ST. PAUL -- A St. Paul-based youth circus school is taking its act to the nation's capital this summer.

Circus Juventas has been invited to perform at the 50th anniversary Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington. This year's festival focuses on circus arts and will be held on the National Mall for 10 days, from June 29 to July 4 and from July 6 to 9.

Daniel Butler, co-founder and executive director of Circus Juventas, calls the
invitation the ``greatest honor'' for his organization, founded in 1994. Butler and his wife, artistic director Betty Butler, modeled the school on international circuses, which focus on athleticism and artistry.

The 30 circus students have to pay their own expenses to Washington. A fundraiser will be held Saturday at the Circus Juventas Big Top.