Mid 20th C
Yuri comes from a background of Russian circus, where his family did the ‘unsupported ladder’ act. His dad Michael was in “The Amazing Gridneffs” who were originally from Siberia and came to the UK in 1937, after 5 years in South Africa. Yuri was in Chipperfield’s Circus from 1945-49 where he used to practice in the side of the ring as a child.
When Yuri married Tonya, who was a dancer, they made a circus act together. They toured the circus variety circuit and were often in Newcastle and the North East. Billed first as Yuri Gridneff & Lady, then Yuri Gridneff & Toni, then later taking on russian costumes as Yuri and Tonya, and being billed as a Russian act. His acts have included a unicycling a 4 meter ladder-cycle and a fantastic high skill multi-prop combination juggle on top of a giraffe unicycle! Yuri and Tonya now run Blackpool Youth Circus.