Bears on tightropes a big draw in Russian circus - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Circus features four-legged acrobats on high wire

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The head of this circus said he saw no distinction between the ability of the bears and the ability of humans. (Source: RTV/CBS) The head of this circus said he saw no distinction between the ability of the bears and the ability of humans. (Source: RTV/CBS)

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (RTV/CBS) – Five members of a circus group have gotten a lot of attention because what they do is literally unhuman.

The "Mamba-Karamba" features a nautical-themed, high-wire performance that includes five brown bears trained to perform on tightropes.

Troupe leader Alexander Ivanov said his bears were unique in their ability.

"I don't make a delineation between bears and performers," Ivanov said. "There's just one team, as you see at the performance. We have sailors, bear sailors wearing sailor shirts and pants, and people acting as sailors, and we have an adventure of our own. We go sailing on the sea. And there are lots of adventurous things happening in the ring when we are performing."

Ivanov inherited the idea of bear rope walkers and the troupe from his father Mikhail, a renowned star during the era of the Soviet Union.

At rehearsals, the bears and their human colleagues work on routines, polishing their performance for the big night.

Tightrope walker Yevgenia Nuyanzina said she enjoyed working with the bears. Some of them actually learned to tightrope walk quickly.

"It depends on the rehearsal process," Nuyanzina said. "Some people, in fact, learn quickly. And it's the same with bears. We have some who learn quickly to walk on the tightrope. It depends on the people, I think."

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