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A collage of twinkle toes and tricks galore

Acrobats and aerial gymnasts, jugglers, clowns and illusionists will all take to the ring this week in the first visit to Calcutta by a renowned Russian circus in over a decade.

The Bolshoi St Petersburg troupe — one of the world’s oldest circus acts — will, on Thursday, converge on the Science City auditorium for a night of gravity-defying Russian folk entertainment. The evening forms the high-point of a four-day celebration of Russian culture in Calcutta, which kicked off on Tuesday night with a concert by virtuoso saxophonist Igor Butman and his jazz quartet.

The cultural programme also includes a folk performance by Russia’s State Musical Theatre of the Russian Art at GD Birla Sabhagar on Wednesday night, and will wind up with an evening of classical ballet by Moscow’s State Academic Ballet Theatre at Science City on Friday.

“The circus show will involve acrobatics, tight-rope walking and clowns, and there will even be a set of tricks involving birds,” said Yuri Nzozulya, director of Gorky Sadan, the Russian cultural centre in the city.

“The Days of Russian Culture in India is the fulfilment of May’s inter-governmental protocol on cultural co-operation, and will be reciprocated by an Indian cultural event that will tour Russia next year,” he added.

All four performance troupes — circus, theatre, ballet and jazz — arrived in Calcutta following performances in Delhi and Mumbai, in a tour organised by the Russian federation’s ministry of culture, and staged by city-based event co-ordinators Anamika Kala Sangam.

“The four events will offer some of the best entertainment available of their kind,” stressed Sumit Ray of Anamika Kala Sangam. “Calcutta can look forward to four days of breathtaking performances by some of Russia’s leading acts.”

The 50-member musical theatre ensemble will perform folk songs from all over the world, along with traditional Russian numbers, with multi-lingual artists singing songs from a wide range of countries, and playing instruments from a vast array of cultural traditions.

The Moscow Classical Ballet is billed to perform Adolf Adan’s renowned romantic work Giselle in its distinctively-modern choreographic style.

“Moscow Classical Ballet is one of the world’s best-known ballet troupes, famous for its theatrical approach to traditional masterpieces,” said Gorky Sadan programme organiser Gautam Ghosh. “And the Bolshoi St Petersburg troupe celebrates the best circus traditions of Russia, and we expect a spectacular performance on Thursday night.”

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