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Summer Drama Activities of the Circus Kind: Circus Juventas Youth Circus

Updated on July 27, 2011

Whatever Happened to the Circus?

As the nonogenarian Veterinarian, Jacob Jankowski, said in Water for Elephants , "I'm not running away [with the circus], I'm coming home." The circus is where he began his career and where he wanted to end his days about 90 years later. Any why not?

Before the days of Disneyland (opened 1955), where people work after school in the afternoons, take on full-time employment after high school or college, and then retire and go right back to work as Senior Citizens because they cannot get enough of the place, so too is the circus. That is, if it's a good circus. I've seen only two really good circus performances in my life and both occurred when I was just six years old. That leaves a lot of empty time and space to fill.

One of author Ray Bradbury's favorite subjects is the circus of his boyhood and he winds that subject through enough sci-fi and fantasy tales to make you dizzy. At the same time, 21st-century kids can run away with the circus without leaving their own hometown.


Hebe (Greek) or Juventas (Roman) at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Hebe (Greek) or Juventas (Roman) at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. | Source


JUVENTAS was the goddess of youth in the Roman pantheon back in the alternating days of bread and circuses. Young males offered her a sacrifice of one coin when they donned their first man's toga, a sign of adulthood - or at least puberty.

The Temple of Juventas at the Capitol of Rome was older than even Jupiter's, but she had a second temple at the Circus Maximus. Thus, her name is a great one to use for a youth training circus today.

Such a place exists in St. Paul, Minnesota and is called Circus Juventas Youth Training Circus.

Circus Juventis - For ages 2 through 21

A marker1270 Montreal Ave, St Paul, MN -
1270 Montreal Ave, St Paul, MN 55116, USA
get directions

Youth Portray a Fierce Tiger


Summer Camps, Year Round Circus

Circus Juventas offers programs for children and youth from ages 2 though 22 and adults throughout the year. These programs are real classes for beginners, advanced students, fitness enthusiasts and professional hopefuls in the world of the performance circus. The classes are instructed by trained, experienced athlete-performers that have a range of solid credentials and adjunct safety training.

Few such programs and organizations like this one exist in the world, with the exception of Ringling's Clown College in Florida, which does not offer the entire menu of various circus act training. This circus performance training menu of activities is of an intensity level that may surpass Space Camp for either children or adults, but builds self confidence and leads to lots of fun on the way to reaching goals.

Parents need not fear wild animal injury to their children, either, because Circus Juventas does not teach lion taming.

Summer camps occur on a full-day week-long basis and sell out pretty quickly.

The full-day Challenge Camp is a day for exploring the full circus and all the acts available. Kiids see what the circus is really all about and what the daily life is like. They can learn about themselves and find what activities they fit their interests and potential abilities. This is a time for dreams.

Teen Adventure Camp is also quite exciting, because this camp includes equipment and activities not available in any other camp in the USA. Teens that participate in these camps will have experiences that no other American teens have.

Prices of all the summer camps are comparable or less expensive than many other camps in the US - including Space Camp. Some people want to go to Space Camp, but some would rather fly on the Triple Trapeze. Besides, circus acrobats, human cannonballs, and trapeze artists were studied in the original preparations for human movement and adjustment to non-earth gravity in the US Space Program. Just ask the folks at Disney - they broadcast this information in the 1960s. Then it was included in the Mercury Astronauts' historical drama The Right Stuff . A child at Circus Juventas today may walk on Mars in the 2020s!

Classes at Circus Juventas

Circus Experience 
Acrobatics, juggling, aerial theatre, balance. 
Non-performing. Desinged to help youth choose a speciality. 
Advanced Aerial Acts 
The flying trapeze is not all. 
Anything in the air - 23 different categories. 
Advanced Acrobatics 
The Jump Rope is so advanced that students must be at least 12 yrs.  
Advanced Balance
Includes "living statues" stypes of balance, chair stacks, unicycle, and many others.
Advanced Juggling
A pyramids of Flying Brothers Karamazov types.
Circus Theater
Clown, dance, fight or try something harder. Beginning ages 6, 12, and 15.
Cross Training
Intensive training for youth already in an act.
Team Classes
Intense; Invitation required.
Advanced intensive training in a team for older youth already performing.
Adult/Teen Flying Trapeze
Ages 12 to 22; and 22+
Circus Arts for Adults
Ages 22 and older! Calling Jacob Jankowski!
Many of the advanced youth activities notched up for adults and fitness training.

Along with all the fun and classes, extra workshops, and camps, Circus Juventas schedules regular performances, just as youth and teen drama clubs do throughout the year. Tickets to these are very inexpensive and the shows are a real treat to watch. The youngest children are protected by coaches and spotters very close by and the atmosphere is one of non-competitive fun and entertainment in the learning of important life skills. Overall, this is probably one of the best things a child or teen can do with an otherwise vacant summer.

The next time I visit Minnesota - well, I've always wanted to learn to juggle!

Please enjoy the video clips from Circus Juventas below.

Acrobats of the Silk Ropes

Spanish Web

Some of the Youngest

Comments and Ideas

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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh my gosh, taking circus classes at ANY age would be fun. Circus Juventas sounds amazing... and I had never heard of Juventas before... I'm learning all sorts of things from this Hub! Voted up and awesome.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      Good memeories, all. Thanks for sharing!

      The first one I saw was in a large baseball stadium and it looked huge. The second was downtown near railroad tracks and seemed HUGE in that tent. I'm looking for tent circus schedules now, so I can compare experiences.

    • danfresnourban profile image

      danfresnourban 6 years ago from Fresno, CA

      I remember going to the circus as a child and then again when my son was young. It was surprising to learn that the big top was not nearly as big as it seemed as a kid. When I was little it seemed like you could fit a building into the tent.

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 6 years ago from Ireland

      Nothing like the circus to bring out the fun loving in all of us, no matter what age. I want to join the circus. Thanks for the reminder. It's great that the joys and discipline of circus performance can be shared and enjoyed by so many.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      wheelinallover - Those are some good memories! I don't know if any circus does the same today. Perhaps only zoos take a few small animal acts to schools now.

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 6 years ago from Central United States

      As a child I remember the circus coming to me. They had a program that brought a circus right to the public schools. That is where I got my interest in big cats. They didn't use the cats in any acts at the school but they did bring them.

      I wonder if that program even exists now I have not heard of it in years. I remember one of them set up a tight rope a few feet off the ground,they let the students try walking it after the show was over.

      I still love the circus but haven't been to one for eight years.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      Thanks for reading, everybody, and adding more information!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      What a great opportunity! My husband and I went to Circus World in Baraboo for the first time last summer. It's neat to see that there are still a few authentic circuses out there.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      Well, if I ever want to run away from home, I know just where to go! Up and interesting and useful.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 6 years ago

      Dearest Patty and Robin,

      Me, too! What fun! I'd love to go flying through the air like that! Thanks for sharing Patty!

      Did you hear of the new yoga classes using the same long drapes?

      We all need to spend more time being children! Being happy!

      Blessings on your days! Earth Angel!

    • profile image

      eleanor 6 years ago

      There are camps like this also in Australia. The Cirque de Soleil out of Quebec seems to have redefined circuses in the modern age.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      About $300 - 350 for the week. But, there are camps in Atlanta GA, San Francisco, LA, and somewhere in Texas and probably several others.

      I could not even climb up on a carousel horse when I was 6 - this camp would have helped my coordination!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 6 years ago from San Francisco

      That video was the cutest thing ever! I want to go to circus camp! I had no idea there even was one, unfortuantely it's a bit too far. ;) What is the cost for a weeklong camp?