Summer Activities: Circus Juventas Youth Circus
Whatever Happened to the Circus?
As the nonagenarian 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.
Who is Juventas?
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.
Map for Circus Juventis - Ages 2 Through 21
Youth Portray a Fierce Tiger
Classes at Circus Juventas
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.
The Jump Rope is so advanced that students must be at least 12 yrs.
Includes "living statues" stypes of balance, chair stacks, unicycle, and many others.
A pyramids of Flying Brothers Karamazov types.
Clown, dance, fight or try something harder. Beginning ages 6, 12, and 15.
Intensive training for youth already in an act.
Intense; Invitation required.
Advanced intensive training in a team for older youth already performing.
Adult/Teen Flying Trapeze
Classes: Ages 12 to 21; 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.
Summer Camps, Year Round Circus
This youth training organization offers programs for children and youth from ages 2 though 21 and adults ages 22 and older 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 recently closed when the circus went out of business in the late 2010s.
The Juventas 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 this training 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. Kids 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.
Acrobats of the Silk Ropes
Just for Teens
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.
Reasonable Prices for Circus Training
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.
Interestingly, 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!
Entertaining Performances Showcase Talent
Along with all the fun and classes, extra workshops, and camps the circus leaders schedule 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.
Some of the Youngest Performers
Sources and Circus Training
- Circus Juventas Youth Circus
Circus Juventas Youth Performing Arts Circus
- Circus Center of San Francisco
i left my Clown...in San Francisco...
- Florida State University Flying High Circus - Where founders of Circus Juventas met!
We are one of only two collegiate circuses in the United States. A unique tradition on the campus of Florida State University since 1947, the Circus is a year-round program in which FSU students can participate.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Patty Inglish MS