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The XXXIII International Circus Festival in Monte Carlo brought together the best artists from around the world under the dome of the famous tent of Fontvieille. Among them were our compatriots. For the first time in this millennium and for the second time in the history of the country, Ukraine received a gold award at the Monte Carlo festival. On January 18, 2009, she was awarded the Kobzov circus performers, air gymnasts Dmitry Grigorov and Oles Shulge for the flight of passion. “Princess Stephanie is standing over there!” Natasha Rybchenko, artist of the National Circus of Ukraine, winner of last year’s festival in Monte Carlo, pushed me by the arm. “You just don’t need to take pictures,” she predicted my attempt to raise the camera, “she doesn’t like that.” The princess, in black jeans and a short jacket with a hood, meanwhile, was chewing on her sandwich and quickly went to the tent, from which came the music, teams, the roar of animals – the usual sounds for rehearsing circus numbers. So the childhood myth that the heiress of the throne should certainly be in a magnificent dress, a crown, walk majestically and look impregnable was dispelled. Princess Stefania was more like Cinderella. Together with the trendsetter in the world circus art, the artistic director of the Monte Carlo festival, Urs Pilz, she spent days and nights disappearing at rehearsals in the big top of Fontvieille.

The Monte Carlo Festival is the most significant event in the world of circus art. His awards – Golden, Silver and Bronze clowns – are equated with an Oscar in the field of cinema. It all began in 1974, when the Prince of Monaco Rainier, who was fond of the circus since childhood, founded the International Circus Art Festival in Monte Carlo. Since then, almost every artist dreams of performing in the famous tent of Fontvieille. It’s the same as representing the country at the Olympics, where the best of the best traditionally perform.

The circus is with them. In Europe, the circus is considered the most complex and risky art created for adults, not for children. Tickets for performances are more expensive than for concerts of pop stars – up to $ 150. The dress code for attending the Monte Carlo gala is a tuxedo, evening dress, diamonds.

No circus is like another. For example, the German “Flick-flak” is avant-garde: leather, bikes, hard rock. The Austrian Roncalli is a classic with a retro slant. Canadian “Du Soleil” – a streamlined machine for the reproduction of a cool spectacle. His troupe, 80% of whose artists are Russians, Ukrainians and Chinese, is famous for fantastic performances – an incredible combination of music, light and craftsmanship on the verge of human capabilities.

There are other prestigious events in the world. For example, the International Circus of Tomorrow festival in Paris or the International Circus Art Festival in China, which gives a unique flavor to the venue – the province of Uchao, where this ancient art was born.

Monte Carlo Circus Festival

However, the competition in Monte Carlo is super prestigious, and not only for artists or impresario. The Monaco Circus Friends Association sponsors companies such as Veuve Clicquot, Daimler-Chrysler, and the Sea Bathing Society, which owns a casino in Monte Carlo.

This is a profitable business. Suffice it to say that in Paris during the Christmas holidays on tour there are up to fifty circuses, in Italy – three times more. And everyone works, which means they make a profit.

Things are worse in Russia. According to the director of the Moscow Circus Maxim Nikulin (son of Yuri Nikulin), those in power do not really favor circus art. “The whole country, for example, knows how many prizes our women’s biathlon team received. And no one knows how many awards we brought from Monte Carlo, Paris, Berlin, Wiesbaden or Rome, ”Nikulin laments.

The circus is with us. Winners in Monte Carlo more than once became Ukrainian artists. “Snake-Man” Anatoly Zalevsky received the Grand Prix in 1999, the acrobatic group “Dolls” – in 2007.

But what is there to be surprised, the names of the stars of the circus, Ukrainians by origin, were heard by Europe and America in pre-revolutionary times. It is enough to recall Ivan Poddubny, his pupil Ivan Zaikin, the clown Vitaly Lazarenko, a native of Donbass.

Stationary circuses appeared in Ukraine with the light hand of a passionate lover of this art Nikita Khrushchev. Now there are eleven.
Unfortunately, today the state does not notice the potential of the domestic circus, and Ukraine has something to be proud of and what to show on the best world venues. People’s artist of Ukraine, the general director of the National Circus, the famous predator trainer Vladimir Shevchenko speaks about this with pain. It’s a shame that in the grand projects of the country’s propaganda in the world, our circus did not find a place. Even though the president and his family are frequent guests at the National Circus.

Monte Carlo, big top Fontvieille. Four hours of performance take place in one breath. When you are a meter away from the arena (in the area for photo and television cameramen), you hear the breath of artists, science fiction becomes a reality. The unthinkable acrobatic stunts of Koreans and Chinese that are given to them, it would seem, without the slightest tension, impress not only ordinary spectators. The admired exclamations of the members of the international jury confirm that this is the highest class. After almost every performance, the audience applauds while standing. This is the highest award to the artist from the discerning public.

The festival ends in a few days. The jury members have a difficult task – to determine the best.

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