The Amazing Moscow Circus

Published: July 28, 2014

The Bolshoi Circus/Большой Московский Цирк
Проспект Вернадского, 7, Москва
Ticket offices 10:30-7:30, most shows start at 7pm.
Tickets from 300 rubles-4000 rubles

I don’t know what I was expecting when I went to the circus, but whatever it was, this was not it. I had heard that Russians give the circus an exalted place among performances, and now I know why.

In the first five minutes I knew I was about to be entertained on another level. With a modern, loud sound system, and technically amazing light projector, the “ring” was more like a 3D theater, where every seat was good, in fact, I would recommend sitting in the highest row possible, because you get a great view of the acrobatics, (our tickets were 600 rubles.)

I have never watched gymnastics at the Olympics and thought, “could this be better?” But it’s exactly what it seemed like. The acrobats were amazing gymnasts. And their amazing gymnastic stunts were done to loud music and flashing lights. One scene that had us literally on the edge of our seat was with gymnasts jumping and flipping over each other on two separate moving platforms, without nets.

The costumes and scenery were very modern, beautiful, and elaborate. The performance we saw, which was called “UFO,” had a hint of modern dance with tumbling, set to powerful industrial music. The lighting was like a laser show; it was so intricate, so integral, and so well choreographed.

There were also clowns, but not in any way stereotypical. They had their own costumes and props, and they provided some comic relief while crews changed the scenes. It all worked as part of a narrative, and they were funny. We saw a bit of juggling and miming from the clowns, dancing performances with tumbling, and even extreme rollerblading stunts, but they were all dwarfed by the spectacular acrobatic performances and gymnastics.

One of my favorite scenes was a night scene, where dark lights illuminated fluorescent butterflies. They took turns flipping around high bars, and jumping from the ceiling in slow motion, bouncing off an enormous fluorescent flower, all in a purposefully languid speed, which gave the viewer the sense that they were in a multicolor dream.

I highly recommend taking the chance to visit the circus.  I attended the Large Circus (Большой Цирк) on Vernadskovo, but there is also a circus The Old Moscow Circus (Cтарый Московский цирк) on Tsvetnoy Boulevard, which is more geared toward animal attractions, and has less expensive seats.

About the author

Sarah Parker

Sarah Parker, at the time she wrote for this site, was a University of Utah student working on an undergraduate in Business Operations with a minor in Russian Language. After SRAS' Russian as Second Language program in 2014, she planned to complete her degree and begin work on her career goal of increasing commercial trade between Russia and the Americas. She is seen here being chased by a bear near Pavlovsk.

Program attended: Challenge Grants

View all posts by: Sarah Parker