- Associated Press - Saturday, June 27, 2015

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) - The list of things David Lenz can’t do may be shorter than the list of things he can do.

Actor, professional juggler, fire dancer and businessman are just some of the words one could use to describe the 23-year-old University of Idaho student.

People around Moscow may know him primarily as the “Oddball Juggler,” a character he created that performs for crowds with juggling and comedy at the weekly Moscow Farmers Market. He also has performed at Moscow Artwalk and is scheduled to show off his acrobatic juggling skills July 9 for Moscow’s Entertainment in the Park program.

If they haven’t seen him juggle, residents may have seen him performing in plays for the Idaho Repertory Theatre at the UI.

Or, they may have seen him cleaning their windows, since Lenz owns his own window washing business in Moscow called Pane Solutions.

He’s a multi-talented individual with many interests, but one of his greatest joys is to entertain.

Lenz’s inkling to entertain others began at an early age. While growing up in Centralia, Wash., he saw a juggler perform at the local library nearly 14 years ago.

Fascinated, Lenz would try to recreate the juggler’s act, and he eventually taught himself the skill.

But it wasn’t until he injured his arm years later when he realized just how passionate he was about the art. The injury left one of his arms immobilized for a while, and as he was recovering, he was struck by much he missed juggling.

Lenz said that experience inspired him to take it more seriously.

At the time, he was working three jobs to earn enough money to go to school in England. He quit all of them to juggle.

Lenz laughed as he recalled his family’s reaction to the news, saying they reacted with a “mixture of surprise and concern.”

“And I’m sure a little bit of disappointment,” he said.

Lenz performed on the street with the hope of raising enough money to still take that trip to England.

It was rough going at first. Lenz said some of the people in the small town weren’t familiar with street performing and would yell at him or flip him off.

“It took a little while for people to warm up to the idea,” he said.

Later, though, people told him they looked forward to seeing him juggle every week. Eventually, he was booked at birthday and graduation parties and local fairs.

Lenz said he raised the money for England, where he spent a year attending school.

When he came back, he rediscovered his love for acting.

Lenz had already started acting at Centralia Community College. He had no interest to act before then, but he took a required acting class and was asked to participate in a play about Dracula.

“It was just a blast,” he said.

After taking a year off to go to England, he returned to Washington and saw a play called “Next to Normal.”

It was so moving that Lenz said it left a big impression on him.

“That was when I found how theater can really impact people,” he said.

His friend at Centralia Community College told him about the Idaho Repertory Theatre. Lenz is now entering his senior year and is studying for a bachelor of fine arts in theatrical performance.

When he came to Moscow, he wasn’t sure if he would find a venue to continue juggling, but he brought his equipment anyway.

Now, he can be seen making market visitors laugh and awing them with his unique act.

But what people see at the Farmers Market isn’t everything Lenz can do. He is also a skilled fire dancer, with the ability to juggle flaming items like staffs and nunchucks.

Lenz said he entered a contest in 2011 that asked contestants to submit a video of themselves fire dancing to the Pacific Fire Gathering, a group of fire dancers who perform in the Northwest. He sent a video and won.

Lenz isn’t sure what he’ll do after graduation. He has his eye on a number of theater and acting groups, and he wants to audition for as many as he can.

Whatever he does, whether it be juggling or acting, Lenz is driven by the desire to put smiles on faces.

The joy of performing for others, Lenz said, is the opportunity to make a person’s day a little brighter.

“The hope that I can make an impact is really why I do it,” he said.


Information from: The Moscow-Pullman Daily News, https://www.dnews.com



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