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In The Spotlight
She was born Gertrude Zimmerman on September 26, 1931 in Speyer, a small town in Rhineland-Palatinate, near Mannheim in Germany. Her family had no connection with the circus or the performing arts: Her father was a baker, and her mother a homemaker. Yet at a very young age, Gertrude showed a keen interest for gymnastics and all things physical, which was strongly encouraged by her parents—in a country where, at the time, physical education was kept in very high regard.
As a little child, Gertrude used to hang from a bar that her father held with his hands; she enjoyed it, and created little routines of her own. When she was seven, her mother heard of a former trapeze artist whose husband was in the military, and who gave trapeze lessons to augment the family income. Thus Gertrude (Trude) Johann entered the life of Gertrude Zimmerman and became her trapeze teacher.... (more...)
- Struppi Hanneford, Aerialist, Animal Trainer, Circus Owner
- Pancracio, Clown
- Circus Sarrasani, History
- Tom Dougherty, Clown
- Alfred Beautour, Cat Trainer
- Ekaterina & Aleksey Plotnikov, Bear Act (2014)
- The Casselly Family, Acrobats and Elephants (2012)
- "Balagan", Teeterboard (2011)
- The Kazhlev Troupe, Russian Barre (2014)
- The Gerasimov Family, Jugglers (2014)
Featured Oral Histories
- Nikolai Pavlenko, tiger trainer - Interview (RIA Novosti, 2012)
- Alberto Zoppé, Equestrian - Interview (McCutcheon & Distasio, 2003)
- Olivier Taquin, Mime - Interview (Jando, 2008)
- Barry Lubin, Clown (Grandma) - Interview (Jando, 2008)
- Fumagalli, Clown - Interview (Jando, 2008)
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