Elena Drogaleva

From Circopedia

(Redirected from Elena and Her Gentlemen)


By Dominique Jando

Born in Moscow, Russia, Elena Drogaleva enrolled in the State College for Circus and Variety Arts (the famous "Moscow Circus School") in 1980. There she specialized as a juggler, and graduated in 1987 as part of an original group-juggling act, Carnaval, built under the tutelage of Tamara Babayan. The group was composed of Valdis Yanovskis, Andrey Ivanko, Kyril Balan, and Alek Novosolov.

Carnaval lasted ten years; Elena and her partners worked extensively in the Soviet Union, performing abroad for the first time in 1991-92 in Japan, in Bunishiro Matsumoto’s Musical Circus, a short-lived show conceived by Valentin Gneushev and directed by Tandy Beal. By then, the old USSR was falling apart. In 1992, Carnaval won a bronze medal at the All-Union Circus Competition—the old USSR’s ultimate circus competition. But in the turmoil of the post-Soviet era, it was not easy to keep a group act together. Eventually, after several changes of partners, Elena decided in 1999 to pursue a solo career.

Unfortunately, her new solo career didn’t last long: Victim of an accident, Elena stopped performing for a couple of years. When back in shape, she joined the Circus Nikulin company and decided to re-create her group-juggling act; the situation in Russia had stabilized then, and it had become easier to get regular contracts while staying under the protection of a Russian circus company. The year was 2002.

Her new act, variously called the Drogaleva Troupe, or Elena & Her Gentlemen, was back at the top of the bill; Elena and her partners performed it at the Fővárosi Nagycirkusz in Budapest, and in Austria, Germany, Italy, and France—where they once performed for the French Prime Minister. In 2005-2006, they were featured in the Big Apple Circus production of Grandma Goes To Hollywood for their first U.S. engagement; the troupe included then Aleksandr Smirnov, Dmitry Salov, and Irek Tasiev. In 2010-2011, they were the star attraction(Russian) A circus act that can occupy up to the entire second half of a circus performance. of the Cirque d’Hiver-Bouglione production of Prestige in Paris.

See Also