Gunta Virkava


As both her parents worked in the circus, the actress Gunta Virkava has spent her childhood in the Riga Circus. Her father, the legendary juggler Alfons Virkavs, holds a special place in her memories. 

Alfons Virkauss (or Virkavs) is famous in circus history for setting an unprecedented record of juggling with thirty rings on a fork in 1957. Years later, he made this trick even more complicated by using forty rings, yet it required excessive physical strength therefore the trick was not shown, and instead the trick with thirty-five rotating rings was performed in the arena. 

In the 1950s, Virkauss also did the trick of balancing glass panels on his forehead. On his 60th birthday, he set a record by balancing a 15-tier glass-plate pyramid. The Latvian Television made a film Smile in the Arena (1979) about the artist.

Gunta Virkava’s narrative is filled with pride and affection for her remarkable father and the Riga Circus. According to Gunta, the circus atmosphere has made her crave for an exchange of applause energy and the adrenaline it generates. Gunta shares her thoughts on the role of the circus in her life.

Photos by Ieva Epnere



All project participants: 

Aivars Meistars / Alīna Kešāne Anna Armand Baiba Reinika / Dace Pecolli / Darja GolobokihDarius Ščesnulevičius Dzintra Žilde/ Gabriels GotsGeorgijs Sokolovskis / Gunta Virkava Iveta Girtakovska / Lauris CepurītisMarija Lase / Mārīte Milne / Raitis Ašmanis / Ramona Sniega / Valērijs Komisarenko / Vija Veita / Vilnis Nerets