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Welcome to Circopedia,
the free encyclopedia of the international circus.
A project of the Big Apple Circus,
inspired and funded by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

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In The Spotlight


Cirque Leonce 1930.jpeg
The Cirque Léonce was created in 1907 (and originally called Cirque Printania) by Léonce Chapuis, a circus enthusiast from a well-to-do French provincial family, who left his sedentary life to follow a circus—the well-known and highly reputable Cirque Bureau, one of France’s oldest traveling circuses (active from c.1855 to 1953). There, he worked in the circus office as a jack-of-all-trades: Someone with a high school education was enough of a rarity in the traveling circus world to be useful in a large range of administrative chores.

However Léonce was a good horseman, and while at Cirque Bureau he trained as an acrobat on horseback—the goal he had set for himself as a circus artist. Unfortunately, he broke a leg in a bad fall, and his dream came to a vanishing point. He left the circus and became a journalist, and then, probably missing show business and touring, he went on to work with the "Tournées Baret," a famous theatrical touring company. But this was not the circus. ... (more...)

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A Message from the Editor

CIRCOPEDIA is a constantly evolving and expanding encyclopedia of the international circus. New videos, biographies, essays, and documents are added to the site on a weekly—and sometimes daily—basis. So keep visiting us: even if today you don't find what you're looking for, it may well be here tomorrow! And if you are a serious circus scholar and spot a factual or historical inaccuracy, do not hesitate to contact us: we will definitely consider your remarks and suggestions.

Dominique Jando