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20 May 2003 - Moscow
The Moscow Circus

Russia has a great tradition in the circus, and as testament to this, Moscow has not one, but two permanent circuses, imaginatively named The Old Circus and The New Circus.

The Old Circus didn't have a performance on the day we decided to go and have a look, so we went to the new one.

We knew where the circus was when we got out of the metro - just follow the lines of children streaming towards this big domed building. Finding out where to buy the tickets was less straight-forward. The sales booth is underneath the main entrance and not directly accessible from it. To top it all off, the ticket attendents do not speak English. Or maybe they just pretend not to so that they could push the most expensive tickets at us (about 310 Rubles per ticket).

Acts in the circus fall ino basically two types: Those involving human performers doing incredible or funny things; and those involving animal performers doing incredible or funny things.

In the former category, we saw a lady who jumped and twirled hoops while standing on a horse, tightrope walkers, somersaulting and dancing ice skaters, a guy who did one-handed handstands, a guy doing a performance on something like the rings and, of course, clowns.

In the latter category, we had performing goats, performing dogs, trapeze monkeys, horses that trotted to On The Street Where You Live, ice skaters and their boomerang pigeons, elephants and, the most amazing thing I saw, trained performing house cats.

When I told Adik about this later, he assumed that I meant the big cats.

I said, "No, they're house cats. With flaming batons".

"With the cats on the ends?"

Actually, there was a point in the dog show when the lady spun a long pole with poodles hanging off the ends, which was a sight to behold. They seemed quite blasť about the whole thing, which I doubt the cats would have been.

The cats did climb twenty-foot high poles and then jumped off them (or climbed down them again). It was mightily impressive.

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posted on Friday, May 30, 2003 - permalink
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