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Louis Soulier and the circus art of the Far East

Louis Soulier and the circus art of the Far East

Grigory Ostrovsky, Advisor to the General Director of Rosgoscirk, Deputy Chairman of the Union of Circus Workers of Russia:

- Residents of the Russian Empire living in the Far East, got acquainted with the circus art in the form in which it is customary for our contemporaries, at the end of 1854 or at the beginning of 1855. Thanks to the great French impresario and adventurer Louis Soulier. Circus artist Soulieu was born in 1813 year, the fame came to him quite early, when he mastered the complex equestrian number "Tatar leap". Having achieved fame and married the widow of the Viennese circus Christopher de Bach, the charming Laure de Bach, the young Louis automatically received the post of director of the Viennese Gymnastics Circus. Very quickly realizing that sitting in one place, you can not earn much, Louis began organizing tours of his circus to other states. Having traveled with a huge number of countries and finally got to Russia, Soulier appreciated and fell in love with her for unlimited tours. He willingly successfully presented his great circus troupe in many Russian cities.

In 1854, as historians of the circus claim, Louis Soulier went on tour to Japan. Traveled through all of Russia, stopping briefly in different cities. For the commercial well-being of the planned project, he also successfully presented his troupe. As the historians of circus art suggest, the last point where before the sailing to Japan was performed by artists of the Soulier troupe was a small small settlement - the future Vladivostok (from "owning the East"). Almost a year later, Louis Soulier with his circus troupe returned from Japan also through Russia. During the tour in Japan, the troupe's staff increased slightly, Japanese acrobats, jugglers and magicians appeared in it. There is every reason to believe that the Soulier troupe, returning from Japan, again spoke to the residents of Vladivostok and was given the opportunity to show them the skills of Japanese artists. After the tour of the team of Louis Soulier in the Russian Far East, the circus did not tour for a long time. It is known only that in 1885 on Svetlanskaya street in the Club ravine (now this territory belongs to the Sailor Club), the artist and impresario Lamberger built a temporary circus building, with the appearance of which foreign and domestic circus troupes became frequent guests of Vladivostok.

In the early 1960-ies. The Soviet circus discovered a new "historical epoch": the Iron Curtain, which separated the USSR from the rest of the world for many years, was opened, and tours, primarily ballet and circus, began in foreign countries. In this regard, the Vladivostok Circus acquired (unexpectedly even for itself) a special status, as the programs that went on tour to Japan, and there were a lot of such programs at that time, were supposed to "tar down" before the tour, and after the tour "to be cleared". There was a need for warehouses for props, there were also spaces for cages with animals and the issue of building a spacious hotel for long-term residence of circus performers and staff was acute. Temporary circus tents could not provide all this: their work in the difficult climatic conditions of Primorye was limited to only three or four months a year, therefore, the maintenance of circus tents was economically absolutely unprofitable. Circumstances dictated the need to build a circus with all auxiliary facilities, and 31 December 1973 Vladivostok taught a welcome gift - a modern building of a stationary circus.

The project manager was a well-known architect and a great specialist in the construction of theater and circus buildings Salomeya Maksimovna Gelfer, an architect who, in the twentieth century, built a good half of the circuses in our country. In the drafting of the circus project, two more specialists from Giproteatra participated: architect Georgy Vasilyevich Nepreienko and chief designer Vladimir Shemyakin. The building was built to the highest operational requirements of those years, the hall was so universal that it was possible to hold not only circus performances but also concert performances in the circus without any artistic damage to the performed numbers, and also to show the cinema. Therefore, the hall, originally designed for 2400 seats, was additionally equipped with a modern cinema installation, which allowed to display any movies, up to widescreen. The first director of the circus was appointed Anatoly Mikhailovich Burenko, who more than 20 years worked with faith and truth in this post.

The building of the Vladivostok circus served the city for over forty years without major repairs. Several generations of spectators visited it at various performances and performances, but time is ruthless. Today, unfortunately, we have to admit that the circus building is dilapidated and does not meet modern requirements either in terms of equipment or safety. In this regard, the governor of the region, Vladimir Miklushevsky, turned to the government of the Russian Federation with a request to transfer the circus to the Primorsky Territory on lease for five years. “According to the agreement, Vladivostok will repair the circus in three years, and over the next two years we will be showing our programs there,” said Vadim Gagloyev, head of Rosgoscirk. "After five years, the lease will not be extended." During the first three years, it is planned to carry out all preparatory studies and design studies, after which all communications, electricity, water supply and sewerage will be completely changed, as well as completely and completely all light and sound equipment will be replaced. It is also planned to change windows, doors, floors, seats in the auditorium, etc. in the building. At the same time, it is planned to reduce the number of seats in the hall to 2000 based on the fact that there will be fewer spectators in the hall, but they will become more comfortable than before. It should be emphasized that the theme of spectator comfort in the development of the project for the reconstruction of the Vladivostok circus is a priority. In this regard, it is planned to place several spectator buffets in the circus, and to build a multi-level car parking for 500 places near the circus building, to set up a park with landscape and architectural lighting and a fountain. At the same time, the designers of the new circus took care not only of the convenience of the audience, but also of the artists and their pets. In the backstage part of the circus, it is planned to build a rehearsal arena and training halls, new enclosures and stables will be built for animals, and a new hotel building will be erected near the circus, designed to accommodate 200 people at a time.

According to the vice-governor of the Primorsky Territory Irina Vasilkova, the construction of the Vladivostok Circus will begin in 2015 year. Consequently, future viewers have to wait relatively briefly, when the revamped circus opens its doors before them. Then we will be able to understand how the projects and reality coincide, but for now we all need to have patience and wait, hoping that the builders will settle on time and give the city a new building for the ever young art of the circus.

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