Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Dmitry Dolgikh and Nadia Tarasova are parents of a son, Sasha, as well as aerialists in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Tarasova says their life is not that different than the lives of other working families.
Nicole Villalpando, Raising Austin
Friday, July 27, 2012
For mother Nadia Tarasova, life is a circus.
She and her husband, Dmitry Dolgikh, are performers in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's show "Fully Charged," which is coming to Austin Aug. 22-26. Their son, 6-year-old Sasha, has been calling the circus train home almost since he was born.
Tarasova is an aerialist and an elephant rider. Dolgikh is a fellow aerialist, and every night they hang on to one another and a strap that supports them.
They practiced their act for a year and a half before it was ready for the big top. She says she trusts him to hold her, not because he's her husband, but because he's a great gymnast and partner.
"He keeps me up in the air," she says. "I have to trust that I'm not going to fall down."
Tarasova has been living the circus life since 1999, when she left Russia, where she was a gymnast. Her husband, also a Russian gymnast, joined the circus four years earlier, and they met at work.
For Tarasova, life in the circus and as a mom feels normal. "I've never been a mom off-road," she says. "You get used to the environment you live in."
Their only home is the train. The size of a circus employee's compartment depends on what they do. Clowns, she says, as well as some of the younger performers have small compartments. Because Dolgikh also works as the stage manager for rigging and Tarasova works behind the scenes as well as performs, they have a larger train compartment in a household train car. They have a bathroom with a shower, a sleeping area and a kitchen, where she does a lot of the cooking, even though they have "pie cars," or dining cars, on the train.