Mayya Panfilova

From Circopedia

Cat Trainer

By Dominique Jando

Mayya Panfilova
Russian-born Mayya Panfilova began her career as a dancer in her native Orenburg—a city located on the Ural River in the South of Russia, close to the Kazakhstan border. At home, Mayya surrounded herself with pets, cats in particular, dreaming that, some day, she could work with them on stage. So she patiently began to train her cats until she was able to create an act for them. She and her cats made their professional debuts in 2001 in an edition of the Moscow Circus On Ice.

Mayya's act became quite successful in Russia, where she toured extensively, as well as in Europe and in Asia with various Russian circus shows. She came to the United States in 2005, where she eventually settled. Over the years, she has been featured with Cole Bros. Circus, Royal Hanneford Circus, and with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. She has also appeared at the Grand Country Music-Hall in Branson, Missouri, among many other venues, and on television on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Mayya is married to Andriy Bilobrov, a musician and arranger with whom she worked during her Russian tours. Andriy has become himself an animal trainer, and together, they have constantly renewed their cat acts and have also created a dog act with animals rescued from shelters.

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