Little stars

Tatiana Ilina

2011 - 2012

The story about lilliput astists who travel around Russia with their program.

The lilliputs' circus "The shining of little stars" is very popular.

They are traveling along Russia practically without any rest but haven't preformed in Moscow yet.I decided to go with them to understand them. Their world has deeply impressed me and stayed in my soul forever.

My trip started in Ivanovo. The posters were placed all over the town and many inhabitants were surprised and sincerely confessed that they have never seen anything like this.

The hall was full nearly during all days while the little stars performed in Ivanovo circus. Many people came to the performance for a few times and took more and more people with them. It is not surprising - the "Little stars" worked hard, they were attentive to smallest details, rehearsed till late at night, started getting dressed and putting make up in a day before the performance and hardly managed to be in time to its beginning.

It seemed that the nervous tension was hanging in the air and struck with current everybody who was near and dared to breathe the same air at the same moment. Still, the rare moments which I could make photos of before, transferred all tension, importance, cementation and many other emotions felt by little stars who couldn't and didn't want to hide them. They managed to sleep only for a few hours.

The circus h otels where they stayed are a separate story. You can hardly see rooms of this kind - entirely full of USSR spirit, not only spirit but the smallest details - from wallpaper of this time collected on one wall, with stickled paper of a slightly surprised face in kerchief - cut from the wrap of Alenka chocolate bar.

Large wardrobes in the rooms served as storages for many flower bunches that filled the rooms after each performance. The hotel staff has carefully decorated the wardrobes with posters from old teenage magazines - with Ivanushki International and Ruki Vverkh on the peak of their musical career - for the form and color of wardrobes not to look like coffins.

The other environment also announced itself very vividly – beds with iron backs and differently shaped legs, large lamps that produced strange sounds together with the floor that peeled somewhere where it was not nailed. All this environment contracted with the appearance of the little stars, with their perfect practically art make-up and original suits which were mostly made by their own hands. Only real stars can shine in any environment. So shone the little stars preparing for numerous performances and seeing nothing around.

Their team was even more than a family, a kind of organism. They felt and understood each other without words and read the thoughts of each other at a distance. They had their own ideas, performances, but it all disclosed and started working when the efforts of everybody were united into one performance.

I spent all my time with them – in hotels, at rehearsals. I tried to get into their world, it attracted and enchanted me stronger and stronger every day.

I had some peculiar friendship with cat trainer Olga Suslova. She invited me to her room and introduced me to one of her pets who didn’t take his eyes from pieces of raw meat that she was cooking for the next performance.

I was impressed by what I saw. Olga – so small, so fragile with beautiful face was holding a large knife and cut a kilo of fresh meat so fast, so artfully. She told me that work was all her life. She is married, her husband has the same lifestyle. He also works in circus, but in Chinese one. They haven’t had the opportunity to see each other for a long time because of a lot of work and they are waiting for the day they can be together at last.

Still, not all the couples have such difficult circumstances. Many of them met and got married in circus and live wonderfully and work for many years.

For example, Svetlana Pavlova who performs with hoops has a grown-up son who goes on tours with her and studies circus skills like she did when she was traveling with her father. Her father works with her and he helps her to prepare for the performance.

It so happens that nearly all the life of little stars is in tours, their nights are in hotels and days – in numerous rehearsals and performances. They have created their own world where they have found themselves, where they are little stars. They are very happy little stars because they can shine for the others.

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