Living as a circus performer can be fun and games to some, but for professionals Azamat, Gulnora and Liliia, the circus is life.

For six months in a year, the three performers would lead a nomadic life, travelling from show to show around the globe with their own transport and accommodation leaving their families behind.

Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

“It is a choice we make,” said an aerialist and tightrope walker Azamat Tursunov who has been in the industry for almost half of his life.

The Europe Acrobatic Circus and Charity Bazaar performers each had their share of doing daredevil and flying stunts from a young age.

Azamat who speaks five languages; Russian, English, Kazakh, Persian and Tarjiki fluently, was just 18 years old when he took his first steps into tightrope to balance on a wire.

He has walked on the wire dozens of feet from the air blindfolded, no safety harness, balancing his body and mind on a cable less than the size of his thumb, and in the midst of his feat, he would wave back to the spectators

Many performers who practiced high-wire acts are putting their lives in danger every time they do, and for Azamat, it took him two years to master the art of falling.

Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

“I practice without safety. If you are caught off balance, you have to think on your feet either you immediately grab the wire or try to fall on your side,” he said.

The 35-year-old circus performer remembered his first fall at a circus in Belarus where he had to balance on a 16mm wire and landed nine metres onto the ceramic floors.

The Tajikistan-born explained that to walk up to the high-wire, he has to walk up steep sloping wires with absolutely nothing to stop him falling.

Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

“To become a professional tightrope walker requires a combination of concentration, determination and also nerves of steel” he said.

Donning a costume as vibrant as his persona, Azamat found his passion in tightrope when he attended aerobic school in his hometown that specialises in the art performance.

“I wanted to transition my passion into a career but was not sure if it was going to be possible, but kept going either way,” he said.

Azamat has stepped into the centre ring of countless events around the world, his stage resume includes Egypt, Russia, Malaysia and many more.

He believes his passion for promoting his country is also the reason why he loves performing internationally.

“I get to see the world when I am with the circus and for that I have found the circus to be my second home,” he said.

For his aerial duet partner, Gulnora Husenzoda has a year of performance experience in aerial gymnastics with her favorite apparatus the aerial hoop.

The youngest of the circus performers started off with silk but the dynamism and flexibility of performing on an aerial hoop intrigued her to perform it as a career.

The 18-year old has been training as a gymnast while also juggling her studies in Economics at the Tajikistan University of Technology.

Whereas, Lilia Kusaitov is a Russian-born professional aerialist is active in contortionist and aerialist for 17 years and continues to this day to tour the world.

The youngest of the circus performers started off with silk but the dynamism and flexibility of performing on an aerial hoop intrigued her to perform it as a career.

The 18-year old has been training as a gymnast while also juggling her studies in Economics at the Tajikistan University of Technology.

Whereas, Lilia Kusaitov is a Russian-born professional aerialist is active in contortionist and aerialist for 17 years and continues to this day to tour the world.

For a contortionist, she has the unique ability to bend, fold and twist her body into positions that seem like magic of their own.

Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

The 25-year old often amazes onlookers by effortlessly shooting an arrow with her toes, hitting the bull’s-eye while being upside down.

“I have been practicing contortionism since I was eight years old and I’ve travelled for shows across Europe and recently Southeast Asia,” said Liliia who is an Ecological Engineering graduate.

What may seem entirely magical to onlookers is a combination of circus performance, choreographed dance, and athletic strength that powers Lillia through the show.

At the circus, Liliia would be seen hanging in the air, suspended on nothing but silk and her own strength – the acrobat is closer to the audience than she has ever been before.

All eyes are on her as she moves gracefully down the silk. This has now become a routine to her who previously was afraid of heights.

Prior to every show, the performers would warm up for about 20 to 30 minutes doing stretches and some cardio sessions throughout the day.

Liliia also said she needs to maintain her body limber so she does not hurt herself.

Not only does Liliia constantly have to strengthen her body, but for contortionists, their mind has to be present with their body through every movement.

“In the end, everything we do is all for audience,” said Azamat.

He added: “The best part about performing in the circus is seeing the expressions on the audiences faces. I love the smiles and applause”.

This article was first published on June 29, 2019 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 43

Azrina Zin | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
The Bruneian

Follow by Email
Facebook
Twitter
LINKEDIN