Russo-Ukrainian circus makes a splash with first Burton-upon-Trent performances

ITV News Central reporter Lewis Warner went to meet the people forgetting a war through the circus

A circus which includes sixteen people who have recently arrived in the UK from Ukraine are excited to perform for in Burton-upon-Trent tonight - one stop among many across the UK.

One such performer is Tania Loduyk, a dancer who came to the UK from Kharkiv, now at the frontline of Russia's war on Ukraine. She sends the money she earns back to the city, to her mother, who lost her job as a result of the fighting which has wrecked homes, businesses, and countless lives.

Tania sends money back to her mother in Kharkiv

Tania says she leaves what is happening in Ukraine 'backstage' when she performs Credit: ITV

"I think about it every day," she said.

"But not at the moment of the show, because I should perform and I should do my work - like doctors doing surgery."

"They just should do it. So when I go on stage, I leave everything on the backstage."

"Many of us we send some money for volunteers," she continued. "For companies in Ukraine from our wages... in that way we can help our families."

Mykhailo Lynoivitskiy, who is a stunt cyclist, feels that being part of the circus is a welcome distraction from the war.

"All my family is soldiers right now," he said. Those younger than eighteen are still involved in the war effort - they make things like bombs.

"I forget about everything when I'm performing," he said. "When I ride my bike too. I forget about all my troubles and problems. It's something. I couldn't describe it."

Russian Director hopes conflict will be over soon

Irina Archer, Director

Irina, who directs the Circus, is Russian herself. "It's very silly, the whole thing," she said, as circus members practiced a dance behind her.

"None of us believed it could happen. Even on the eve before it happened everyone was denying it - saying it could be a possibility."

"My heart is going out to them...they're constantly worrying about their relatives," she says of the performers. "They're professionals and you wouldn't see that they have troubles at heart when they're performing - but it's very hard."

Circus Cortex will be performing in Burton until Monday - before moving on to Corby to continue their UK wide tour.

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