The Cirque comes to town

atlantis.jpg(Canscene_ — Hey guys, remember the days when you thought it’d be fun to run away from home and join the circus?

Not anymore, unless you have the potential skills of a ballet dancer, the strength of an Atlas and the ability to time your movements to a nanosecond. Go see Cirque Avaia and find out why.

Cirque Avaia, which first graced Canada at Niagara Falls last year, moved last month into a massive pavilion at Woodbine Centre, adjacent to the race track, for a one month stay ending May 27.
This remarkable modern version of traditional circus originated with Mairbeck and Oleg Kantemirov, members of a famed Russian circus family whose first circus performance dates back to 1871.

In 1907, Albert Kantemirov was the first to enter the ring on horseback and the family became noted for its interpretations of Cossack horsemanship in Russian circuses. His descendants, Mairek and Oleg are behind the creation of Cirque Avaia in which horses play a vital role both as individual performers with their acrobatic riders and as part of the pageantry that moves the two-hour show forward.

Oleg Kantemirov now resides in Canada where he maintains a circus training school just north of Toronto; it also doubles as an event location for circus flavoured celebrations. Mairek is in constant demand internationally and has also performed here with Cirque du Soleil.

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After the show, Ben meets a performer.
Cirque Avaia’s uniqueness lies in its ability to delight the eye and ear with constant surprises. The acrobats perform with a balletic flow, interspersed with some clown play that is a little more subtle than at an average three-ring circus and yet gets gales of laughter from younger members of the audience.

One touch I liked: at the finale humans and horses back out of the ring through drapery and out of sight. The principle clown, seemingly oblivious to the exeunt suddenly realizes he’s been left behind, turns and dashes out of sight.

This is a circus that charms as it thrills and leaves us with the hope that this isn’t the last we shall see of Cirque Avaia.
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