[ ** SEE PHOTOS FROM A RECENT PERFORMANCE **]
Trained and produced by veterans of the world famous Moscow Circus, the Russian American Kids Circus on Stage transforms professional performing skills into spectacular shows on theatrical stages worldwide.
Stealing the show, at the tender age of 5, is Richard Bernard Berenchtein. But this charming tot just old enough for kindergarten already performs with ease, quickly winning over audiences filled with children barely older than himself. He's been part of the family business since birth, growing up in the circus spotlight.
It all began in 1994 when Alex Berenchtein, a former star of the Moscow Circus and his wife, Regina, and mother-in-law, Olga Partigul, opened the nonprofit academy, "The New Way Circus Center, Inc." in Brooklyn , New York welcoming children of all ages, nationalities, languages, ethnic backgrounds, and races. Students quickly developed a means of artistic self-expression through the performing skills learned through the circus curriculum. Children loved it and learned teamwork, developed self-confidence, gained greater self-esteem, and developed physically in a supportive educational environment.
The program's discipline encouraged greater achievement in other life skill areas and nurtured professional and personal development. The advanced students who mastered the basic skills formed the performing troupe that came to be known as The Russian American Kids Circus on Stage.
So are the circus skills as easy as the young performers make them look? Audience members invited onstage to give it a try will likely say no. But Alex Berenchtein reminds them, the kids in the troupe are no different from everyone else, they've just put in the hours of dedication and practice -- often four hours a day.
The group has performed 2,000 shows in 37 states, Canada & British Virgin Islands. Their travels have taken them to some of the nation's most prestigious stages, including Walt Disney World. This summer, the troupe is making a repeat performance at Moody Gardens in Galveston. The Russian American Kids Circus runs daily through August 23, 2008. There will be a 50-minute afternoon children's matinee show at 1pm and a 90-minute evening show at 7pm. Visit Moody Gardens' website for more information, and to purchase tickets online.