We’ve just had one of those bittersweet, end-of-summer weekends in the Twin Cities. The seasons plainly pivoted in the last two days: not only did the air turn a little cooler, along the river I saw an early-turning tree, half ablaze with orange already, as if calling to his green-leaved fellows to get a move on. Another sure sign: My six-year-old’s summer program is drawing to a close in a couple of weeks, and after that, we’ll have just one last batch of open-ended days to fill before school starts up again. I know at least one thing I’ll be putting in the calendar: the summer show by Circus Juventas.
Every August the older, more advanced students studying at St. Paul’s Circus Juventas, the largest youth circus arts school in the nation, put on a big show. We saw last year’s Grimm’s fairy tale-themed spectacle and came away dazzled by the sophistication of the work, wowed by both the artistry and athleticism of the school’s young performers. The students’ dedication to craft and technique was evident throughout the evening’s acts – from the high-wire and aerial silks to acrobatics, clowning and the flying trapeze.
This year’s summer show, “Showdown,” should be a hoot; as you’d expect from the title, it’s a send-up to the Wild West, complete with cowpokes and outlaws, saloon girls and mail-order brides, and even a shoot-out bank heist. I’m confident kids and grown-ups alike will be riveted by this year’s line-up.
Circus Juventas doesn’t truck with exotic animal acts or the three-ring fare of Ringling Bros. Theirs are the Old World circus arts, the sort of thing you see from the wildly popular Cirque du Soleil: a low-tech but high art melange of drama and dance, hard-won skill and physical prowess, set against extravagant sets and music.
A note for those with small children: the run time for last year’s show was nearly three hours, including intermission, so if you’re attending with little circus-goers, be sure to come prepared for a long haul.
Performances for Circus Juventas’ summer show, “Showdown,” will run from August 2-19 (shows at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.) at 1270 Montreal Ave., St. Paul. Get ticket information by calling the box office at 651-699-8229 or by visiting http://www.ticketworks.com/.