Change and Tradition: Circus family sets record and continues family dynasty

Sos and Victoria- Guinness record holders for quick change
Marriage and over 15 years of successful partnership connect the Petrosyan couple.
On September 5 Armenian artists became absolute champions of the world in the art of changing clothes quickly. The Guinness Book London Association registered them as record-holders the same day.

Sos and Victoria Petrosyan changed their clothes 16 times in two minutes using beautiful dance movements on stage, appearing in a new image each time.

“It was a big surprise to me, when my son called me at 4 am and told me: ‘I made a present for your birthday. Switch on the satellite TV and see’,” tells Sos Petrosyan, director of the Yerevan Circus cultural center.

The performance called ‘The New Generation of Quick Change’ is a combination of dancing, circus and sporting tricks, where the important elements are quickness, flexibility and dancing equally. (See:

Spouses Sos and Victoria began the work on this winning circus performance in 1991. They used to change only 8 sets of clothes in ten minutes in the beginning and then 15.

The couple has had performances in 28 countries and has participated in 15 international competitions and festivals appearing in the quick change and various other circus genres.

The Sos Petrosyan circus dynasty began with Sos Petrosyan Sr.’s ‘Dance with Six Dhols’ (Armenian, Persian and Indian double-sided drum), where he played them, and twisted the three of them with feet and head ceaselessly changing the big and heavy drums at one time, creating a vision of dhols dancing in the air.

This performance became one of the visit cards of the circus arts in the Soviet Union and traveled to more than 80 countries.

“When my son was born, the talented Leonid Yengibaryan told me: ‘Give him your name, let him continue your dance with dhols, let people think you are always young’,” says the elder Petrosyan.

He followed Yengibaryan’s advice and now Sos Petrosyan Jr. continues to perform the dance with dhols and also manages to stage performances conforming to the time’s demand for technique and quickness.

The triumph of Petrosyan Senior, who has been leading the Yerevan Circus for 22 years, now continues his grandson – Sos Petrosyan the third, who was named by the renowned Russian clown and actor Yuri Nikulin, in the years when Petrosyan the second worked in his circus.

Sos, 10, won the European Juggling Championship in Munich this May.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes myself when I saw the small guy creating illusions with playing cards. His hands are so small that they can’t hold so many cards,” laughs Petrosyan the senior and confesses the youngest of them is the most talented.

Besides managing to hide playing cards in his small hands he also managed to keep 100 cards and also – to skillfully conjure and win the first prize of his life.

“We the Soses are alike: we are stubborn, aspiring and industrious. Interestingly all the three of us are born in the Year of Rat.”

Petrosyan Senior’s circus dynasty will gather in Yerevan on September 5 next year at the 60th anniversary of its founder. And before that the only hope to see the other two Soses is the television alone. Sos the senior says: “They can’t come, every day of theirs is planned four years ahead, they spend their life on stage and traveling half and half.”