In The Spotlight
Italo Medini (1924-2015) was one of the greatest jugglers of the past century who worked in the Italian tradition exemplified by the legendary Enrico Rastelli. He and his twin brother, Franco (1924-2014) were born June 9, 1924 in Orléans, France, to Carlo Medini and his wife, Anna, née Périé, during an engagement of their parents with the Cirque Alphonse Rancy. A clown and acrobat, Carlo Medini belonged to an old and numerous Italian circus family; his wife, Anna, whom he married in 1920, was the daughter of Pierre Périé, the owner of a highly respected French provincial circus before WWII.
Italo made his circus debut at age three, as a miniature clown in his father’s clown act. He would later become his father’s whiteface clownGeneric term for all clowns and augustes. '''Specific:''' In Europe, the elegant, whiteface character who plays the role of the straight man to the Auguste in a clown team., in which role he showed great proficiency as a saxophone and concertina player. Quite early, too, Italo became part of the Carlo Medini aerial casting and acrobatic act. He found his true calling, however, when he saw the German juggling prodigy Trixie Firschke (1920-2001), with whom the Medinis shared a bill at Vienna’s Circus Renz. From then on, Italo began training in a specialty for which he showed an uncanny ability.
The Medinis and the Rastellis were friends, and in Sptember 1931, Carlo took Italo to Paris’s Cirque Medrano to see Enrico Rastelli (1896-1931). Rastelli, who was universally considered as the world’s greatest juggler, was starring in the famous Parisian circus; the opportunity to get a few tips and lessons from the Master, even for a short time, was not something to be missed! As fate had it, it was also just in time, for Rastelli died unexpectedly three months later.... (more...)
- Edoardo Raspini, Juggler
- Italo Medini, Juggler
- Isabella Nock, Aerialist
- The Faltyny Family, Acrobats, Unicyclists
- The Aratas, Tight Wire Artists
- The Hermanis, Diabolo Act (1972)
- Clyde Beatty, Lion Act (1954)
- Alexis Gruss & Flavio Togni, Liberty Act (2016)
- Duo 2-Zen-O, Aerial Hoops (2015)
- The Rastellis, Clowns (1978)
Featured Oral Histories
- Moira Orfei, Circus Owner - Davide Maggio Interview (2012)
- Oleg Popov, clown - Russian Television Feature (2014)
- Albert Fratellini, clown - French Television Interview (1957)
- Nikolai Pavlenko, tiger trainer - Interview (RIA Novosti, 2012)
- Alberto Zoppé, Equestrian - Interview (McCutcheon & Distasio, 2003)
A Message from the Editor
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