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Russian Cirque-Style Show Adds Performance Dates Due to Show’s Popularity, Extending Houston Run Through Sunday, May 10, 2009


HOUSTON (March 26, 2009)—The U.S. debut of Artania (, which kicked off a limited engagement run at Sam Houston Race Park ( on March 14, has extended the performance run  due to the show’s popularity through Sunday, May 10, 2009.  The show was originally scheduled to close on Sunday, April 12, but producers decided to provide additional performances dates in order to accommodate the demand for tickets.
“We are pleased with the success of Artania in Houston and are thrilled that audiences have really enjoyed the show,” said Mairbek Kantimerov, creative director, Artania.  “Houston has made us feel very welcome and as a result, we are going to extend our performance run into May!”

The family-oriented cirque-style show features the legendary Kantimerov Family Cossack warriors, breath-taking horsemanship and acrobatic artistry, 12 of the rarest Russian horses, including an extraordinary white albino and a horse with a bloodline dating back to Alexander the Great!   The successful international show features a cast of 55 aerial artists, musicians and acrobats all under a large custom built air-controlled tent.  
Artania, by definition, is a mysterious kingdom frequently mentioned in the chronicles and legends of Ancient Russia, where ancient mysteries of the past engage with the innovations of the future.  Above all, it is a celebration of life and of mankind’s love and admiration for horses, illustrating the harmony between man and nature.  While the horses move in a perfectly timed dressage, the infinitely creative mix of artistry, acrobatics and dance will astonish and spark the imagination.  The artists not only defy the laws of gravity, they transcend laws of nature as they unveil the secret wisdom of the future and of times past.

“The show incorporates a variety of performance styles, from death-defying horseback riding stunts, aerial acrobats and contortionists to traditional segments requiring audience participation, all of which will amaze and excite viewers of all ages.  This is the greatest show on dirt,” said Kantimerov.

Alibek Kantimerov, founder of the distinguished Kantemirov horse riding dynasty from North Ossetia, Russia, began his career as a circus rider and was the first in the history of Russian circus to create a troupe.   The troupe, known as “Alibek,” performed traditional Ossetian stunts on horses.  In 1947, Alibek and his three sons, Khasanbek, Irbek and Mukhtarbek, created a system of acrobatic horse riding stunts for the Soviet cinema, which later became a classic art form for the Russian cinema.  The prestigious stunts and horse dressage of the Kantemirovs have been featured in more than 50 films. 

Following in his footsteps is son Irbek Kantimerov, originator of many of the equestrian stunts observed in circuses throughout the world.  In 1967, Irbek became the head of “Alibek.”  Irbek has held various honors including People’s Artist of the USSR, Master of Sports of the USSR and Champion of the Armed Forces of the USSR.  As a five-time national equestrian champion, Irbek is considered one of the best trick and stunt riders the world has ever seen.

Since 1994, the creative and artistic direction of Artania has fallen in the hands of Mairbek Kantimerov.  In 1997, Mairbek was recognized as an Honored Artist of Russia and North Ossetia.  He created his own theatrical attraction centered around the legends of ancient warriors, the Scythians, and it quickly became an incredibly successful production in Russia and Europe.  Mairbek performed several horse shows and received the Russian National Academy Award as well as Attraction of the Year Award in Ontario, Canada.  In addition, Mairbek was named the winner of the 20th International Circus Festival in Rome.

Many ancient and rare breeds of horses are featured in Artania, including: 
Akhal-Teke Thoroughbred, Tersk, Ukrainian and Orloff Trotter.  The Akhal-Teke is the most ancient and one of the rarest breeds in the world.  One of the Akhal-Tekes featured in Artania is a very unusual, cream-albino with blue eyes and bloodline dating back more than 3,000 years to the time of Alexander the Great.  Born in the Asian steppes and deserts, it has almond-shaped eyes and a long back coupled with a flat croup and long, upright neck.  The Akhal-Tekes are lively and alert with a reputation for being a “one-rider” horse. 

The Tersks, considered a strong steppe horse used by warriors, were specifically bred for the Russian Army in the 19th century.  The Ukrainian breed is of German descent and most often preferred in sports.  Lastly, the Orloff Trotter breed, was selected by the royal family Orloff and bred in the 19th century.  They are very well built with a strong body and long neck, and mainly white in color.  This breed is known as one of the world’s strongest horses and, in 1957, this type of horse won the absolute record of carrying weight in a cart with 23 tons.
Artania will be at Sam Houston Race Park through Sunday, May 10, 2009Tickets start at $29 and are available online at and or 800-211-3381.

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Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located 15 minutes from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including 19 luxury suites overlooking the race track, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and Jockey Club.  The Park’s newest addition, The Showgrounds, is an all-ages venue that hosts annual Country, Classic Rock and Contemporary concert events throughout the year.  For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit

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