Search

Humanimals spotted on Hampstead Heath

PUBLISHED: 17:08 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:30 30 November 2017

Alex Kovas and Kate Kostyuk dressed as leopards on Hampstead Heath for a video promoting performances as 'Humanimals'. Picture: HUMANIMALS

Alex Kovas and Kate Kostyuk dressed as leopards on Hampstead Heath for a video promoting performances as 'Humanimals'. Picture: HUMANIMALS

Archant

A new species has been sighted lurking in the trees and among the bushes of Hampstead Heath.

Humanimals may be shaped like people, but they morph into a variety of different beasts including zebras, foxes and deer behaving in ways one might not expect with ballet, street dance and high kicks being part of their elaborate displays.

The brainchild of Alex Kovas, humanimals sees the Russian performance artist and his partner Kate Kostyuk dressing up to amuse and bemuse audiences.

It all began eight years ago when Mr Kovas decided to veer away from what he called ‘mainstream performances’ as a human statue and pursue a career inspired by the jungle.

“I just wanted to find my own niche,” the 45-year-old said. “The approach attracts more attention.”

And for a suitably wild backdrop to videos posted on Youtube – where thousands of followers tune in regularly to watch Mr Kovas and Ms Kostyuk – the pair head to Hampstead Heath where they have sparked a few double takes among passersby.

Ms Kostyuk a social research student at the London School of Economics, explained the Heath’s appeal: “It’s like a forest so it’s the perfect place to make videos. You can be in the trees surrounded by green. There’s no civilisation. When you’re in nature you feel more connected to it. It helps us to get into character more.”

Ms Kostyuk, 27, whose dancer mother Natalia lives in Hampstead, added: “People who see us look surprised. But they don’t freak out although I would understand if they did. Dogs tend to be the most interested, though they aren’t any trouble.”

The pair’s garb comes from costume-makers all over the world with the choice of animal led by matches to human anatomy.

Together Kate and Alex are 'Humanimals' performing as a number of animals and making occasional appearances on Hampstead Heath. Picture: ALEX KOVASTogether Kate and Alex are 'Humanimals' performing as a number of animals and making occasional appearances on Hampstead Heath. Picture: ALEX KOVAS

“The fox costume is the most fun to be in,” Ms Kostyuk said. “I like the furry tail.”

Mr Kovas rehearses moves at ballet classes with the pair watching nature programmes to inspire their performances at parties and business events.

Acting as a big cat or unicorn has not affected his behaviour.

“We’re still normal people doing normal things. It’s all part of a performance,” he said.

Alex Kovas prancing in zebra garb. Picture: HUMANIMALSAlex Kovas prancing in zebra garb. Picture: HUMANIMALS

But visitors to the Heath may have to wait for warmer weather before the couple’s outdoor appearances resume in Spring.

“We have to be very careful. The costumes don’t protect us from the cold,” Mr Kovas said.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

56 minutes ago

Highgate’s The Red Lion and Sun has been named pub of the year at the annual Great British Pub awards.

Yesterday, 14:00

We talk to hundreds of local business owners every day; we hear their concerns, understand their challenges and share in their successes.

Yesterday, 13:56

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West has criticised “shortsighted” plans to close Muswell Hill’s Royal Mail delivery office, while locals say the plans are “very concerning”.

Yesterday, 10:48

As the 1960s drew to a close a group of Camden women were in the vanguard of the fight for gender equality. Sam Volpe spoke to members of the Belsize Lane Women’s Liberation Workshop about their remarkable deeds.

Fri, 17:39

The killers of Camden model Harry Uzoka have been jailed for a combined total of more than 60 years.

Fri, 14:33

High Court judge Sir Ross Cranston, who last week blocked Transport for London’s (TfL) plans to begin building the CS11 cycle superhighway in Swiss Cottage, has denied TfL permission to appeal his judicial review ruling.

Fri, 12:40

Seven months to the day after a single winter night saw two young men stabbed to death, Camden’s youth safety task force – led by Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer and Cllr Abdul Hai – last night recommended a series of measures to arrest the alarming upwards trend in youth violence in the borough.

Thu, 17:30

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Ham&High readers this week.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now