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Circopedia was originally created with the support of the Big Apple Circus
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In The Spotlight

Dimitri Knie 1979.jpg

DIMITRI

Although he was mostly known internationally as a theater 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., Dimitri (1935-2016) had started his clown career in the ring of the legendary Cirque Medrano in Paris, and had been featured three times at Circus Knie in Switzerland and once at the Big Apple Circus in the United States. He had also inspired, and sometimes trained, many clowns who pursued a career in the circus and, therefore, he is indeed an important figure of circus history.

Born Dimitri Jakob Müller on September 18, 1935 in Ascona, on the Lake Maggiore, near Locarno in Switzerland, Dimitri was a 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., as well as a director, actor, musician, folk singer, and also an artist who expressed himself in pottery, sculpture and painting. The recipient of several international awards and celebrated worldwide as an outstanding performer, he attained a rare international popularity for a 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., and was considered in Switzerland a cultural ambassador of his country.

With a solid background in post-war Europe's emerging physical theater community, he had a major influence in reshaping the western clown image. Merging traditional circus clown techniques and classic theatrical pantomimeA circus play, not necessarily mute, with a dramatic story-line (a regular feature in 18th and 19th century circus performances)., while escaping the clichés attached to these two specialties, he gave a new legitimacy to the 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.’s role in the contemporary culture, both on stage and in the ring.

Dimitri’s art was rooted in the ancient and versatile bases of true clown technique: Pantomime, acrobatics, dance, music, and even work with animals. His own research had led to an essential aesthetic of purity, discreetly balancing seemingly separate influences such as western clowning and pantomimeA circus play, not necessarily mute, with a dramatic story-line (a regular feature in 18th and 19th century circus performances)., various ethnic traditions, popular rituals, Japanese theater, Commedia dell’ Arte, folk music, and storytelling. His talents as an artist and craftsman also helped him create a theatrical universe of remarkable fertility, conceiving the clown as a multi-faceted expression of life itself.... (more...)

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CIRCOPEDIA is a constantly evolving and expanding archive of the international circus. New videos, biographies, essays, and documents are added to the site on a weekly—and sometimes daily—basis. 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
Founder and Curator