"Today and every day on the arena ...": from the history of the Turkmen circus art

The present building of the Ashgabat circus is quite young - it was built in 1985, but the history of the Turkmen arena dates back more than a hundred year. Circus performances in Turkmenistan were arranged in the beginning of the 20th century.

Since 1905, the Askhabad newspaper periodically announced the tours of circus artists "from different countries and cities".The performances took place in the fundamental building, built at the corner of Mervsky Avenue and Stavropolskaya Street (nowadays Magtymguly Avenue and B.

Kerbabaev Street), near the present Cinema and Concert Hall "Parahat" (Cinema Theatre "Mir").The building belonged to Regina Dobrzhanska, and was named after the owner - Dobrzhanskaya Circus Theater.

Why the theater?Because along with the circus performances, theatrical performances were also given in this entertainment building’, as it appears in the documents of the Head of the Trans-Caspian region.

In 1901, the outstanding Russian actress Vera Fedorovna Komissarzhevskaya gave performances there.

In Ashgabat at that time, there were other entertainment buildings’ - theaters "Modern Cinematography" and "Express Cinematography", the theater of "Black Magic", but the Dobrzhanskaya Circus Theater was perhaps the most popular entertainment center in the city.

Thanks to the contacts of the owner with the most famous attractions of Scipio Ciniselli, Albert Salomonsky, the Nikitin brothers and other private circuses, many famous artists, such as clowns, brothers Anatoly Durov and Vladimir Durov, visited Ashgabat on tours.

The circus programme for that time was quite rich.The posters presented the list of numbers that took Ashgabat people’s breath away - air gymnasts, jugglers, balance-masters, rope walkers, fakirs, acrobats, trained animals, lilliputis and so on and so forth.

The wrestling championships on the circus arena caused quite a stir.According to the posters, the wresting was "of all kinds and different nationalities: French, American, Russian-Swiss, Bavarian, Tyrolean, Tatar, Caucasian, Gypsy, Mongolian, Uzbek, Chinese and others."

The matches of professional wrestlers gathered not just a full hall - people crowded in the aisles, climbed almost under the dome of the circus to look at "perpetual fights to the final result," as it was said in the posters.

Each of the spectators had their own favorite athletes.Wrestler William Lapiado enjoyed the great popularity.Alexander Vasilievich Korolev performed under this imposing foreign name.For many years, he lived in Ashgabat and gave lessons in athletics and physical development.

He, by the way, served as a prototype of one of the heroes of the story of Alexander Kuprin "Lighter than air."

Local guys and men enjoyed the wrestling tournaments.When the official contests were over, the referee invited all comers to measure strength with the famous wrestlers.Local athletes waited for this moment.

They took off telpek, dressing gowns and, bringing the degree of emotion of fans to the limit, took visiting experts in the "French-Mongolian" wrestling in their bear hugs.

Sometimes such fights ended in the complete victory of the Turkmen athletes.Till now, there is a legend about one of such athletes - Mottyk-palvan from Bagir is alive.

National circus art began to be formed in Turkmenistan in 1924, and was represented mainly by horsemen.Then the first ensemble "Alibek’s Djigits" was created, directed by Alibek Kantemirov, who developed the djigit school.

Riding at that time was not truly a circus genre number.For the first time, it was introduced into the circus by Turkmen artists, who took all the best from the national rider art.

In 1928, the equestrian ensemble "Attraction in the Caucasus Mountains" was formed from eight people under the leadership of M.Tuganov.In 1940, during the preparation for the decade of the arts of Turkmenistan in Moscow, the Turkmen girls were included into the theater for the first time.

The Ashgabat Circus worked during the Great Patriotic War.The team developed the agitation anti-fascist programs, which included skits, reprises, couplets, filled with humor, optimism and unshakable faith in our victory.

These ideas raised the mood and fighting spirit of the fighters, who received medical treatment in Ashgabat hospitals, local citizens and homefront workers.In February 1942, the tours of trainer Yuri Durov from the famous dynasty of Durov circus artists were of great success in Ashgabat.

In 1944, a studio of Turkmen riders was opened under the direction of V. Galkanov, who created the ensemble "Djigits of Solar Turkmenia" in the Ashkhabad Circus. The ensemble toured the cities of the Soviet Union with unchanging success.

The building of the first Ashgabat circus was destroyed by the 1948 earthquake.But the circus life in the country did not stop.The traveling chapiteau regularly toured Ashgabat, and in the country itself continued to improve the art of horse riding.

In the beginning of 1960, the Turkmen mobile circus ensemble of horsemen was headed by People's Artist of Turkmenistan Dovlet Khodzhabayev, and at the end of the year another group was formed on the basis of this collective - "Ensemble of Annayev’s Dzhigits ", under the guidance of People's Artist of Turkmenistan Amandurdy Annayev.

Turkmen circus art was also represented by the attraction of trained animals of the honored artist of Turkmenistan N.Kochakova.

For many years, Turkmen dzhigits have conquered the hearts of spectators in different parts of the world with their skills.Though they acted as part of the Soviet circus, but always under the flag of Turkmenistan.

Often after the performances, renowned politicians, stars of the world stage and cinema came to Turkmen horsemen to express their admiration with the art of the to the riders.

In 2010, the grand opening of the reconstructed building of the State Circus took place.All services - circus arena, spectator seats, equipment under the dome, animal cages and auxiliary facilities have been completely renovated.

The auditorium also expanded, which can accommodate 1,700 spectators.Today, the circus art in Turkmenistan is experiencing a new birth.This is evidenced by the successes of Turkmen artists in the arena of their circus, as well as on the arenas of other countries.

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