Although Olga Surnina rides motorcycles for a living, don’t expect to find her riding them on the open roads in her leisure time.
“I don’t ride them on the roads. Melvin thinks I’m probably safer in the Globe of Steel,” said Surnina, who along with boyfriend, Melvin Urias, and his brother and sister-in-law, Erwin and Jodie Urias, is part of the Urias Family Globe of Steel act with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which will be at James Brown Arena for shows at 7 p.m. Feb. 2-4; 10:30 a.m. Feb. 3; 3 p.m. Feb. 4; and 2 p.m. Feb. 5.
Tickets are $21-$37 from (877) 4-AUGTIX, georgialinatix.com and the arena box office.
Formerly known as the Globe of Death, the act puts three motorcyclists in a steel cage that is 60 feet in diameter. Surnina and the two brothers ride customized Yamaha 125 motorcycles at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour in the cage while Jodie does an aerial act inside the cage.
Melvin and Erwin represent the fourth generation of the Urias family to perform in the orb. Their great-grandfather, Joaquin, invented the orb in 1912, and the family has been called the “First Family of the Motorcycle Globe.”
A native of Kazakhstan, Surnina, 32, started off as a gymnast. At 17, she and her sister joined the circus with an aerial team. She met Melvin Urias and became interested in the motorcycle act. She spent two years practicing before she started performing.
“I’ve always wanted to ride the motorcycle,” she said. “It’s a lot of adventure.”
And true to its former namesake, it can be a very dangerous performance
“Of course, they were close calls, but I’ve really been fortunate,” she said.
While Surnina enjoys her motorcycle gig, she continues to do an aerial routine with Jodie Urias and four women.
This edition of the circus is called Barnum Bash.
“It’s the biggest party. It’s all about excitement. There is a one-hour pre-show where people can meet performers,” she said. “They can learn circus skills and try on costumes.”