The quest to become a better juggler has been a magical journey for Guelph teen Noah Nogueira and he has picked up many friends and mentors along the way.
“Most kids go through their magic phase,” said Nogueira. “I was going through my magic phase and then I saw a juggling video and I was like juggling, that is really cool. So, I went up to my mom and I said mom I want to learn how to juggle.”
His mother arranged private juggling lessons with Andrew Giordano, founder and director of the Youth Circus Project in Guelph. Giordano took Nogueira under his wing and taught him about the history and techniques of juggling.
“I just kept practicing and then at some point we were at the University of Waterloo juggling festival and they had a magician there named Wilber Cortez,” said Nogueira. “I was mostly into juggling but I guess at that moment the magic bug bit me again.”
His mother arranged private lessons with Cortez and soon they were sharing the stage at magic shows and festivals.
“I do this thing called The Secret Show, which is like a brand where I have a lot of mentors,” he said. “There are three of us mainly, Scott Boyd, Graeme Reed and I but this Friday, Aug 2, there are going to be six of us for Secret Show V at the Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre. So, there will be the three of us as well as Wilber Cortez, JP Magic and Michael Francis.”
To be 15 years old and sharing the bill with so many veteran magicians is a testament to Nogueira’s growth as a professional performance artist.
He was born in 2003, the only child of John and Michelle Nogueira. He was drawn to the arts at an early age and in 2013 he co-wrote a children’s book with Guelph author Peter Watson. Angel Has Her Wings was inspired by Nogueira’s love of animals and his volunteer work at the Guelph Humane Society.
“I was never really into the sports everybody played,” he said. “Not many people I knew were doing magic and juggling and it looked so cool and I really wanted to learn. Then I fell in love with it.”
His sense of humour and self confidence are best expressed in a motto he borrowed from Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde – “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
“I’m an extrovert,” he said. “I like practicing but I like sharing it with other people more than I like doing it by myself because you get their reaction. I just love entertaining people, making them laugh and connecting with them.”
Nogueira’s performances are filled with wit and humour that appeal to kids and adults. One of his most popular bits involves him juggling three large knives. Before he starts he puts on smock covered in what appears to be blood stains and warns the audience to stay back because he has yet to master this part of the show.
He exhibits a professionalism beyond his years and admits his toughest crowds are kids his own age.
“I don’t like performing for my friends,” he said. “Some of them are supportive and others aren’t. I think a lot of the time it is jealousy because I am pretty accomplished.”
His performances are family-friendly but he is prepared for hecklers from his peer group.
“A lot of people say, ‘when are you going to get a real job’, but I have a real job,” he reminds them. “I make good money and it is a lot more fun than stocking shelves at Zehrs. This is a career. I have already started my career.”
He has no shortage of work but he has no illusions about a career in show business.
“I want to continue doing this but being a full-time magician and juggler is very difficult,” he said. “I like robotics and I am taking a lot of robotics courses in school. I am either going to university or college. I’m not sure yet. I really haven’t thought about it too much. I have some time.”