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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cirque du Soleil and the Eastern Bloc

Altogether, more than 300 of Cirque du Soleil's artists - about a third of the whole troupe - are from Russia and the former Soviet republics.

The circus owes a debt to those countries' tradition of excellence in gymnastics, athletics and the pool. Many of its artists are former Olympic, World or European medal winners.

The circus's head coach Boris Verkhovsky, a former member of Russia's national acrobatics team, says: "When Cirque du Soleil decided to produce new circus acts using what we call 'elite sportsmen', we knew right away where these sportsmen were going to come from," he explains.

"Gymnasts, acrobats, highboard divers, trampoline jumpers... the biggest number of these sportsmen was in the Soviet Union."

The company has looked after its Russian artists, placing those who, like Nastya, joined Cirque du Soleil as children, into Russian host families.

link: BBC NEWS | Europe | Russians hear the call of the circus


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