Flying Cortes

From Circopedia

Flying Trapeze

By Dominique Jando


The Flying Cortes (2008)
Robinson and Alex Cortes are fourth generation of a Columbian circus family. They came to the United States in 1977 with their parents, when the Cortes Troupe were contracted by Hoxie Bros. Circus to perform their high wireA tight, heavy metallic cable placed high above the ground, on which wire walkers do crossings and various acrobatic exercises. Not to be confused with a tight wire. and flying trapezeAerial act in which an acrobat is propelled from a trapeze to a catcher, or to another trapeze. (See also: Short-distance Flying Trapeze) acts. Young Robinson performed in both acts; brother Alex was only six months old then.

When the Flying Cortes’s main flyerAn acrobat that is propelled in the air, either in a flying act, or in an acrobatic act (i.e. teeterboard). left the troupe, Robinson replaced him. At age thirteen, he threw his first triple somersault to the hands of his father, Edmundo. Alex was soon caught by the flying trapezeAerial act in which an acrobat is propelled from a trapeze to a catcher, or to another trapeze. (See also: Short-distance Flying Trapeze) bug too, and began flying at the tender age of five. The family’s flying actAny aerial act in which an acrobat is propelled in the air from one point to another., headed by Edmundo Cortes, lasted twenty-one years; when Edmundo finally retired from performing, Robinson replaced him as the catcherIn an acrobatic or a flying act, the person whose role is to catch acrobats that have been propelled in the air. of the act, and Alex became the main flyerAn acrobat that is propelled in the air, either in a flying act, or in an acrobatic act (i.e. teeterboard)..

The brothers also flew in other acts, and at various times appeared with such great flying troupes as the Flying Gaonas, the Flying Caceres, and the Flying Vargas, and Robinson appeared in the French all-aerial circus, Les Arts-Sauts. For his part, Alex has also performed in an aerial cradlePiece of apparatus (generally aerial) composed of two horizontal parallel bars in which a catcher locks his legs to be in position of catching a flyer. (Variant: Korean Cradle.) act, and as a juggler. Robinson didn’t forget his high wireA tight, heavy metallic cable placed high above the ground, on which wire walkers do crossings and various acrobatic exercises. Not to be confused with a tight wire. past either, and performed the seven-person pyramid with the Wallendas at the International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo in 2004, along with his wife, Alida. (That year, the Wallendas won the prestigious Silver Clown Award.)

Alida Wallenda-Cortes has a rich circus pedigree: She is a seventh-generation Wallenda, and also belongs to the Italian Zoppé family on her father’s side, and to the Czech Bertini familiy on her mother’s side. She began walking on the high wireA tight, heavy metallic cable placed high above the ground, on which wire walkers do crossings and various acrobatic exercises. Not to be confused with a tight wire. at age eight, and became a member of the Wallenda-Zoppé troupe at age ten, with her father Tino Wallenda-Zoppé, and her mother, Olinka Bertini.

Alida has performed in a wide range of aerial specialties, including cloud swing(English, American) The ancestor of the trapeze: a slack rope hanging from both ends, used as an aerial swinging apparatus. The addition of a bar in the middle led to the creation of the trapeze., aerial cradlePiece of apparatus (generally aerial) composed of two horizontal parallel bars in which a catcher locks his legs to be in position of catching a flyer. (Variant: Korean Cradle.), Spanish web, lyraAerial apparatus similar to an Aerial Hoop, but in the form of a lyre, or an aerial hoop with a horizontal bar at its top., and of course flying trapezeAerial act in which an acrobat is propelled from a trapeze to a catcher, or to another trapeze. (See also: Short-distance Flying Trapeze), but she has also worked as a bareback rider (the Zoppés’ specialty), and as a unicyclist (the Bertinis’ specialty). In the Wallendas’ seven-person pyramid, she was the first woman to hold the front base position. She and Robinson Cortes were married in 1999, and together they have a daughter, Ysabella, born in 2001.

The fourth member of the Flying Cortes is New York-born Chrystie Toth, a former competition gymnast, who got her first taste of circus when she performed and taught circus arts in Club Med Resorts in Florida, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic from 2003 to 2006. She worked her way up to being a supervisor of their circus program, and from there, she joined the Flying Vargas at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nevada—where she performed in their flying trapezeAerial act in which an acrobat is propelled from a trapeze to a catcher, or to another trapeze. (See also: Short-distance Flying Trapeze) act and with her own tissu(French) A double piece of hanging fabric, generally made of silk, used for an aerial act. (See also: Fabric, Silks) act.

The Flying Cortes have performed in most of the United States’ major circuses, including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Royal Hanneford Circus, and St. Louis, Missouri-based Circus Flora. In 2008-2009, they were featured in the Big Apple Circus production of Play On!. They returned to the Big Apple Circus in 2011, where they created a different act for the finale of its production Dream Big, which included Robinson and Alexander Cortes, Chrystie Toth, Gemma Kirby, Isabel Patrowicz, and ten-year-old Ysabella Wallenda-Cortes.

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