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Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Circus Juventas trapeze team wins gold at Swedish competition

Pioneer Press
11/03/2010
After four international events in five years, the Circus Juventas Triple Trapeze Team took home gold for the first time at the Circus Ring of Friendship Festival in Norrköping, Sweden, last weekend.

The team includes Kate Cieslowski, 18; Brigid Fitzgerald, 16; and Avery Young, 17, all from Minneapolis, and Heather Snyder, 17, from St. Paul. After submitting a DVD of their routine, the four girls, with their coach, Sun Yan Hong, were selected from hundreds of applicants to represent the United States. The festival included about 30 acts that were evaluated by a tuxedo-clad panel of judges from all over the world.

"What Americans don't understand about these festivals that have been going on for hundreds of years is they're very much like the Olympics," said Circus Juventas founder and executive director Dan Butler. "We can't believe our first medal was a gold medal. Everybody was completely stunned."

The team returned on Sunday, just in time to prepare for the annual Circus Juventas Gala on Friday.

At the Gala, guests will eat a four-course meal while Circus Juventas students perform this summer's blockbuster production "Sawdust." All gala proceeds benefit the Circus Juventas Scholarship Fund. Circus Juventas, which is based in St. Paul, is the largest performing arts circus school in the country.

"Our students come for fun," Butler said, noting that most teams go to international festivals simply to try to win a medal. "We go for the experience and the
opportunity for young people to travel and to meet new people."
The gala starts at 6 p.m. at Circus Juventas, 1270 Montreal Ave., St. Paul. Tickets are $125. Info at 651-699-8229 or circusjuventas.org

— Erica Tasto

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