By Dominique Jando
David Rosaire is fifth generation of a renowned British circus family, whose name’s origin dates back to Freddy Ross (1877-1949), a clown and contortionist who worked as Count Rosaire. Ross himself came from an old circus family on his mother’s side, and his father had worked on the fairgrounds. Freddy Ross created Circus Rosaire in England in 1904.
Freddy had nine children. His daughter Ida married Martin Russell Hawkes, a lion trainer; David is their son. He grew up in a family where animal training was predominant: His uncle Ivor was a famous elephant trainer; another uncle, Derrick, was a renowned equestrian, who also trained all sorts of animals; his cousin Joan had a very successful comedy horse act; and cousins Kay, Derrick, Jr., Linda, and Pamela, who settled in the United States, are also famous animal trainers.
David began working in the ring at age five, and received a complete circus education within his family, from horsemanship and tumbling to juggling and trapeze. His mother, Ida Rosaire, had a very successful dog act, The Peking Palace Dogs, which was composed of Pekinese dogs. David took over is mother’s act in 1960; it became known as David Rosaire’s Perky Pekes.
David’s fast-paced dog act became ever more successful, and his Perky Pekes have worked in practically all of Europe’s major circuses and variety theaters, at Boswell-Wilkie Circus in South Africa, and have even appeared in a Royal Command Performance for the King of Sweden. Eventually, they came to the United States, where they were featured at the MGM Grand, Caesar’s Palace, the Hilton Hotel, and the Stardust Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, and the Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nevada.
From there, David Rosaire has appeared with Circus Tihany in Puerto Rico, and in major shows all over the United States, including the Royal Hanneford Circus, Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, and was featured in the Big Apple Circus production of Grandma Goes West (1989-1990). In 2009, he was featured atCircus Sarasota, in Sarasota, Florida, in their production of Bello Comes Home!.
- Video: David Rosaire & His Perky Pekes, in the Big Apple Circus production of Grandma Goes West (1989)
- History: The Rosaire Family