughter, Kiara, travels with her parents and is home schooled. “She doesn’t practice any discipline yet but we still try to [see] what she likes.”
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He says he hopes people will come to see his act and be inspired to learn new skills. “The thing I like the most is I can show people around the world what you can do with a little practice.”