Monday, February 3, 2014

Moscow Circus

Catherine the Great’s reign issued in the circus and it has played an important role in the rich cultural traditions of Russia since that time. In Russia, the circus is regarded as an art form on par with the ballet or opera. It is a showcase for highly skilled and creative artists. An Englishman, Charles Hughes, is partly responsible for the huge popularity of the circus in Russia today. A showmanship horseman, Hughes gave a performance with his circus performers for the court of Catherine the Great. She was mesmerized by the performance. She ordered two circus rings to be built for the Hughes. He remained in St. Petersburg for a year before returning to England. However his performers, remained behind, thus giving began to the Russian circus we know today. The circus became extremely popular with the Russian people in the 19th century. The circus quickly became one of the chief forms of entertainment. The Old Moscow Circus was founded in 1880. It quickly became the most respected and loved circus in Russia. After the 1917 revolution, the founding fathers of the Soviet Union quickly recognized the circus’ importance. All, regardless of race, language, age, education or class, enjoyed the circus. Through the establishment of state circus schools in Moscow in 1927 and later other major cities, circus developed exponentially and in far greater ways than other countries. At its pinnacle, there were 70 permanent circus buildings and 50 traveling circuses when the Communist regime collapsed in the early 1990’s. The fall of Communism threw this massive organization into disarray, and the future was at times uncertain. However, the Moscow Circus has continued to thrive, recently celebrating its 120th anniversary.

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