March 23, 2023

Saint Paul, MN (November 2, 2010) – Members of the Circus Juventas advanced level triple trapeze act won a Gold Medal for their age group in the Circus Ring of Friendship Festival in Norrköping, Sweden.

The competition was held October 28 to 31. The four members include Kate Cieslowski, 18, Brigid Fitzgerald, 16, and Avery Young, 17, all from Minneapolis, and Heather Snyder, 17, from Saint Paul. Ms. Cieslowski is a senior at the Blake School, Ms. Fitzgerald is a junior at Minneapolis South, Ms. Young is a senior at Minneapolis Southwest and Ms. Snyder is a senior at Saint Paul Central.

The team competed against 35 individual and team acts from countries including Germany, Russia, Estonia, Holland, Switzerland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Canada, Latvia, Italy, the Republic of Belarus and Finland.  The team was accompanied by Circus Juventas founders Dan and Betty Butler and coach, Sun Yan Hong.

A native of China, Sun Yan Hong was a gymnast on the Gymnastic Team of Physical School in Kunming, China, and later performed with the elite Flag Circus of China. She won gold medals for teeterboard and Ballet on Lamps in the National Acrobatic Competition of Vietnam. Prior to joining Circus Juventas as an instructor in 2004, she toured with Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion, performing as an acrobat and teeterboard flyer.

For the past five years Circus Juventas has worked to become more involved on the international circus scene and Twin Cities performers have traveled to Europe in 2005, 2006 and 2008 for the annual International Circus Festival in Latina, Italy. The Circus Juventas French Trapeze team won the Premio Giulio Montico Award in 2005.

Director Dan Butler said “We are very proud of Sun and the triple trap team. The circus arts are far more ingrained in many European and Asian cultures than here in the United States. It is a great accomplishment to be awarded a gold medal.”

Circus Juventas, celebrating its 16th anniversary in 2010, is a non-profit youth performing arts circus based in Saint Paul. Circus Juventas offers an array of circus arts training and performance opportunities to children and youth up to age 21. Its mission is to inspire artistry and self-confidence through a multi-cultural circus arts experience.  Students learn acrobatics, balance, aerial techniques, juggling and theatrical skills in a safe and noncompetitive environment. The focus is on discipline, hard work, and mentor and peer relationships.

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