St. Paul’s Circus Juventas tapped to be Cirque do Soleil training site

It’s the largest youth circus school in the country, and now, St. Paul’s Circus Juventas has been tapped for an incredible opportunity – to partner with the world’s most well-known traveling show, Cirque du Soleil.

Circus Juventas was chosen to be a talent development site as part of Cirque du Soleil’s NexGen program.

“It’s an amazing thing for us after all these years,” said Dan Butler, the executive director of Circus Juventas.

He and his wife, Betty, founded the circus school back in 1994 after the two finished up their professional careers in the circus. Butler said he never expected the school to take off the way it has. More than 900 students currently train at the facility, and the partnership with Cirque du Soleil will now allow them a real shot a career in circus arts.

“It opens up all kinds of opportunities. It’s going to inspire even more of our high school kids and our junior high school kids that are dreaming of having a career in Cirque du Soleil and a future in circus arts,” Butler said.

Rob Dawson, the managing director at Circus Juventas, had a big role in the partnership. He has decades of experience performing with Cirque du Soleil, and it’s that relationship that helped make the connection.

“Now it’s not just Cirque du Soleil this company that’s out there. They’re part of us now and so they’ll come to the building. They’ll do workshops. They’ll train our kids. They’ll bring kids from all over the world to train here,” Dawson said.

For students like 23-year-old Sophie Yuri, this is an opportunity to take her talents to the next level. She’s been training at Circus Juventas since she was 15. After graduating college, she came back to coach and to continue training with Circus Juventas’ professional program.

“It is pretty rare and we are very lucky here to have that kind of opportunity to get the exposure that we do,” Yuri said.

She has big aspirations and would love to pursue a career in the circus.

“I would love to be a part of Cirque du Soleil,” Yuri said, “I would still love to be performing 10 years from now. That would be ideal. I just love it.”

Now, with this new partnership with Cirque du Soleil, those dreams seem even more possible.

“Partnering with them now just takes us to a different level. It gives us some international recognition that we might not have had before,” Dawson said.

If you want to see Circus Juventas perform, their winter show, Solstice, opens Friday night and runs through December 18th.

CLICK HERE for additional information on Circus Juventas.