By Lyudmila Minakova
Those lucky enough to go to the Belarusian State Circus on these cold February days have already seen the ‘hot’ atmosphere which now reigns there. Cuban, Russian and Belarusian artistes demonstrate true wonders of acrobatics, trapeze walking and animal training. Have you ever seen trained badger-dogs synchronously perform commands? Have you ever seen a female acrobat sit on a chair balanced on a rope? Have you ever seen a chimpanzee playing the trumpet? These amazing performances cannot help but take us by surprise.
“Our circus can’t fall short of its reputation,” emphasises Tatiana Bondarchuk, Director of the Belarusian State Circus. “We should place the bar even higher with each programme. It’s no accident that we’re implementing another project jointly with the Yuri Nikulin Circus in Moscow and the Cuba National Circus. They are the best circuses in the world, preserving traditions and performing tricks which quite freeze the heart.”
How do you react to an acrobat on stilts performing trampoline somersaults — as presented by the Moscow Circus, headed by Dmitry Sokolov. Nikulin’s Circus also boasts orangutans and chimpanzees trained by People’s Artiste of Russia Aziz Askaryan. His ‘pupils’ travesty stage stars, play musical instruments, drive a car and even ‘play’ with spectators, throwing a hat into the audience.
“I love working in Minsk and like Belarusian audiences. My monkeys also love them,” notes Mr. Askaryan. “The Belarusian circus is wonderful. I’ve travelled a great deal around the world and haven’t seen anything better. Our artistes dream of arriving in Belarus, as everything here allows us to work comfortably and conveniently. Each artiste has their own make-up room with washroom and the animals enjoy perfect conditions.”
The Cuban artistes also love the Belarusian circus, despite the harsh frosts on Minsk’s streets. Their performances cause a real sensation with Belarusian spectators: dark-skinned dancers from the Havana Stars Ballet, a sinuous female acrobat on a low rope and a cheerful clown duo…
“The Cuban artistes are astonishing in their beauty and delicacy,” notes Ms. Bondarchuk. “Cuba has preserved ‘pure’ circus, where tricks are the major element of each performance; the bright costumes, choreography and contemporary elements so often used by other circuses are secondary.”
Although none of the Cubans speak English, the shows haven’t suffered; clowns make people laugh without a single word.
“It’s difficult to relate the significance of this project, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Cuba and Belarus this year,” notes the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Cuba to Belarus, H.E. Mr. Alfredo Nieves Portuondo. “This is not just a cultural event; it’s a social and political event. Despite distances between states, we can easily get to know more about each other. In fact, this is vital.”