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==In The Spotlight==
 
==In The Spotlight==
===ROB TORRES===
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[[File:Gilbert_Houcke_and_Tiger.png|right|400px]]
[[File:Rob_Torres_-_MondoClowns.jpeg|right|400px]]Rob Torres (1973-2018) had become, in a few short years, one of the world's most successful clowns, working with equal success in the Americas, Asia, and Europe—where he was on his way to becoming a genuine star. His untimely death stopped short the brilliant career of a young, talented clown that had conquered the affection of a large international audience.
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===GILBERT HOUCKE===
 +
Considered by many as the greatest and most innovative tiger trainer of all times, Gilbert Houcke (1918-1984) was, from the mid-1940s up to 1971, an indisputable European circus star whose name alone could sell tickets to any circus. His abundant charisma, his elegance, his gentle methods of training, the genuine love he showed to his animals, and the unforgettable beauty and originality of his presentations, which were much ahead of their time, have made his one of the great names of the twentieth century’s European circus.
  
Rob Torres was born Robert Joseph Torres in Rockland County, New York, on September 10, 1973 to Marguerite and Efrein Torres. He had one sister, Allison, and two brothers, Thomas and Andrew. His parents later moved to Hillsdale, New Jersey, where Rob attended the Pascack Valley High School. Hillsdale was not far from Manhattan and the dazzling lights of Broadway: Rob developed a taste for performance and show business that would inform the rest of his life.  
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Gilbert Houcke was born May 28, 1918 in Grenoble, France, to old circus aristocracy. His father was the brilliant and dapper equestrian and circus director Jean Houcke (1878-1973), whose old-world elegance (his white silk scarf, monocle and bowler hat—or, in the summer, a boater) was fondly remembered by the old circus folks and aficionados who were lucky to have known him. Jean Houcke was the grandson of Jean Léonard Houcke, a French equestrian who had settled in Sweden, where he originated his circus dynasty in the 19th century.
  
While in high school, he was a member of the cross-country track team and the marching band and he began to show his generous and compassionate nature; always ready to help and reach out, he was a member of the Hillsdale Boy Scout Troop and the United Methodist Church’s Youth Group, and he was a Peer Counselor. In 1990, he was inducted into the National Caring Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. This warm side of his personality was fully visible in Rob Torres’s sensitive work as a performer.
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Gilbert’s mother, born Marcelle Rancy (1894-1963), was the daughter of Alphonse Rancy (1861-1933) and granddaughter of Théodore Rancy (1818-1892). Théodore was the founder of one of France’s oldest and most respected circus dynasties, allied to practically all of Europe’s major circus families. Interestingly, Marcelle’s own mother was born Jeanne Bidel and was the daughter of the famous cat trainer and menagerie owner François Bidel (1839-1909). Thus, although the Houckes and Rancys were mostly known as equestrians, there were traces of a cat trainer in Gilbert’s DNA.  
  
In his teens, he became interested in juggling and magic and developed a love for the circus. In 1992 he joined Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Clown College in Venice, Florida, where he was trained in the traditional ways of American clowning. Upon graduation, he toured for three years with Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus, where he honed his comedic skills in front of large audiences and developed his juggling and acrobatic abilities with fellow performers.... ([[Rob Torres|more...]])
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Gilbert Houcke was the third of Jean and Marcelle Houcke’s five children: Huguette (1915-1982), Maurice (1917-2002), Gilbert, Sacha (1923-1994) and Nadia (1925-2011). He was born during an engagement of his parents in his grandfather’s circus, the Cirque Alphonse Rancy, which was then showing in Grenoble, an important city southeast of Lyon at the foot of the French Alps. Like his talented brothers and sisters, Gilbert was trained at an early age in all circus basics, from tumbling and acrobatics to the family tradition, equestrianism in all its multiple facets.... ([[Gilbert Houcke|more...]])
  
 
==New Biographies==
 
==New Biographies==
  
* [[Alisher Aliyev]], acrobat, equestrian, aerialist
+
* [[The Steben Sisters]], Aerialists
 +
* [[Gilbert Houcke]], Equestrian, Animal Trainer
 +
* [[Alisher Aliyev]], Acrobat, Equestrian, Aerialist
 
* [[Gia Eradze]], Circus Director, Animal Trainer
 
* [[Gia Eradze]], Circus Director, Animal Trainer
 
* [[Rob Torres]], Clown
 
* [[Rob Torres]], Clown
* [[Tianjin Acrobatic Troupe]], History
 
* [[Nino Frediani]], Juggler
 
  
 
==New Videos==
 
==New Videos==
  
* [[Nikulin_Vodka_Bottle_Video_(c.1965)|Yury Nikulin & Mikhail Shuydin]], Clowns (c.1965)
+
* [[Triplés_Video_(2004)|Les Triplés]], Comedy Flying Act (2004)
* [[Krachinov_Video_(2004)|Simeon Krachinov]], Juggler (2004)
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* [[Leontenko_Video_(1953)|Gitana Leontenko]], Ballerina On Horseback (1953)
* [[Nikulin_Weight_Lifting_Video_(c.1965)|Yury Nikulin & Mikhail Shuydin]], Clowns (c.1965)
+
* [[Zvyagin_Video_(1953)|Zvyagin Troupe]] Flying Trampoline Act (1953)
* [[Nikulin_Snake_Video_(c.1970)|Yury Nikulin & Mikhail Shuydin]], Clowns (c.1970)
+
* [[Wallendas_Video_(2003)|The Wallendas]], High Wire (2003)
* [[White_Birds_Video_(2009)|The White Birds]], Flying Trapeze (2009)
+
* [[Shanghai_Barre_Video_(2018)|The Sganghai Acrobatic Troupe]], Russian Barre (2018)
  
 
==New Oral Histories==
 
==New Oral Histories==
  
 +
* [[Durov_Documentary_Video_(c.2000)|Vladimir Durov Documentary]] on Russian Television (c.2000)
 +
* [[Dolly_Jacobs_Interview_Video_(2018)|Dolly Jacobs Interview]] at The Ringling (2018)
 
* [[Pinito_del_Oro_RTE_Video_(1970)|Pinito del Oro's Interview]] on Spanish Television (1970)
 
* [[Pinito_del_Oro_RTE_Video_(1970)|Pinito del Oro's Interview]] on Spanish Television (1970)
 
* [[Eradze_Video_(2015)|Gia Eradze]]'s Interview on SSU TV (2015)
 
* [[Eradze_Video_(2015)|Gia Eradze]]'s Interview on SSU TV (2015)
 
* [[Rosa_Bouglione_Video_(2012)|Rosa Bouglione]]'s interview on Franch Television (2012)
 
* [[Rosa_Bouglione_Video_(2012)|Rosa Bouglione]]'s interview on Franch Television (2012)
* [[Circo_Price_Video_(2017)|A Short History of Madrid's Old Circo Price]], Documentary (1970)
 
* [[Anastasia_Dementieva_Video_(2017)|Anastasia Dementieva-Kornilova]] – Vadim Vernik Interview (2017)
 
  
 
==Circopedia Books==
 
==Circopedia Books==

Revision as of 20:21, 22 August 2019

Welcome! ✫ Bienvenue! ✫ Willkommen! ✫ Добро Пожаловать!
Bienvenida! ✫ Benvenuto! ✫ 歡迎 ! ✫ Vítejte! ✫ Καλώς ήρθατε!
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Velkommen! ✫ Tervetuloa! ✫ Дабро Запрашаем! ✫ Välkommen!

Circopedia was originally created with the support of the Big Apple Circus
and inspired and funded by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

In The Spotlight

Gilbert Houcke and Tiger.png

GILBERT HOUCKE

Considered by many as the greatest and most innovative tiger trainer of all times, Gilbert Houcke (1918-1984) was, from the mid-1940s up to 1971, an indisputable European circus star whose name alone could sell tickets to any circus. His abundant charisma, his elegance, his gentle methods of training, the genuine love he showed to his animals, and the unforgettable beauty and originality of his presentations, which were much ahead of their time, have made his one of the great names of the twentieth century’s European circus.

Gilbert Houcke was born May 28, 1918 in Grenoble, France, to old circus aristocracy. His father was the brilliant and dapper equestrian and circus director Jean Houcke (1878-1973), whose old-world elegance (his white silk scarf, monocle and bowler hat—or, in the summer, a boater) was fondly remembered by the old circus folks and aficionados who were lucky to have known him. Jean Houcke was the grandson of Jean Léonard Houcke, a French equestrian who had settled in Sweden, where he originated his circus dynasty in the 19th century.

Gilbert’s mother, born Marcelle Rancy (1894-1963), was the daughter of Alphonse Rancy (1861-1933) and granddaughter of Théodore Rancy (1818-1892). Théodore was the founder of one of France’s oldest and most respected circus dynasties, allied to practically all of Europe’s major circus families. Interestingly, Marcelle’s own mother was born Jeanne Bidel and was the daughter of the famous cat trainer(English/American) An trainer or presenter of wild cats such as tigers, lions, leopards, etc. and menagerie owner François Bidel (1839-1909). Thus, although the Houckes and Rancys were mostly known as equestrians, there were traces of a cat trainer(English/American) An trainer or presenter of wild cats such as tigers, lions, leopards, etc. in Gilbert’s DNA.

Gilbert Houcke was the third of Jean and Marcelle Houcke’s five children: Huguette (1915-1982), Maurice (1917-2002), Gilbert, Sacha (1923-1994) and Nadia (1925-2011). He was born during an engagement of his parents in his grandfather’s circus, the Cirque Alphonse Rancy, which was then showing in Grenoble, an important city southeast of Lyon at the foot of the French Alps. Like his talented brothers and sisters, Gilbert was trained at an early age in all circus basics, from tumbling and acrobatics to the family tradition, equestrianism in all its multiple facets.... (more...)

New Biographies

New Videos

New Oral Histories

Circopedia Books

A Message from the Editor

CIRCOPEDIA is a constantly evolving and expanding archive of the international circus. New videos, biographies, essays, and documents are added to the site on a weekly—and sometimes daily—basis. Keep visiting us: even if today you don't find what you're looking for, it may well be here tomorrow! And if you are a serious circus scholar and spot a factual or historical inaccuracy, do not hesitate to contact us: we will definitely consider your remarks and suggestions.

Dominique Jando
Founder and Curator