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A Circus School Right Here In St. Paul

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – The circus industry has really changed over the years, courtesy of shows like Cirque Du Soleil.

And Circus Juventas is providing training for such entertainment right here in St. Paul.

Inside its doomed walls is a training ground for the world’s stage.

“Most of the kids that come here have no experience,” Dan Butler said.

Butler started Circus Juventas as an after-school program, and 18 years later it’s evolved into a place that trains nearly 2,000 kids every year.

“Doesn’t matter if the kid is bigger or smaller, or slender or heavier, or a gifted athlete or not, there’s something for them to do,” he said.

Here, kids ages 2 to 21 can learn 28 different acts, from the most basic, to the incredibly difficult.

They make it look easy swirling in a large metal hoop dangling 15 feet above the ground, with only rope to stop them.

Some students will go onto a career in shows like Cirque De Soleil or other venues.

“They think they’re learning circus, but they’re really learning life skills,” Butler said.

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