Moscow Grand Circus visits Abu Dhabi

A father-son clown skit, an aerial dance, a trapeze ensemble and a strongman act were just a few performances of the Moscow Grand Circus that premiered ...

Sep 28, 2013

A father-son clown skit, an aerial dance, a trapeze ensemble and a strongman act were just a few performances of the Moscow Grand Circus that premiered this past weekend from Sept. 25 to Sept. 28 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
Although this was the first showing of the Moscow Grand Circus, the directors of the production, Phillip and Carol Gandey, have a history of working with ADNEC to produce circus performances in the UAE. Last October, the Chinese State Circus also performed in Abu Dhabi.
This year, the Russian cast created a mix of traditional circus acts with more contemporary elements. During the two-hour performance, there was a particular focus on acrobatic routines — such as trapeze, gymnastic bars and aerial dance — which were performed with a daring twist. On the Russian swing, for example, acrobats launched themselves through the air in a dizzying array of somersaults and flips. Unlike typical swing acts, where there is one single swing and landing mat, the version at the Moscow Grand Circus involved two swings to allow acrobats to fling themselves from one to the other.
Sophomore Ana Pereu won a ticket to the show from NYU Abu Dhabi Student Life.
“There were a lot of acrobatics, which was really nice,” said Pereu. “Even if they made mistakes, they compensated with more complicated moves.”
“It was just very quality acrobatics, very visually enjoyable acrobatics,” said NYU New York junior Alexa Singh.
Circus, strong dude
Fakhriddin Akhnazarov pulls a truck with his teeth. By Clare Hennig/The Gazelle
Another highlight of the show was the strongman act, performed by Fakhriddin Akhnazarov. He began by picking up weights with one finger, throwing and catching them before using only his teeth to lift a rope attached to weights. His grand finale was pulling a truck, filled with more than 15 people, across the arena using only his teeth.
“That one terrified me and made my teeth hurt,” said Singh.
Student Life raffled 22 tickets for students to attend the event. Ella Jacobson, a Global Academic Fellow who chaperoned the event, described the educational and entertaining benefits of the excursion.
Circus, clown
By Clare Hennig/The Gazelle
“For this event in particular … [the purpose is] getting people out into the community and facilitating that interaction,” said Jacobson. She said the cultural flavor of the circus highlighted the different kinds of music that were played.
Students responded enthusiastically to the opportunity and expressed the desire to attend similar events in the future.
“I enjoyed staying with my four girls, sitting in a row, getting popcorn …  I think it’s a great way for students to come out after a stressful week,” said Pereu. “I thought it was great that [Student Life] did that; I think they should do more raffles.”
Clare Hennig is features editor. Email her at
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