On the day the Moscow Circus got to town, I got a phone call. It was Victor Pilipovich telling me that he wanted to get together. What a surprise! I went straight away to his hotel to meet him and Anatoly Miagkostupov, his partner.
I took along my 20-volume collection of juggling photos, and Victor kept them during his stay in San Diego to look through. They invited us to a show, and there was a good turnout that night.
I went backstage to watch their impressive warmup. These guys don't start with three clubs, they go right to six each, with complete control! Some of the tricks I saw them do in practice were front steals of six clubs, no-spin juggling of four clubs, and a kickup into a six club multiplex juggle. Together they did side-by-side steals of five clubs, and a steal coming up from between the legs. While one stands in front of the other, one man does five club back crosses, which are caught in front by the other juggler, who goes straight into five club back crosses himself! They did four clubs over the head and lying down, and a head balance with one club while doing chin rolls with three others.
After being totally impressed with the warmup, I was ready for the act. Entering in red, white and blue outfits, they did a dance routine that included a back flip. Then it was three clubs each in perfect sync to each other and the music - off the forehead, kickups, Albert throws and Trebla throws. They then did six clubs each, with Victor kicking up six to Anatoly to begin his juggle. Then with five clubs they did front steals, side steals and drop backs. They each juggled five while running around the ring before going into synchronized back crosses. To conclude, they did passed ten clubs between themselves practically all the way across the ring. The finish had one man catching all ten!
Over the next few days we talked a number of times. Victor is 30 years old and Anatoly is 32. They met in the Moscow Circus School 15 years ago, and now travel with their wives and children.
I was very impressed by these two jugglers. If you ever get the chance to see their show, take the time to go backstage and meet them, too.
Kit Summers is author of "Juggling With Finesse."