Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Moscow Circus

We had asked Scott & Kristine what event they would like to see while they were visiting us in Moscow, and they picked seeing the circus. This is a good choice, as the circus is definitely part of the Moscow experience.

Between 1926 and 1971, there was only one circus in Moscow. Today, there are two circuses in Moscow. The original one on Tsvetnoi Boulevard is referred to sometimes as the "traditional" circus, and the Moscow State Circus on Vernadsky Prospekt, which opened in 1971, is referred to as the "new" circus.

We went to the "traditional" and to the "new" circus with the Browns our first winter in Moscow and enjoyed both. They are different from the circuses I remember going to years ago in the U.S. The ones in Moscow have only one ring instead of being a "three-ring circus." They have a theme, a variety of talented performers, and elaborate costumes and sets that remind one of a Las Vegas show. Since we saw the first two circuses during the Christmas season, they had a "Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden" story theme.

For Christmas this year, we wanted to take Nactya and Anna, our interpreters, to an event of their choosing. They chose to go to a circus, but it was March 9 before we found a time when we all could go. Greg & Chris Shepard went with us, and our tickets were for the "new" circus. We enjoyed it so well, we decided it would be a good choice for Scott & Kristine to see; so we saw the same acts a second time and enjoyed it both times.

Coming home from the circus on the metro -
Anna, Nactya, Narene, Chris, and Sam.
(Greg took the picture.)

This aerial act was one of my
favorite acts.

Of course, this aerial act was impressive.
It appeared as though they were astronauts
in the sky flying through space.

No circus would be complete without animals,
and these lions and tigers were well trained.

The lions clapped along with the audience at the
end of their performance.

The horses seemed to respond to the
trainer's whip as he moved it across the floor
without touching the animals.

The performers came from
several countries. These
acrobats are Ethiopians.

These acrobats were from Mongolia.

One motorcycle rider was later joined by another
and then by a third rider speeding up and around
inside this cage. You hated to think what would
happen if the timing wasn't perfect. Pretty girls
in colorful costumes accompanied many of the
acts, and a young lady held the hand of one
rider as he spun around and around.

How could she stand on one foot
on the small pedestal and spin
numerous hoops on her arms, legs,
and body without falling?

This was amazing. She would
be thrown high in the air and
come down and land on one foot
on the bar. We wonder if she might
have gotten hurt, as this act was
omitted the second time we went.

These three Asian girls could make their
bodies do things that seem impossible.
The circus ring was filled with water
for the final acts.

The "new" circus has five arenas (equestrian, water, illusionist, ice rink, and light-effect). These are located 18 meters below the rink and can be swapped during the performance. It takes only 5-7 minutes to substitute one arena for another, and that's usually when the clowns perform their routine frequently interacting with the audience. One arena is pulled down, set aside, and another is pulled up. There is even a sixth arena where the performers practice. The circular building seats 3,450 spectators.

This aerial performer also danced gracefully
on the wet platform like a
ballet dancer on her toes.

The performers receive enthusiastic applause
at the end of the performance.

When Russians really like something, we have noticed that instead of clapping faster and louder, they often clap together slower and in rhythm. They liked this circus, and so did we.

1 comment:

Mike and Maradel said...

How much fun to see the blog. AND TO SEE A PICTURE OF NACTYA! You got great pictures of the circus. Please tell people hello for us. Thank you for posting!