Two Anoka County teens will be soaring to new heights in Circus Juventas’ fantasy show “Twisted,” which is playing July 26 through Aug. 11.
Andover resident Stormy Hovan, 18, was first introduced to Circus Juventas when his mom heard about the program when he was 7 years old.
At the time, Hovan was being home schooled and was taking gymnastics class at Jam Hops in Ham Lake. After taking one class at Circus Juventas, Hovan said he knew where he wanted to be.
Circus Juventas, a St. Paul nonprofit, is the largest youth performing arts circus school in North America. The program teaches youth through age 22 about the art of circus performance. The school only does one performance a year.
“I really like the curriculum,” Hovan said. “I like that we have something big to work towards at the end of the year. Not everyone gets to be in it, and you really have to earn your place in the show.”
Hovan trains more than 25 hours a week in acrobatics, tumbling, aerials, Russian swing, wall trampoline, ropes and more.
“I like the diversity in training at the school and how you get to decide where you want to go,” he said. “It’s not chosen for you like other schools. Here you get to do as much as you want.”
Hovan loved Circus Juventas so much he recruited his friend Tristan Bauer, 18, from Ham Lake. Both met while taking gymnastics classes at Jam Hops.
“When Stormy first introduced me to Circus Juventas I was confused because I’d never seen anything or heard about anything like this,” Bauer said. “Instantly I knew I wanted to do this.”
Bauer has trained in acrobatics, wall trampoline, throwing, basing, dance, juggling and more.
The main thing Bauer said he liked is how the circus incorporates theatrical performances into the acts.
“I love the performance aspect of the circus,” he said. “We train all year for one show. It’s so rewarding to perform and give it your all and have the audience give back to you. Honestly that’s what makes it so much fun to do.”
All the students at Circus Juventas work with over 50 other students and about a dozen coaches who train them in all fields of the circus.
“My friends and my team keep drawing me back,” Bauer said. “This place is like a second home to me.”
Hovan said that while he is more fond of solo performances, he has appreciated the training he has received from the coaches.
“I’m the kind of person who likes to work and be alone ... but I’ve loved all of my coaches here,” Hovan said. “They’ve helped me figure out what I want to do next and are helping me go professional. I’ve formed a lot more relationships with them than kids, because kids come and go all the time, but the coaches are here for a long time.”
Both Hovan and Bauer have dreams of one day performing with Cirque du Soleil. In the meantime, Bauer will be attending Anoka-Ramsey Community College this fall, and Hovan said he’d like to make more connections or move elsewhere to find more professional opportunities.
Before their fall plans, Bauer and Hovan will be performing in Circus Juventas’ summer performance “Twisted.”
In the fairy tale show something is amiss in the Black Forest. The fairy tale world is thrown for a loop when Russian sorceress Baba Yaga (Hovan) and her sisters brew up a devilish plan to tangle the traditional tales and sow the seeds of epic chaos, forcing beloved fairy tale characters to band together and strive to set their stories straight.
Comedy, magic and romance abound as the show returns to the world of international fairy tales. Will Jack conquer his beanstalk? Will the Little Mermaid finally make it to shore and meet Prince Eric (Bauer)? Will Pinocchio achieve real-boy status? Will Sleeping Beauty ever wake up? And what about that wicked little fellow with the strangest name?
Bauer said “Twisted” is fun for the whole family.
“This show is one of a kind,” he said. “They don’t do this anywhere else ... Every year we change it up, and there’s always something new ... Come see the show. It’s going to be amazing!”
“People of all ages can connect with this show,” Hovan added. “It will be beyond everyone’s expectations. Even ours. ... It will be a show unlike any other.”
Circus Juventas is located at 1270 Montreal Ave., St. Paul.
“Twisted” performances are at 7 p.m. July 26-27, July 31, Aug. 1-4 and Aug. 8-11; and 1 p.m. July 27-28, Aug. 3-4 and Aug. 10-11. An American Sign Language and Audio Described performance is at 1 p.m., Saturday, July 27.
Tickets prices range from $18.50 for children 10 and under and seniors 65 and older, to $45 for VIP seating.
To learn more, visit circusjuventas.org.