By Dominique Jando
Ricardo Sosa was born in Havana, Cuba, on September 30, 1965. The son of a singer, Ricardo began studying ballet when he was six years old; at seventeen, he enrolled in the Yuri Mandich Circus School in Havana, the national, Russian-style state circus school. There, he was trained as a professional circus performer for four years, graduating in 1986 with a remarkable hand-balancing and contortion act.
Three years into his professional career, Ricardo returned to his alma mater and became a circus teacher. He was particularly successful in this occupation, and received a special award from the Cuban Government after his students began winning national circus competitions. He also continued to perform, appearing at the Tropicana in Havana, and touring with Cuban circus companies in South America.
In 1994, while performing in Colombia at Circo Egred Hermanos, Ricardo and other performers in the Cuban troupe defected. It was a huge scandal back in Havana: Never before such an important group of performers had defected together. For Ricardo Sosa, it was the beginning of a new career. From 1994 to 1998, he toured South and Central America with Circo Suarez, and went to perform in Mexico City with Circo Union. There he was spotted by a casting agent for Carson & Barnes Circus and was offered his first U.S. circus contract in 1999.
Ricardo has since settled in the United States, where he has worked extensively in nightclubs, casinos, and circuses, including Circus Circus and the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada; Teatro ZinZanni in Seattle, Washington, and San Francisco, California; Universoul Circus; and Circus Sarasota. He has also embarked onto an international career, appearing with Circo Moira Orfei in Italy, and numerous variety shows in Germany, notably with GOP Varieté and Palazzo. Now a U.S. citizen, Ricardo Sosa lives in Miami, Florida.
- Video: Ricardo Sosa, hand-balancer, at Palazzo in Hamburg, Germany (2006)