The future of the Russian circus is uncertain. In his photos, Austrian photographer Reiner Riedlercaptured the charm and the mundane of the life of these circus people, who train hard and hope for a better future. Like a Bear on a Wire – Russian Circus Today series is the result of several extended trips.
The golden days of the Russian circus began to fade after the fall of the Soviet Union. In the past, the state circus, Sojusgoszirk, used to be an object of pride and it was generously financed by the state. Now it is hardly able to feed its animals. Many good artists left for the top circuses in the West. And many of the school children who used to be highly trained in Moscow, now dream of a career abroad.
The prestige of Sojusgoszirk has also been highly damaged by the disappointing third-class programs of other circuses who used its name to attract the public. Nowadays, new directors try to rehabilitate its name and try to bring back home the elite. But there is a long road ahead.