Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
A line of eager children wait their turn to learn a few circus tricks that have just been performed to perfection by Alex Bistrevsky, a man in a spotted vest who spends half his performances teaching people how to do what a circus artist like him.
Today, you might catch Bistrevsky, who travels around the country with the Stilt Circus company, driving through the New Mexico State Fair with his cart, teaching circus skills such as stilt walking and juggling. as part of its interactive circus station.
Bistrevsky has been a circus performer for about 11 years now. He began performing alongside his brother Dmitrious Bistrevsky, and as they deepened their craft, they became regular performers with the Stilt Circus company.
When he was working as a stilt walker, the number one question people asked him was, “How do you learn that?”
So, about six years ago, he had an idea: to teach circus skills from a mobile cart.
Mastering that kind of stuff takes a lot of practice, says Bistrevsky. When he was first training to become a performer alongside his brother, they practiced six to nine hours a day for three years while trying not to burn themselves out. He was 21, had no circus experience and had to learn all the skills on his own.
“I used to cry. We were in Los Angeles, we were broke and my brother said, “If you don’t juggle, we don’t eat. said Bistrevsky. “So it was like, ‘Okay, it’s time
Bistrevsky said he learned to work with children by watching his older brother coach gymnastics. He also worked in an orphanage at the time. All of this has helped him become more patient, which he says is essential in his job.
“Patience is the first skill I had to learn because I fail 1,000 times before I get a round,” he said.
Bistrevsky moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting, so he studied writing and film in college. A lady once gave him and his brother a circus school card in a cafe, telling them they would be perfect for it. They initially fired her, but weeks later her brother received another card for the same circus school. He decided it was a sign that they should try it.
They were so broke at the time that they had to become school janitors to pay for the training.
“That’s how I paid my bills. I trained there three to four days a week, and I was a janitor there, so seven days a week at the circus, I cleaned the floors to pay for our training. said Bistrevsky.
The 32-year-old circus performer said that even at his age he still finds joy in performing and loves helping others find that too. He said he likes to give people the comfort of knowing they can still learn something – he once taught someone with no experience how to juggle in just seven minutes.
“It’s almost childish. It’s like you release the inner child and the wonder comes back,” Bistrevsky said. “And we all still have that.”
Bistrevsky said he and his brother Dmitrious used to perform together all the time, but had been doing separate things for four years. His brother recently worked as a Darth Vader lookalike in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+. They still get to do a show together once a year, and when they do, it’s magical.
“What I love the most, what I hope people take away from the show, is knowing that you can take something ordinary and make it extraordinary,” Bistrevsky said. “The sticks are ordinary. Hats are ordinary. They’re not special, you know? Taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary is one of my tricks.