The Moscow State Circus is not like an average American circus. It was mostly influenced by the Russian Circus, which was one of the most popular forms of entertainment from the 1950’s to the 1980’s in communist Russia.
If the MSC can be compared to any other famous circus, they are most similar to Cirque de Soleil because they have a modern style, European influences and do not use animals in any of their acts.
When asked about the circus’ philosophy towards animals in the circus, the promoter, Tuffy Nicholas, stated “It’s not that we’re animal activists, but we do feel that people can entertain just as well as or even better than animals, so a modern circus doesn’t need to use animals.”
There will be familiar elements in their circus when they come to the Sun Dome on Saturday, such as acrobats, trapeze artists, contortionists, and clowns.
According to Nicholas, a unique feature of their circus is “intelligent lighting with modern music that creates a very fast paced experience.”
What makes the Moscow State Circus unique? The performers.
All of the performers come from Russia, mostly from the St Petersburg and Moscow areas.
Many of them have had long histories of performing in Russia, and other countries in Europe, before they joined the circus.
Most of them have won awards at international circus competitions, and one performer has won a gold medal.
All of them joined the Moscow State circus four years ago when it relocated to Sarasota after a 200-year history in Moscow.
For these performers their first time in the Moscow State Circus was also their first time bringing their acts to the United States.
Acts in the show, which is called “Your Mind’s Eye,” will include contortionists, whose grace and ability to shape their bodies in seemingly impossible ways is reminiscent of Russian ballet dancers.
There will be acrobats and aerial artists, who perform on the trapeze and the Russian swing.
One pair has an act where one man balances on a ladder while the other does a handstand on the balancing man’s head.
One of the most exciting acts, according to Nicholas, will feature a motorcyclist who will ride his motorcycle on various platforms suspended from the roof of the Sun Dome.
Also performing that night will be special guests the Wallendas, carrying on the tradition of the Flying Wallendas, the act first brought to the United States by a circus family from Germany in the 1920s (now based out of Sarasota).
Nicholas said the Wallenda’s performance will include their famous highwire act as well as a perch act, which includes balancing and acrobatics performed on high perches.
This is the first performance of the Moscow State Circus in the Tampa area, to be followed by a tour of Florida.
While they are based in Sarasota, they have mostly performed in the Northeast. But in the past four years they have also performed in Canada, Alaska, and California, among other places.