Veronika Teslenko is an amazing aerial artist and straps contortionist. She has been performing and touring throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas.
2 Gold Prizes Circus Idol World Competition Moscow, Russia
Gold Prize Contortion Act Paris, France
Gold Prize in Inskadey Circus Holland
Silver in Monaco Monte Carlo
Silver Prize Nikulin Circus Festival Moscow
Silver Prize Bolshoi Circus Moscow
1. Veronika, could you please tell me about yourself?
Did you grow up in a circus family? How was your story of becoming an aerialist and contortion artist? What was your biggest challenge and how you overcame it?
I was born in a small town Korkino in the Urals. In 1992 I began to go to a circus school “Arabesque” named after L. B. Glebecz. During that time I already performed and couldn’t imagine my life without circus. In the beginning it was not so easy and as I wasn´t flexible enough and I had to take a year out of a circus school. I was called “Buratino girl”. So I spent many years working to develop flexibility.
My parents are not circus artists. My mother is a senior accountant and my father is a construction engineer. Nevertheless I had no doubts about choosing my career – I knew that I wanted to be a circus artist! In 2000 I started to work in a circus. In 2007 I completed studies of psychology. During my whole artistic way, I got inspired by the best performances of great circus artists!
Still being in a circus school for children my teacher offered me to start creating my performance on the straps. My parents made all the apparatus for me. Together with the teacher we thought out and invented the movements, transitions and drops.
With this show I was invited by A.A. Osipov, the main director of the Bolshoi Circus on Vernadskogo to perform. Then I continued to work on my mastery, improve tricks and create new more difficult performances. I love my circus genre, aerial arts!!! And aerial straps is my passion!
Photos: Irina Ushakova (Irene Radvilaitė)
2. I saw a picture that you performed a duo from the helicopter. How was that experience?
Wow that´s so dangerous and amazing!!!
Doing aerial acrobatics under the helicopter is probably the most unforgettable experience! I probably won´t dare to repeat it. Honestly, it’s the beginning it was very scary! It was hard to come under the helicopter. Incredibly strong flow of the air was almost knocking down and the grass stretched out on the ground. First we needed to come under the helicopter and climb on the props and then the helicopter flew up into the sky.
Incredible height, the sensation of flying, it was absolutely fascinating. Fear passed away and we began to perform tricks. The most dangerous trick was when I was sitting in the split on straps and my partner held the straps with me in his teeth, without arms and without any security. Until now, when I look at these photos, the hands sweat: “How could I agree to do this 🙂 “
3. How does your usual day look like?
How long and how often do you train and stretch? How is your warm up and training before the performance?
Me and my husband, we have 3 children. So our day doesn´t belong just to us. In the morning we bring the kids to school, then to their hobbies: one – to the arts school, another – to the gymnastics and the other just needs to have a walk. In the evening we have rehearsal and work. The number of rehearsals depends on work.
Of course, before each rehearsal and especially before going onstage, I do a warm up. Warm up is the main part of a successful and safe performance.
4. How do you create your aerial straps transitions?
What things one should consider when doing straps?
Straps is a “naughty” apparatus. It can get tangled or knotted. If this happens in public, it is necessary to cope with all sort of difficulties unobtrusively and as quickly as possible. All this comes with experience. Now I can already predict that if in some tricks I stay a little more than a couple of seconds, then the strap will fly away and it means that I will have to catch it from a very awkward position with my feet tangled up and with my hand in the loop 🙂
5. How is your creative process when preparing choreography?
How do you choose your music for your performances?
Choreography ideas for the performances come from music. The most difficult point is the selection of music. The director of the performance usually involved into this process. We listen to songs and see if they suit or not. Or sometimes the composer writes special music for my show. For me the music is a VERY important aspect!!!!!
6. What precaution tips can you give for aerial straps students?
Did you ever have injury and how have you cured it?
First of all, you should always be absolutely concentrated during the execution of tricks. Control every move, every transition so that you would not miss the strap and hold your arm or leg firmly in the loop.
I fell and as a result of this fall, I broke my pelvis and hands bones. I had to rehabilitate for six months. It was a difficult time.
7. What tips and exercises can you give to master good split balance and contortion back bends?
To develop flexibility and agility you should train regularly. This is probably the main advice. For splits it is good to hold them in the height for some time. For back flexibility it is good to do grand battement jetés bending your back.
8. You won many awards. How were your experience and atmosphere ?
What advice could you give to those who want to participate in championships or festivals?
I haven´t participate in the championships specialized in aerial arts. At all the festivals in which I participated, they had the best performances and entertainment of different circus genres. The atmosphere was usually good, but emotional and physical stress was usually very high. Tip, try not to succumb to panic anxiety. Take yourself in hand and perform with calm.
9. In which countries have you performed?
Which place did you like most?
I worked in Japan, China, USA, Canada, Germany, France, Mexico, Hungary, Monte Carlo, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland. But my favorite circus remains Nikulin Circus and Circus on Vernadsky Prospekt in Moscow.
Featured Photo: Irina Ushakova (Irene Radvilaitė), Photos: Lilit Martinez