Come one, come all to witness the spectacular Circus Juventas summer show, starring Mayer’s very own, Vincent Geruntho!
A 2015 graduate of Watertown-Mayer High School, Geruntho got his start in Circus Juventas about five years ago. According to their website, Circus Juventas is a 501(c)3 non-profit and the largest youth performing arts circus school in North America. Located in St. Paul, they strive to inspire artistry and self-confidence through a multicultural circus arts experience that encourages leadership and life skills, teamwork, athleticism, artistry, pursuit of excellence and community service.
Geruntho got his start in circus arts after borrowing his neighbor’s unicycle and teaching himself to ride it. Then, a year later, he taught himself how to juggle. Eager to learn more, Geruntho and his mother found Circus Juventas which provided an outlet for his interests.
Circus Juventas teaches youth different acts and circus skills like the flying trapeze, acrobatics, theatre, unicycling, juggling, etc. In fact, one of the most amazing acts, for Geruntho, is performed by a high school student who balances on a pole using just her bite.
“It’s crazy,” he said. “Whatever you can expect [from Circus Juventas], it’s going to be higher than that for sure.”
Often compared to Cirque du Soleil, Circus Juventas is widely credited for revolutionizing the industry of circus arts.
“You really wouldn’t expect it because it’s not like these are professional performers,” Geruntho said. “They’re taught by some professional performers from Cirque du Soleil and who have worked with Big Apple Circus but a lot of [the performers] are high school students doing stuff you would never see anywhere else.”
Many of the trainers at Circus Juventas are elite coaches from around the world who have performed with Cirque du Soleil, the Great Moscow Circus, Mongolian State Circus, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, and many others.
This year’s production is called STEAM: Grab your goggles and fly! According to their website, the epic sci-fi adventure, set in 1890s Paris, tells the story of a young H.G. Wells who has a chance encounter with Jules Verne. The two embark on a “mind-blowing, time-traveling, steam-punking, fan-fiction fantasy that will take you from the earth to the moon and back.” The two run into magnificent creatures and eccentric characters like mad scientist, Dr. Victor Furio, played by Geruntho.
“[Furio] is one of the villains, kind of the overarching villain. He’s the one who kidnaps the hero’s lady friend which is what kind of gets the plot moving,” Geruntho explained. “He’s this deranged, over-the-top psychopath. He’s really fun to play [and] he loves showing off his creations.”
One of those creations is a clockwork girl who develops feelings for H.G. Wells, making her creator jealous.
Circus Juventas does hold auditions for every show they put on however, the process is a little bit different than one would expect. Performers don’t audition for specific roles, in fact, they don’t even know what roles there are until months after they audition.
“They hold auditions for people to see who’s willing to go the extra mile or go over-the-top and not be shy about it,” Geruntho explained. “They like to hold auditions so people who are new to the theatre program get a chance to shine. A lot of people who are new actually do end up getting big roles because they just show up and catch the eyes of the directors.”
Although Circus Juventas has been a fun past time for Geruntho, it is hard work. He explained that time management is key, especially for students in both high school and college. Once a show opens, they do performances every day so performers must be dedicated and ready to make sacrifices. However, it all pays off, Geruntho said.
“The best part is the applause. When you have a trick you’ve been working on for months and you weren’t even sure if you were going to be able to get it by the time the show comes around and you just barely make the deadline, and you nail it and everyone loves it, it’s great,” he said.
Having a leading role in STEAM: Grab your goggles and fly! was a wonderful surprise for Geruntho. However, there’s another reason his excitement for the show grows each day.
“A lot of my family is actually coming out to see the show. Most of my family lives on the east coast so they don’t really come here that often,” he said. “But this year, a lot of them are coming to visit us [and] see the show for the first time.”
STEAM: Grab your goggles and fly! premieres at 7p.m. on Friday, July 27 and runs through Sunday, August 12. All shows take place at the Circus Juventas big top located at 1270 Montreal Avenue in St. Paul. Tickets may be purchased through the box office https://circusjuventas.org/summer-show-2018 or through Ticketworks at https:// https://circusjuventas.ticketworks.com. Prices range from $18.50 for children 10 and under and seniors 65 years of age or older, to $45 for VIP seating. For more information about the show and Circus Juventas in general, visit circusjuventas.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“For any parents reading this, be sure to sign your kid up for Circus Juventas because it’s probably one of the best past times,” Geruntho said. “If your kid is going to be trying to get into doing flips and jumping off stuff, you might as well have them do it safely!”