For almost a century, one centralized organization has been preserving and promoting the grand Russian circus tradition at home and abroad.
Throughout the political and cultural turmoil of the twentieth century, one Russian circus entity has stood remarkably strong, but the Russian State Circus Company’s origins go back even further that that. In imperial Russia, circus was so beloved that Catherine the Great, Nicholas I, and Nicholas II all commissioned circus buildings. After the Russian Revolution, Vladimir Lenin recognized the popular appeal (and the profit-making potential) of circus and mandated state appropriation of private circuses. By the mid 1920s, a new national association of circus companies had incorporated all private circuses into local units of a federal program. The government also invested in developing circus as a national art form, creating the world’s first professional circus school in 1927, the State College of Circus and Variety Arts. Critics clung to the old ways of apprenticeship within circus families, but the new school was incredibly successful, graduating phenomenal pe...
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