From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
"All things want to fly," wrote the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, "only we are weighed down by desire." Oh, Rainer, if you just could have seen Vladimir! Like the audiences of Cirque du Soleil, Canada's postmodern big top, you would have felt gravity evaporate as the Soviet soared in a widening gyre from two leather straps dangling at the end of a pulleyed cable—with only air and an epic codpiece between you and his perfect physique and ravishing raven hair. Swinging between feral and seraphic seduction, he is a demigod on a demitrapeze, setting free the audience's earthbound longing. Formerly a Moldavian mine worker, Kehkaial first lien with a Moscow alternative circus. When he was in the U.S.S.R., he didn't do the act alone. He flew with a girlfriend—"a beautiful, beautiful dancer." But now that he is in North America, whom does he plan to bring over? His mother, who raised him alone and through hard times. "I get my muscle from my mother. She have the big muscle when I little, but now she's not so strong. I want to give her the good life and show her how live in America and no have be afraid and be quiet." He already knows what success in America entails, and he has set his sights on the big time. "I want to fly in Las Vegas," he says. And then he promises, "I fly with woman next time." Mother, is that you?