Acrobats were performing under the dome of Dnipro’s City Circus. Three young women were showing off some of their more advanced abilities on a metal contraption. Simultaneously, a juggler below easily handled swords, pins, and even a Bulava, the traditional Ukrainian weapon.
A duet from the small Belarusian town of Mozyr performs a rare form of acrobatics.
“This gymnast works on the trapeze. This genre is disappearing actually. But we are trying to save it,” creative director Maria Kuznetsova said.
“We had a preliminary round and were satisfied with half of the applications. The rest of them had not yet mastered their art,” festival director Olha Pblasova said.
Nine-year-old Olesya Rekun was accepted to the competition immediately. She’s been an acrobat for five years now, ever since her family was forced to flee their native Donetsk after the war broke out. She has earned first place in multiple competitions. She says that she was scared the first time she was up high, but now find it quite easy if she focuses on the performance.
“The main thing is to do the trick well,” Olesya said.
“We decided that she has enough strength. She’s very strong. That’s why we decided to get ourselves together, and that we could do this. And we did,” Olesya’s coach, Valentyna Tretiakova said.
The participants’ performance was judged by two juries simultaneously. The first jury was made up of circus legends. The second was made up of Circus directors from Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, Belarus, and Germany. They say that nowhere else in the world are similar festivals held. In Dnipro, however, this year’s competition marks the 9th year it’s been hosted. In that time, many artists have signed contracts abroad.
“A lot of the numbers received the highest scores. But that’s when we take pure professionalism into account. We begin looking at their school grades, and even their socks,” Chair of the jury, Liudmyla Shevchenko said.
The jury members admitted that choosing the best circus performers is not an easy task. After being awarded, the winners showed off their winning performances once more at a gala concert.