For many, superpowers are defined in the real world as a talent that not everyone can do. Whether that’s baking a soufflé, painting a portrait or kicking a 50-yard field goal, superpowers come wrapped inside all kinds of abilities.
Valeria Jauregui has one of these special gifts. She’s a professional antipodist. An antipodist is someone who can juggle with their feet. Jauregui, who was born in Mexico City and currently lives in England, started as a regular juggler in high school and was introduced to foot juggling after seeing a performer at a European Juggling Convention.
“I was blown away by it,” Jauregui told Remezcla during a recent interview. “Oddly enough, it was more natural for me to hold a ball on my feet than when I first tried juggling with my hands.”
Over the years, Jauregui has performed as a gymnast and as an aerial acrobat who does elegant tricks while suspending herself from silk fabric. She discovered juggling at the age of 16 and has worked in circuses and shows across the world, including in some well-known theaters in Mexico like Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris, Teatro Julio Castillo and Teatro Raul Flores Canelo. In 2018, she won first place in the International Juggling Association Regional Competition.
“I think what I like the most about juggling is how it challenges me and the satisfaction of doing things I thought impossible,” Jauregui said. “That was what kept me going since the beginning. It was like an addiction. I couldn’t stop juggling because I wanted to see how far I could go and what I was capable of.”
Jauregui said juggling is a discipline that requires a lot of practice, especially when there is a special trick that needs more hours of training to master. But once “your body understands the movements,” the skills start to come naturally.
“It varies from trick to trick, but some are like riding a bike or doing a squat—once you learn them, they are yours forever,” Jauregui said. “But others require more technique, so if you stop practicing, you know you will find yourself at stage zero again.”
For Jauregui, working as a professional juggler and antipodist is a fascinating job that allows her to take control, be patient and tap into her unique abilities as an athlete.
“It’s quite hypnotizing,” she said. “It feels like if I have four hands, and sometimes it feels like I have superpowers.”