‘USA is the best country in the world for quality of life’: how an immigrant from Donetsk became a Cirque du Soleil artist

In the gym I got in 5 years. Why hit? To 4 years I have twice had a broken arm and the parents realized that the boy was active and need somewhere that energy to do. I was sent to a nearby sports school, it was school sports gymnastics. Generally, gymnastics is a very extensive sport and to become a master of the sport, you need to practice at least 10 years of 7 hours a day. And I spent my childhood and youth, says the “Voice of America” Alexey Kononov, gymnast and artist of “Cirque du Soleil” from Donetsk.

'США - лучшая страна в мире по удобству жизни': как иммигрант из Донецка стал артистом Cirque du Soleil

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

12 years, we started to travel on the Olympic base — hit in a national team of Ukraine. And youth has passed largely at a base near Kiev. At some point I became the champion of Ukraine in team, silver medalist of Ukraine on the bar. But I’m quite a tall guy — it was not considered when I gave up gymnastics. Gymnastics likes a small increase, and I have 184 centimeters. Not sure this is due to the growth or not, at some point I realized that I will not continue to fight for an Olympic medal. Gymnasts number one goal — to win the Olympic games. I abandoned that dream years in 19.

'США - лучшая страна в мире по удобству жизни': как иммигрант из Донецка стал артистом Cirque du Soleil

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

Fortunately, gymnastics is another area where you can implement your skills, talents, and training volume (15 years I trained in the “ploughing”), is a “Cirque du Soleil”. I knew about it: a lot of guys from Donetsk, from Ukraine went there. It is a haven for us. There I sent a resume and went in 2009.

I believe that USA is the best country in the world from what I’ve seen, in convenience life. America took everything. Here everything is done to ensure that people enjoyed that the man was comfortable. Here is a great road, there are a lot of stores, they are constantly open. I was amazed — in such a successful country where people earn much, the price of things lower than we do in Ukraine.

'США - лучшая страна в мире по удобству жизни': как иммигрант из Донецка стал артистом Cirque du Soleil

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

You could say that we have a nomadic life — but this description in a negative direction. I would say that we have a really cool lifestyle: we travel around the world, the company provides us with everything we need, we care about nothing, except to go on stage and to give the best result to show your skills. Everything else the company undertakes and in this mode, in this oasis, in a team you travel the world and earn money. This is not a nomadic life, it’s fun!

'США - лучшая страна в мире по удобству жизни': как иммигрант из Донецка стал артистом Cirque du Soleil

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

I am in the show “Alegria” is a show in Cirque du Soleil, which has become a hallmark. This is a trend, and if I say that “Cirque du Soleil” found out thanks to this show, maybe I can’t go wrong. This show traveled around the world three times and has been working for 19 years, it was viewed by 14 million people. We traveled all over America, all over Europe, I visited 100 cities and 45 countries. Family is with me, “Cirque du Soleil” helps in this: the happier I am, the happier will be the audience. But without a family to be happy? It is almost impossible!

'США - лучшая страна в мире по удобству жизни': как иммигрант из Донецка стал артистом Cirque du Soleil

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

We have chosen this style, it has its disadvantages, but I can see some advantages. The child goes to an American school, speaking English — for me that’s a plus, constantly meet new people: I think this is a cool skill that will be useful in life. Someone will say: Oh, how the child goes every time in a new school? For me is a new opportunity that I give to the child.

'США - лучшая страна в мире по удобству жизни': как иммигрант из Донецка стал артистом Cirque du Soleil

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

When we came to America, the first was the wow-effect. This is America! Of course, all impressive. But when you live in the rhythm of “every week is a new city,” first it’s wow, then it’s — well, OK, normal, and two years later began the challenge. You begin to understand: I’m tired, it’s hotels, it’s time for new bed pillows, new water… If you don’t know what to say and do not understand what you want, as I had then, you start whining and stop to enjoy it all. But it’s just a question in mind.

'США - лучшая страна в мире по удобству жизни': как иммигрант из Донецка стал артистом Cirque du Soleil

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

At the moment I’m tired and haven’t had a clear vision of what I want. And I thought about what I want to go home, this nomadic life forced upon me. When such thoughts come, I immediately got a small injury and quickly went home. Up to this point I have everything prepared — I bought an apartment, made repairs, and bought a car. I created the infrastructure and thought I’d develop at home and build a career.

'США - лучшая страна в мире по удобству жизни': как иммигрант из Донецка стал артистом Cirque du Soleil

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

But life has made adjustments in Donetsk, something happened, what happened, and in 2014 I went out, taking with him almost only underpants and socks. Last time I was in the summer of 2018, there live parents. If you ask how they live there, don’t answer, because it is necessary to ask them. If you ask me if I liked — I did not like.

When in 2018 received an offer to return to the “Cirque du Soleil”, I’m over the 4 years is already well caught myself, realized what I want, understand their values, understand what I can give people, how can I be most effective for this world. I have all come together is still time to grab this opportunity — and in 2018, I was back here.

'США - лучшая страна в мире по удобству жизни': как иммигрант из Донецка стал артистом Cirque du Soleil

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

There is probably not a dream but a goal — the creation of your gymnastic brand. My expertise is gymnastics. I gave a fair competitive activity in the gym 20 years, plus the fact that I now do in “Cirque du Soleil” — it’s the same gym, but on a different level. There is not load, and overload, and show are in the regime of 10 per week, each one of them for me like a little competition, because a large level of responsibility. I continue to do gymnastics, and I can be useful to people.

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