Yelena Larkina

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A former rhythmic gymnast of the Soviet Gymnastics Team and Silver Medalist at the 1985 USSR championships, Yelena (or Elena) Larkina joined Moscow’s State College of Circus and Variety Arts (a.k.a. the Moscow Circus School) in 1987, where the famous Russian act director Valentin Gneushev noticed her.

Gneushev teamed Yelena Larkina as the dancer-assistant of the famous juggler on rolling globe, Yury Borzykin, with whom she performed on Broadway, at the Gershwin Theater, in Steve Leber’s production of Cirk Valentin in 1991. In that same show, Yelena also performed an earlier version of her hula-hoop act.

Back to Moscow, Valentin Gneushev helped Yelena create a unique hula-hoop act, built on a sensuous choreography to a Mid-Eastern music. This act, in which the choreography and presentation have as much importance as a remarkable technique, was a total novelty and an immediate sensation—not least for the fact that Yelena originally performed it topless, with a light veil teasingly moving in front or her bare breasts.

Yelena Larkina's act won a Bronze Medal at Paris’ Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in 1994—quite an exceptional feat considering the extremely high acrobatic level of the competition, which doesn’t favor such specialties as hula-hoops.

Yelena Larkina has since been featured in some of the world’s major circuses and variety shows, including Frankfurt’s TigerPalast, Düsseldorf’s Apollo Varieté, Berlin’s WinterGarten, and Circus Krone in Germany; Circus Knie and Circus Conelli in Switzerland; Circus Benneweis in Denmark; and the Big Apple Circus in the United States, among many others.

Yelena Larkina is married to juggling legend Kris Kremo.

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