June 26, 2022

The Last Tightrope Dancer in Armenia

[en][/en][en][/en]nce upon a time, they were the most famous tightrope walkers in Armenia. Now, Zhora and Knyaz are well into their seventies, and can only dream about their past glories. With sparkling eyes, the old men look back on the good old days. The archive footage shows how they would think nothing of riding a bicycle or a motorcycle along the tightrope — and “without a safety net,” one of them stresses. His family has been tightrope walking for more than 300 years — the big question now is whether the next generation will continue this art with as much enthusiasm. If Zhora has anything to do with it, they will: he is training his foster son Horsvep to walk the tightrope, but Horsvep has his doubts. Would it not be better to get a job in construction? The melancholy stories of the two formerly so famous tightrope walkers are endowed with added pathos by the images of the talented Horsvep, dancing against a fairytale backdrop of Armenian mountains and a beautiful sunset. As Zhora’s adopted son, he feels an obligation to carry on: “I owe him.” If he were to throw in the towel, the age-old tradition of the Armenian tightrope walking family would be lost, and that does not make his decision any easier.


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