Running away to join the circus is exactly what Michelle Dvorkin did when she was still in elementary school.

"I think I was six years old," said Michelle. "I was in Toronto and I went to a circus camp and a councilor said she was a student at this school and she showed me this direction."

Three years later Michelle and her family moved to Montreal, and she has been in training ever since.

Michelle has never had any doubt that performing in the centre ring, or high above it, is what she wants to do.

Teacher Dawn Shepard has been working with Michelle for the past two years, and says her student is always motivated.

"She is consistent in her work which is something that is required if you want to have a career in the circus," said Shepard.

She says most school days are pretty simple: it's either circus or the arts, for 42 hours a week.

But training in circus performance is not just all play and no work. Michelle had to go through a number of academic tests before she was accepted, proving that she has brains inside her flexible, muscular body.

"She is always either the top of the class or second," said her math and science teacher Robert Villeneuve.

Top marks, as well as good skills in body awareness, spatial orientation, strength and flexibility are required for the circus.

Shepard says Michelle has a promising career, and the teenager has her sights set on the Cirque du Soleil.

"I get to perform for people. I get to be entertainment. I like pleasing people. It makes me happy," said Michelle.