By Dominique Jando
The monkey act presented by Natalia Yakubova, and subsequently by her son, Vildan, was originally created by her husband, Farid Yakubov. Born in 1952, Yakubov joined the State College for Circus and Variety Arts in Moscow, where he graduated in 1970 as an acrobat on perch pole. Four years later, he became a member of the trampoline act of Yury Popov. Acrobatics, however, were not his true calling: In 1977, he became assistant of Tamara Sharitova, a famous monkey trainer who worked with baboons.
This was something more in line with Farid’s interests, and in 1978, he decided to further his education in animal training under Yury Durov, of the celebrated dynasty of animal trainers. Yakubov worked with Durov until the early 1980s, and then created his own trained baboon act. His wife, Natalia Yakubova worked with him until 1987, when she took over the act.
In 1995, Natalia’s son Vildan (born in 1983) joined the act, to which he added a spectacular display of djigit trickAny specific exercise in a circus act.-riding with monkeys riding ponies. Later on, Vildan succeeded his mother, and made the act his.
- Video: Natalia & Vildan Yakubovi, Trained Baboons, at the International Festival of Circus Arts in Moscow (2005)
- Video: Vildan Yakubov, monkey act, at the Bolshoi Circus in Moscow (2015)