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Cirque's Russian connection

Wherever there's a circus, there are Russians. In what promises to be an ongoing blog exploring Russia's connection to the circus, one observer ponders the many Easterners who flip, bounce and dance for Cirque du Soleil:

How Russians got to Vegas and why they stay there is a long story that has more to do with markets than walking a tightrope. Still, among the immigrants, among those who have found employment in Vegas, there is a world full of stories, a lot of emotion, and plenty of things to discuss. What is art? What has happened to the classical circus? How have the Russian performers elevated the talent pool in a city known more for “t and a” than for beauty flying through the air. The immigration of Russian performers to the west and what they think of Cirque du Soleil - which is not much - is in part the story of East meets West. In Vegas, as in other parts of the western world, circus is about profit. Period. Back in the Motherland, it's about art. As one circus engineer said, "Art was never meant to make money." What is the performing art of circus and why are the Russians obsess with it?

As a longtime journalist in Southern Nevada, native Las Vegan Andrew Kiraly has served as a reporter covering topics as diverse as health, sports, politics, the gaming industry and conservation. He joined Desert Companion in 2010, where he has helped steward the magazine to become a vibrant monthly publication that has won numerous honors for its journalism, photography and design, including several Maggie Awards.