Photo credit: iStockphoto\Thinkstock
By Kim Palchikoff
Sept 3, 2013
WASHINGTON (VOR)— While some may think that Moscow and Las Vegas have little in common, these days the two cities are united in a surprising way: under the big top.
Since 1991 thousands of Eastern European circus performers, including many Muscovites, have flocked to work on the famed Las Vegas Strip. The migration hasn't been without its dark side
Once known for its famous can-can dancers, now the Strip is better known for more than ten multi-million dollar circus shows.
Many say the joint relationship between Russian circus performers and the desert city's entertainment world is a win-win situation.
Thanks to the high level talent of the Tsirkatchie, or Russian circus performers, the famed tourist city has become the circus capital of the world.
The booming circus industry has changed Vegas from a den of striptease acts into a more family-oriented city.
Often the low cost of Russian labor is cited as a reason for its successful transformation.
For their part, the Russian acrobats, jugglers and other circus performers have migrated to the city's gigantic casinos because that's where the work is.
Some are highly successful.
Anatolii Miagkostoupov is an internationally accaimed juggler who now owns his own circus business, called the "Aces of Acts." "Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world. That's why I'm here. I performed in 12 different shows in Las Vegas. If you’re doing your own act, performing your solo act which is your signature act, for the United States to make $2500 a week it’s ok."
In the early 1990's there were more than 10,000 government circus performers in the former Soviet Union.
Salaries were very low and unemployment was rampant.
It was not uncommon for highly talented traveling artists in the Russian capital to receive a couple hundred roubles a month, about one hundred dollars.
So many turned to Vegas in search of the American Dream.
Read more: http://voicerussia.com/2013_09_03/Russian-circus-performers-transforming-Las-Vegas-6564/