Armand Gruss

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Equestrian, Clown, Acrobat

By Dominique Jando

Born in Paris into one of France's most celebrated and respected circus families, Armand Gruss (1974-1994) was the son of Alexis and Gipsy Gruss (née Bouglione). His birth corresponded to that of the Cirque à l'ancienne, the circus his father had created under the aegis of the famous French actress, Silvia Monfort, as part of her "Nouveau Carré," the Paris Cultural Center—which was to encompass Alexis Gruss's circus as well as the first French professional circus school.

The second son in a family of four children, Armand began training as an equestrian, his father's specialty, at age four. He made his official debut in the ring in 1984, at age ten, presenting his father's elephant, Toffy. The following year, he performed a hand-balancing act with his cousin, Eddy Ringenbach. By then, Armand was already showing an innate talent for clowning, undoubtedly inherited from his grandfather, the famous augusteIn a classic European clown team, the comic, red-nosed character, as opposed to the elegant, whiteface Clown. Dédé Gruss.

Immediately, Armand participated in several editions of the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris (which were for a long time hosted by his family's circus), each time with a different act. Among other awards, he won a Silver Medal in 1984, for his first participation with his elephant act—which included hand-balancing on the pachyderm's head—and then a Bronze Medal in 1987, as a clown with his cousin, Eddy Ringenbach

Over the years, Armand developed his talents as a clown in the family circus, while continuing to work as an acrobat, an elephant trainer, and as a remarkable jockeyClassic equestrian act in which the participants ride standing in various attitudes on a galoping horse, perform various jumps while on the horse, and from the ground to the horse, and perform classic horse-vaulting exercises. and acrobat on horseback with his brother, Stephan, and his cousins Eddy and Isabelle Ringenbach. Imaginative and highly artistic, Armand became increasingly involved in the creative aspects of his father's productions—until his untimely death in 1994, at age twenty. That year, the circus world lost one of his most promising talents.

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