Circus reopens in Turkmenistan, but ballet still banned

The circus has finally returned to Ashgabat after a nine-year long absence, following the legacy of previous President Niyazov, who banned the cinema, opera, ballet, lip-synching, gold teeth, long hair and beards for men, as well as renaming all the days of the week and month after members of his family. On Friday, the first circus show was attended by current President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov as well as 1,500 children. Berdymukhamedov has reversed nearly all the bans, except for ballet, which was originally outlawed as the “scantily clad women offended Turkmen morality”.