Glossary

From Circopedia

Revision as of 11:25, 19 January 2009 by Cforcey (Talk | contribs) (V)

A

Adagio
Acrobatic act, generally involving a man and a woman, presented in a slow or romantic mood.
Aerialist
Any acrobat working above the ring on an aerial equipment such as trapeze, Roman Rings, Spanish web, etc.
Aerial Perch
An aerial apparatus, generally a hanging perch, from where the performers hang with the help of hand or ankle loops. (French: Bambou - Russian: Bambuk)
Aerial Straps
Pair of fabric(See: Tissu) or leather straps used as an apparatus for an aerial strap actAerial act performed hanging from a pair of fabric or leather straps. See Aerial Straps..
Attraction
(Russian) A circus act that can occupy up to the entire second half of a circus performance.
Auguste
In a classic European clown team, the comic, red-nosed character, as opposed to the elegant, whiteface Clown.

B

Balagan
(Russian) A fairground booth or theater.
Ballerina on Horseback
Acrobatic and dance figures performed by an equestrienneA female equestrian, or horse trainer, horse presenter, or acrobat on horseback., often wearing a tutu, standing on the back of a horse.
Bambou
(French - Russian: Bambuk) Aerial apparatus, generally a hanging perch, from where the performers hang with the help of hand or ankle loops. See also: Aerial perch.
Barrel-Jumping
Act in which an acrobat jumps from inside a barrel to inside another barrel, often placed at different levels.
Benefit
Special performance whose entire profit went to a performer; the number of benefits a performer was offered (usually one, but sometimes more for a star performer during a long engagement) was stipulated in his contract. Benefits disappeared in the early twentieth century.
Big Top
The circus tent. America: The main tent of a traveling circus, where the show is performed, as opposed to the other tops. (French, Russian: Chapiteau)
Bolleadora
A traditional Gaucho weapon made of two weights attached at both ends of a cord, used by Argentinean Bolleadora Dancers.

C

Cage Act
Act performed in a cage, such as lion or tiger acts.
Carpet Clown
(English) An Auguste performing short pieces between the acts during prop changes or equipment rigging. See also: Reprise Auguste.
Carrousel
A choreographed equestrian ensemble display, very popular in European court entertainments of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Casse-Cou
(French) A front, or forward, somersault.
Catcher
In an acrobatic or a flying actAny aerial act in which an acrobat is propelled in the air from one point to another., the person whose role is to catch acrobats that have been propelled in the air.
Chambrière
(French) Long whip customarily used by Equestrians for the presentation of horses "at liberty"Liberty act", "Horses at liberty": Unmounted horses presented from the center of the ring by an equestrian directing his charges with his voice, body movements, and signals from a ''chambrière'' (French), or long whip.."
Chapiteau
(French, Russian) A circus tent, or Big Top.
Cigar Box
A juggling prop in the form of a cigar boxA juggling prop in the form of a cigar box, which was originally made of actual cigar boxes., which was originally made of actual cigar boxes.
Cloud Swing
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.
Clown Alley
(American) In an American circus, the clowns' dressing room (or tent), and by extension, the clown ensemble of a circus.
Clown
Generic 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.
Corde Lisse
(French) A vertical rope used in aerial acts, either for the act itself, or to climb up to an apparatus. Called Spanish Web when covered with fabric(See: Tissu).
Cradle
Piece of apparatus (generally aerial) composed of two horizontal parallel bars in which a catcherIn an acrobatic or a flying act, the person whose role is to catch acrobats that have been propelled in the air. locks his legs to be in position of catching a flyerAn acrobat that is propelled in the air, either in a flying act, or in an acrobatic act (i.e. teeterboard)..

E

Entrée
Clown piece with a dramatic structure, generally in the form of a short story or scene.
Equestrienne
A female equestrian, or horse trainer, horse presenter, or acrobat on horseback.

F

Flyer
An acrobat that is propelled in the air, either in a flying actAny aerial act in which an acrobat is propelled in the air from one point to another., or in an acrobatic act (i.e. teeterboardA seesaw made of wood, or fiberglass poles tied together, which is used to propel acrobats in the air.).
Flying Act
Any aerial act in which an acrobat is propelled in the air from one point to another.
Flying Trapeze
Aerial act in which an acrobat is propelled from a trapeze to a catcherIn an acrobatic or a flying act, the person whose role is to catch acrobats that have been propelled in the air., or to another trapeze.

H

Hand-to-Hand
An acrobatic act in which one or more acrobats do hand-balancing in the hands of an under-standerIn an acrobatic act, the person who is at the base, supporting other acrobats (for example, the base of a human pyramid). Also known as the "bottom Man" (or "Bottom Woman")..
Haute-école
(French) A display of equestrian dressage, by a rider mounting a horse and leading it into classic moves and steps. (See also: High School)
Heel Catch
In a trapeze act, a dive frontward or backward, caught to the trapeze bar by the heels.
High School
(French) A display of equestrian dressage, by a rider mounting a horse and leading it into classic moves and steps. (From the French: Haute école)
High Wire
A 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 wireA tight, light metallic cable, placed between two platforms not very far from the ground, on which a wire dancer perform dance steps, and acrobatic exercises such as somersaults. (Also: Low Wire).

I

Icarism
(French: Jeux Icariens) Act performed by Icarists, in which one acrobat, lying on his back, juggles another acrobat with his feet. (Also: Risley Act)
Icarist
Acrobat who juggle another acrobat with his feet. See Icarism, Risley Act.

L

Liberty
"Liberty act", "Horses at liberty"Liberty act", "Horses at liberty": Unmounted horses presented from the center of the ring by an equestrian directing his charges with his voice, body movements, and signals from a ''chambrière'' (French), or long whip.": Unmounted horses presented from the center of the ring by an equestrian directing his charges with his voice, body movements, and signals from a chambrière(French) Long whip customarily used by Equestrians for the presentation of horses "at liberty." (French), or long whip.
Low Wire
A tight, light metallic cable, placed between two platforms not very far from the ground, on which a wire dancer perform dance steps, and acrobatic exercises such as somersaults. (Also: Tight Wire)

P

Pantomime
A circus play, not necessarily mute, with a dramatic story-line (a regular feature in 18th and 19th century circus performances).
Perch-Pole
Long perch held vertically on a performer's shoulder or forehead, on the top of which an acrobat executes various balancing figures.
Pirouette
(French) A full rotation of the body in the vertical axle. Double pirouette(French) A full rotation of the body in the vertical axle. Double pirouette: two rotations, etc.: two rotations, etc.

Q

Quarterpole
A support pole placed midway between the main poles and the sidewallThe canvas wall at the periphery of a circus tent. of a circus tent.

R

Reprise
(French) Short piece performed by clowns between acts during prop changes or equipment rigging. (See also: Carpet Clown)
Risley Act
Act performed by Icarists, in which one acrobat, lying on his back, juggles another acrobat with his feet. (Named after Richard Risley Carlisle, who developed this type of act.)
Russian Barre
Flexible pole, held horizontally by two catchers, or under-standers, with which they propelled a flyerAn acrobat that is propelled in the air, either in a flying act, or in an acrobatic act (i.e. teeterboard). in acrobatic figures from and to the Barre.

S

Sidewall
The canvas wall at the periphery of a circus tent.
Slack Wire
A Tight Wire, or Low Wire, kept slack, and generally used for juggling or balancing tricks.
Spanish Web
A vertical rope, or corde lisse(French) A vertical rope used in aerial acts, either for the act itself, or to climb up to an apparatus. Called Spanish Web when covered with fabric., covered with fabric(See: Tissu).
Strap Act
Aerial act performed hanging from a pair of fabric(See: Tissu) or leather straps. See Aerial Straps.

T

Teeterboard
A seesaw made of wood, or fiberglass poles tied together, which is used to propel acrobats in the air.
Tight Wire
A tight, light metallic cable, placed between two platforms not very far from the ground, on which a wire dancer perform dance steps, and acrobatic exercises such as somersaults. (Also: Low Wire)
Trick
Any specific exercise in a circus act.

U

Under-Stander
In an acrobatic act, the person who is at the base, supporting other acrobats (for example, the base of a human pyramid).

V

Variete
(German, from the French: variété) A German variety show whose acts are mostly circus acts, performed in a cabaret atmosphere. Very popular in Germany before WWII, Varieté shows have experienced a renaissance since the 1980s.