Russian Bars

…no, not the alcoholic sort, and no, not the flexible poles held between two guys which are used to pitch performers high in the air.

I’ve been in Russia twice and didn’t enjoy either time. The first was years ago, with my dad, on some scientific visit he made to a place near Yekaterinburg; the second was a short visit in Moscow. We’ve never performed there and don’t plan to. Anyway, they have excellent acrobats and contortionists of their own who are far better than we are (Kalutskikh Brothers for example) and others doing sword beds, glass and stuff (Steelkast, for example). See links bottom right.

What I was thinking about was the inspired decision of the former communist authorities to erect exercise equipment in front of many of the apartment blocks in cities throughout the former Soviet Union. These days, they remain (somewhat rusty sometimes!) and inspire young lads to learn acrobatic skills and to compete with one another to improve their performances. This is one reason why Russia and Ukraine are up in the top league in formal acrobatic gymnastics competition – although not as good as UK right now!!

Here’s a good example. Three lads doing their own thing in various lever positions – human flag (rear guy) is popular, and notice the front guy using a strap on his upper foot. Straps are popular in general as safety harnesses around the wrists (as well as being used a lot around the shoulders for double back levers etc (I’ve posted some of these before):

Lasting friendships (as well as built bodies!) are made through these activities:

…and then, sometimes, they get more adventurous and do away with the bars altogether:

I’m grateful to ‘Artem’ (aka ‘Halien’ or Nico) for these pictures – he (or perhaps it is ‘they’) do a great job in recording the efforts of their Russian/Ukranian colleagues. Again, a link bottom right.

The moral of this story is – never pass up an opportunity to practice your acrobatics. It gets you in shape, and keeps you in shape. The one thing I wish Russian lads would stop doing is smoking. There’s a total inconsistency between that and their apparent ‘health and fitness’ regimes.

And finally (for today); did I mention Kalutskikh? Here’s one I think I’ve posted before, but you may have missed. Don’t try this at home!

Certainly an interesting place to ‘showcase’ your stuff. Take care.

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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