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Circus Juventas
All of Wonderland turns out for a wall trampoline showdown with the Jabberwocky of Wonderland.
All of Wonderland turns out for a wall trampoline showdown with the Jabberwocky of Wonderland. Photo by Bill Raab

Founded by Dan and Betty Butler in 1994, Circus Juventas is a nonprofit performing arts youth circus school dedicated to inspiring artistry and self-confidence through a multicultural circus arts experience. The organization has created an environment that encourages leadership and life skills, teamwork, athleticism, pursuit of excellence, and community service.

“I get to teach kids that every body, every shape, every age, every gender has value, and I get to do it all through teaching circus arts,” says Juventas coach Zaccurus Fricke.

The school is recognized for providing innovative and professional-level programming in a state-of-the-art circus center with a permanent big top. The expansive facility allows for training in almost any circus discipline, including traditional and contemporary acts. It has grown into the largest performing arts circus school in North America, serving over 2,500 students through year-round classes and summer camp programs and 50,000 spectators annually.

The creative vision of Circus Juventas is modeled after the cirque nouveau—or contemporary circus—style of performance that blends circus arts with storytelling. With the incorporation of narrative, theme, and character development, contemporary circus has undergone an evolution from the traditional roots to a theatrical collaboration of performing artists. It is this style of performance and the work and lives of the people who create it that Circus Juventas showcased during the Folklife Festival.

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