Circus family reopens Moscow’s unique cat theater



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Sunday 2 June 2013

Last update 2 June 2013 5:45 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Up on a brightly lit Moscow stage a clown loudly welcomes the stars of today’s show — 20 highly trained cats.
Packing out the auditorium with excited children and adults, the feline performers are the main attraction at the world-famous and unique cat theater.
Founded just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the theater — run jointly by its founder, circus clown Yuri Kuklachev, and his sons Dmitry and Vladimir — has recently reopened after a major renovation.
From the very first moments in the venue — even before the show begins — visitors are plunged into the feline kingdom’s unique atmosphere: some cats watch spectators’ arrival from behind a glass wall while others are already darting about the stage.
When a bell rings for the beginning of the show and the curtain opens, the audience explodes with applause: on stage, a cat balances on a wheel spun by a clown as a furry co-star skateboards on its hind legs.
Then a conjuring number follows and a cat appears to bang a drum as a dove emerges from under a cloth in a clown’s hand.
Other numbers — less acrobatic but equally difficult — also show that training the cats must require well-honed skills.
“With cats, each show is an improvization,” Yuri Kuklachev’s younger son, Vladimir, told AFP.
“Cats often behave instinctively and one should always be behind them as they just do what they want.”
“Some cats enjoy the stage, they love it when we watch them attentively, while others do not like noise or lights and sit motionless,” he added.
The 30-year-old former ballet dancer said it took him a year to get used to training cats.
“With dogs it is easier, we show them what to do once, and that is it.”
His father Yuri, a legendary Soviet-era clown, started training cats to stand out from the competition and established the theater in 1990 on Moscow’s central Kutuzov Avenue.
Every show involves around 20 cats and the theater has 100 in total.
Before the theater reopened, animal rights groups called for its shows be banned, saying that the animals suffered abuse from trainers.
But Vladimir Kuklachev dismissed the criticism, arguing that recent inspections found no violations in his theater.
One of the young children watching the show, Daria Kalinovich, said she was thrilled by cats’ talents.
“I loved so much seeing the cats jumping up and down, running after a ball and juggling,” she said.
The theater’s shows — “The Cat Thief,” “The Puss in Boots,” “The Nutcracker and the King of Rats,” and even “Swan Lake” — run throughout the year, with teams of feline performers led alternately by Kuklachev-senior and his two sons.

Besides Russia, the theater has toured France, Canada, Japan, the United States and China.
It is not the only unusual animal theater in Moscow.
The Durov animal theater founded in 1912 has performers including a raccoon, ravens and mice who run a miniature railway.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al Hamzi, director general of prisons, has sacked Brig. Ahmad Al Shahrani, director of Jeddah prisons, after the case of a video clip about prisoners taking heroin went viral, according to local media.Quoting informed source...
RIYADH: Plans are underway to shift the labor dispute commission in the Ministry of Labor to the Ministry of Justice. Related discussions were held here Thursday between Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani and Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani.The disc...
JEDDAH: Drifting has taken a heavy toll of young men who spent their time and energy in the pursuit of this dangerous game for lack of family awareness and guidance.Observers said that the last decade witnessed a dramatic increase in traffic accident...
RIYADH: A mass brawl between migrant workers at a company along Al-Thumama Road broke out in Riyadh on Thursday, causing the death of one worker and the burning of two police vehicles.A Riyadh police source said authorities received a report on Thurs...
JEDDAH: Thousands of expatriates living in Jeddah, who are non-Arabic speakers, were excited about the monthlong 36th Jeddah Festival.The Jeddah and summer festivals this year had a number of theatrical events, entertainment programs, fireworks, arti...
MADINAH: In a tragic Madinah incident, two children died and a woman was injured in a fire which broke out in a house.Capt. Naif bin Mohammad Al-Juhani, spokesman for Civil Defense, said the control room received information about the fire incident i...
JEDDAH: Saudi Aramco said it has financed building 63,000 houses for Saudis through the citizen house owning program implemented by the company. The company said it has granted 1,037 loans to Saudis to build new houses in 2014, stressing that this pr...
RIYADH: A special team of officials from the Ministry of Health, led by Deputy Minister Hamad Aldhwilaa, visited hospitals in the southern border area to ensure that services are available to serve patients in the Asir, Jazan and Najran regions.On ar...
DAMMAM: On April 30 1935, drilling started on test well No. 1 in Dammam. After seven months, only gas was found with traces of oil at a depth of 700 meters. So it had to be plugged. Drilling began on Dammam well No. 2 on Feb. 8, 1936, and started pro...
JEDDAH: A team of doctors at King Abdul Aziz Hospital carried out emergency life-saving surgery on a Kazakh pilgrim who was suffering from a rare disease, on the night of Eid Al-Fitr, according to a website.The 17-year-old Kazakh pilgrim was brought...
JEDDAH: Members of sector committees affiliated with the Council of Saudi Chambers have tried to reach a settlement with the Ministry of Labor that would allow laborers to work on their projects during the day.The attempt was made based on an agreeme...
JEDDAH: The increase in school fees has caused parents to remove their children from private schools and enroll them in public schools in Madinah.With the approaching new school year, many parents were surprised to find that school fees were increase...
RIYADH: The size of the tourism industry has crossed the SR100-million mark with around 130 organizations in the field and the revenues generated through festivals are approximately SR11 billion annually, experts have said. The figures have been prov...
JEDDAH: A total of 105 pay-and-park areas have been opened in the city, including Jeddah historical district, downtown market place, Bab Makkah, Al Andalus Street and Palestine Street.Hani Ahmad Abdullah, media spokesperson for Jeddah Municipality, s...
RIYADH: Moroccan Ambassador Abdussalam Baraka has praised “excellent” trade and bilateral relations between his country and Saudi Arabia and expected the ties to grow further.Speaking on the occasion of Morocco’s National Day on Thursday night, the e...

Stay Connected

Facebook