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The high wire act is also a ringling mainstay and an

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Unformatted text preview: UC7. The high-wire act is also a Ringling mainstay — and an act that can result in senous injury. Russian husband and wife team Alexandre “Sash? Mednikov and Fatima Gadjkourba nova, along with their colleague lgor Arefiev. perform a spine-tingling series of stunts, including one in which Igor carries the two-person col umn of Faunia and [gor on his shoul ders until a blindfolded Sasha stands on the wire and launches into a back ward somersauLt. The act’s inherent hazardousness is best illustrated by an incident that occurred in 1983 during a cerformance in Kazak’nstan while the’, Were zertorrmng with a Russian arr,us. A bok broke off from the high wire apparatus. sending Sasha plum meting to the ground, fracturing his pelvis. Although doctors predicted the injury would end his career. Sasha fought back to full recovery, and six months later was once again on the wire. Ringling also features: trapeze acts by the Flying Vargas and the Flying Alvarez family troupes who have per fected their art over generations: The Boulibekov Riders, master horseriders from Kazakhstan; and an assortment of gymnasts and dancers. Each per forinance requires expert training and precise timing. For example. in one act Orinbasar Kurmanbaev of The Boulibekov Riders climbs off the horses saddle and slides under its belly, then crawls back onto the mount from the other side — all while the horse is in lull gallop. A truly perilous feat, and in 20 years. Mr. Kurmanbaev has never fallen. Animal acts, of course, are an inte gral part of The Greatest Show on Earth.” But when human perfonners mingle with animals such as cle phants. tigers and lions, danger lurks at every corner. Current Ringling ani - 0 maL acts include the lion and elephant shows of Graham Thomas Chipperfield. Born into a family that owns the oldest circu in Britain, Mr. Chipperfield’s lion act involves a number of perilous feats, including crouching in the lion cage as a 350pound lioness Leaps over him. Mr. Chipperuields elephant acts also involve several riveting tricks, but per haps none more exciting than the Terrifying Teeterboard Takeoff, in which one elephant strikes the teeterboard w...
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