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 Grüss (1974-1994) was the son of Alexis and Gipsy Grüss, 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 Grüss'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 one of his father's elephants, 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 augusteIn a classic European clown team, the comic, red-nosed character, as opposed to the elegant, whiteface Clown. Dédé Grüss.

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 aspect of his father's productions—until his untimely death in 1994, at age twenty. That day, the circus world lost one of his most promising artists.

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