By Dominique Jando
Kirilas Vorona and his partners, Maxim Guezov, Viktor Morozov, and Mikhail Skamorokhov, were Russian-born, and all of them held a Russian Masters in Sports-Gymnastics. They all distinguished themselves in international gymnastics competitions.
In 1996, they met at Moscow's Circus Nikulin (the "Old Circus" on Tsvetnoi Boulevard) to create an original flying actAny aerial act in which an acrobat is propelled in the air from one point to another. under the guidance of the celebrated act director, Valentin Gneushev. In a matter of months, the Jokers were born and became an instant sensation.
Their classic flying trapezeAerial act in which an acrobat is propelled from a trapeze to a catcher, or to another trapeze. (See also: Short-distance Flying Trapeze) act did not only display remarkable style and skills, including a front somersault under the bar (Maxim Guezov) and a triple somersault (Mikhail Skamorokhov), it was also choreographed in every minute detail, including the pauses on the platform, and was humorous and light-hearted—and in that, departed from the balletic classicism usually seen in flying acts.
The Jokers worked on "French," or "long," distances, more spectacular (and more difficult) than the relatively short distances commonly used by North and South American flyers. They made their debut at the Circus of Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, in July 1996. They were subsequently featured at Circus Nikulin in Moscow, then in Europe at Circus Krone in Munich. They went to the United States in 1999, where they made their American debut in the Big Apple Circus production of Bello & Friends.
The Jokers were also featured at Circus Circus in Reno, Nevada, before returning to the Big Apple Circus in 2000-2001. Unfortunately, the act was disbanded after that engagement. Kirilas Vorona remained in the United States, and became a circus teacher.
- Video: The Jokers, Flying Trapeze, in the Big Apple Circus production of Bello & Friends (1999)