- Title: RUSSIA: Tight-rope walking bears delight St. Petersburg circus crowds
- Date: 6th March 2013
- Summary: VARIOUS OF BEAR WALKING ON HIGH WIRE BEAR'S FACE BAND PLAYING
- Embargoed: 21st March 2013 12:00
- Location: Russian Federation
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Entertainment,Environment,Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVAAWENWN1EZ2GJRV5MOEHWK0KR4
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Bears delight St. Petersburg circus audiences with high-wire tightrope walking.
A team of circus workers in a nautically-themed tight-rope performance have developed an unusual spectacle for the Bolshoi Circus in St. Petersburg.
While the tricks performers of "Mamba-Karamba" attempt on the tightrope are impressive, it is five members of the troupe that garner the most applause. In addition to human performers, the team contains five brown bears, trained to handle the difficulties of performing on tightropes.
Troupe leader Alexander Ivanov explained to Reuters that his bears were unique in their tightrope-walking ability.
" "They walk perfectly backwards and forewords on their fore and hind legs, ride on bicycles, but they won't be able to walk on the tightrope. Because it's well-known among people that bears can climb trees, right? But they do have a fear of heights, thus they will never go too high from the surface. But our bears climb this medium-high (POINTING TO RING) bridge during rehearsals - 10 metres high," Ivanov said.
At rehearsals, the bears and their human colleagues worked on routines, polishing their performance for the big night. Ivanov said he made no distinction between bear and human performers.
"I don't make a delineation between bears and performers. There's just one team, as you see at the performance. We have sailors, bear sailors wearing sailor shirts and pants, and people acting as sailors, and we have an adventure of our own, we go sailing on the sea. And there is lots of adventurous things happening on the ring when we are performing. So I have one team, a team of bears and actors. That's how we work here," Ivanov said.
Tightrope walker Yevgenia Nuyanzina said she enjoyed working with the bears, and that some of them learned to tightrope walk quickly.
"It depends on the rehearsal process. Some people in fact learn quickly. And it's the same with bears. We have some who learn quickly to walk on the tightrope. It depends on the people, I think," Nuyanzina said.
Ivanov inherited the idea of bear rope walkers and the troupe from his father Mikhail, a renowned star in Soviet times.
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