Sunday, Aug. 5, 2007 | 1:14 a.m.
Mitchell Taylor, 11, left, and Moriah Dubowsky, 9, practice walking on balls at the second annual Sandou Circus Camp.
"You get to climb, you get to walk on stilts, you get to walk on a ball," Moriah says. "My favorite is walking on the balls because everyone can watch you and they can see and then everyone can try it themselves. It's a little bit hard, but it just takes practice."
Camp founder Sergei Sandou says, "Every day this makes my heart pump up because they get the skills fast."
He and his brother Konstantin opened Sandou Theatrical Circus School in Las Vegas two years ago. The Moldavian circus performers traveled the world before coming to the United States for the first time in 1991 with Ringling Bro s . and Barnum & Bailey.
"My dream came true because I get to do something for the kids," Sergei Sandou says with a heavy Romanian accent. "We just came to the point we wanted to do something for the local kids. We've been training so hard for the last 25 years, training, working, performing, creating, but it's special here because we want to share our experience and pass the skills to the younger generation. We're very happy about the school."
Near the end of the camp's four-hour session, there are 25 or so campers stretching with former Romanian Olympic gymnast Augustina Badea-Sandou and former U.S. national gymnast Cassie Craig. The lean and muscular camp leaders joke with kids of various ages, from pee-wees to high school synchronized swimmers and ice skaters. Meanwhile, professional performers begin to trickle in, stretching honed bodies.
The camp runs through Aug. 17. For more information, go to www.sandoucircusschool.com or call 454-5005.