Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Dnipropetrovs'k Circus

My daughter Lyn and friend Laura came from London to visit us  for a week. There was a Moscow based circus performing in Dnipropetrovs'k so on Saturday we took in the 5:00 pm show.  Can't recall the last time I took my kids to the circus. No pictures were allowed of the performance.  Sorry.
The Dnipropetrovs'k "Tsirk" is a one ring circus, smaller than Kyiv but decent nevertheless. Source: Google Maps
There were all the hucksters and hype that comes with a circus.  Cotton candy and popcorn.  Lots of plastic happiness with bright flashing lights for parents to buy little kids. Pizza and beer at intermission. The trapeze artists and gymnasts were superb, as one would expect from a Moscow troop.  Russian clowns are the best in the business and are dearly loved and celebrated.  "Harry" was no exception.  His difficulties in setting up and lying down on a collapsible cot had kids of all ages shrieking with laughter. We could all identify!

It was the animal acts I came to watch, to see if I could "eyeball" whether the animals were mistreated or not in any way.  Circuses have attracted their share of attention, deserved or not, from the PETAs of this world, so I was curious.  There were dogs, horses, sea lions and doves.  We had to leave a little early to catch our bus so there may have been more but possibly not.

The dogs were wonderful and worth the price of admission (well, along with Harry).  They were funny and seemed to know it.  They were cued to the second, tails wagging and all happy with pats and treats from their trainer.  I loved the Basset Hound.  When asked to perform the impossible, he would lie down and play dead.

The doves were nothing spectacular.  They did what birds do - fly and sit on things.

The horses, on the other hand, made me wonder.  They were not carrying any excess flesh though they appeared sleek enough.  The lady trainer didn't appeal to me much, though her whip (string on a stick) and her cane were just for signalling.  At the end, she rode out on a fancy black all duded up, with a mean double bit on him that had him foaming at the mouth the entire time.  She may have needed it to control him as he was bursting with energy and should have done a 10 mile fast run before the show.

The sea lions were a puzzle as I have no idea how to tell a happy one from a mistreated and unhappy one.  They were certainly well trained and when one missed a cue, the other jumped off his tub and went after him.  Male jealousy.  They were certainly treated well in the ring.  Treats as rewards and lots of hugs from the trainer for a job well done.  It is how they are penned afterwards that could be a concern.

No lions, tigers, bears or elephants suited me fine.  And unless I could see behind stage and in the off season, I couldn't make a final comment on the care of the horses or sea lions.


7 comments:

  1. I am uncomfortable with circuses. On one hand, I marvel at the talent and expertise of the performers, but on the other hand I don't like knowing that people are risking their lives for my "entertainment". One of the Cirque du Soleil performers fell to her death not long ago, a needless loss of a healthy young person. And, like you, I worry about the welfare of the animals.

    I guess the performers are doing what they love and I should just get over it, but... I can't quite.

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    1. The performers (including SOME of the animals, I expect)are doing what they love and making a living like the rest of us. Whether entertainment is necessary or needless I guess is a philosophical argument. It is as old as humankind.

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  2. I haven't been to a circus since I was a child.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. They are still fun. I wasn't allowed to go to circuses as a kid because the ladies were scandalously dressed.

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  3. I don't think I've ever been to a circus. Have I? Dad, I think you failed me in my childhood. RUDE.

    I wouldn't want the animals to be mistreated either. Poor little things. But I know lots of them love having stuff to do if they are treated right. Monty loves doing tricks. Not that he can do much!

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    1. We took you kids to the Shrine Circus once in a big tent in the southland parking lot. We lived on Sunset still, I think.

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    2. Then you are forgiven. I just don't remember.

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