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==In The Spotlight==
 
==In The Spotlight==
[[File:Miss_Mara_Poster_1962.jpg|right|350px]]
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[[File:Luisita_Leers_trap.jpg|right|350px]]
===MISS MARA===
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===LUISITA LEERS===
  
María Papadópoulos y Vaquero (1934-2013) was born in 1934 in San Fernando, in the province of Cádiz, Spain, to Miro Papadópoulos Stavanovich, who had Greek ancestry but came from a Romanian family, and his wife, Remedios Vaquero Canela. María was the firstborn of a very large family: She had six brothers and one sister, and all her life she would assume a sort of matriarchal responsibility for her siblings, including her brother Antonio, known as Tonito, who became a celebrated acrobat on tight wire—before developing a famous tight wire duo, The Tonitos, with his brother Jorge.
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Luisita Leers (1909-1997) was born Martha Luise Krökel in Wiesbaden, in the western state of Hesse in Germany, on October 14, 1909. Her mother, Gertrude, was a member of the Reichenbach circus family. A physically powerful woman, Gertrude acquired fame with an elegant and spectacular acrobatic act, Les Leandros, in which she was the under-stander—an unusual occurrence for a woman. Luisita never knew her biological father, who left Gertrude when Luisita was only two years old. Her mother eventually remarried with Guido Krökel, an aerial contortionist who worked with the Leers-Arvello Troupe; their act, which combined Roman Rings and acrobatic pyramids, was mostly an aerial display of strength.
  
Mara, as she became known, made her debut in the ring at age five in 1939, in Cartagena, where she performed a small trapeze act in her father's circus, Circo Florida. A very strong girl, both physically and psychologically, Mara developed in time a remarkable trapeze act in which she did most of her work swinging—not a common presentation at the time. Her tricks included heel-catches, neck-hangs, and a slide to heel-catch in full swing, which had been a specialty of the great Australian trapeze artist Winnie Colleano. Mara worked at dizzying heights, without any safeguards.
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Guido took care of Luisita's artistic education without much tenderness, and transformed her into an exceptionally strong female athlete, who was able to hold her own in the Leers-Arvellos's various exhibitions of strength. Luisita made her professional debut on March 8, 1920 in Cologne (Köln), working with the troupe on the Roman rings. She was eleven years old! Soon, she could perform a one-arm "plange" (or planche) and an "iron cross," which were then supposed to belong exclusively to a male repertoire, and she even held with one arm her hanging stepfather. Meanwhile, she was building a trapeze act of her own, in which she could display her unusual strength. She began her solo trapeze career in 1926.
  
Mara's act was quite exceptional for its time—and would remain so for many years. In April 1945, the famous Spanish circus impresario, Juan Carcellé, noticed her at the Feria of Seville, where Circo Florida was performing. Three years later, when Miro Papadopoulos sold his circus to his brother, Cristóforo Cristo, Mara was free to strike out on her own. It was the beginning of a rich and brilliant international career.... ([[Miss Mara|more...]])
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Her remarkable work on the trapeze quickly drew attention, and she was featured in some of the world's most prestigious circuses and variety theaters, from the legendary Wintergarten and Scala in Berlin to the Roxy, New York's premier movie palace, and a four-year contract with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1928 through 1933. There, she occupied a center-ring position in a program that was particularly rich in stellar aerialists: It included Winnie Colleano on the swinging trapeze, the Codonas and the Siegrist-Silbons on the flying trapeze, and the undisputed star of the show, Lillian Leitzel, on the Roman rings.... ([[Luisita Leers|more...]])
  
 
==New Essays and Biographies==
 
==New Essays and Biographies==
  
* [[George Carl]], clown==
+
* [[Alexis Gruss, Jr.]], Equestrian, Circus Owner
 +
* [[Alona Zhuravel]], Hand-Balancer
 +
* [[George Carl]], Clown
 
* [[Cedric Walker]], Circus Owner
 
* [[Cedric Walker]], Circus Owner
 
* [[The Aragón Family]], Clown Dynasty
 
* [[The Aragón Family]], Clown Dynasty
* [[Totti Alexis]], Clown
 
* [[Ross Mollison]], Circus Producer
 
  
 
==New Videos==
 
==New Videos==
  
* [[George_Carl_Video_(1979)|George Carl]], clown entrée (1979)
+
* [[Hermanos_Reyes_Video_(2022)|Los Hermanos Reyes]], juggling/perc-pole balancing (2022)
* [[George_Carl_Video_(1962)|George Carl]], clown entrée (1962)
+
* [[Dmitrieva_Video_(2022)|Ekaterina Dmitrieva]], equestrian & aerial act (2022)
* [[Tabares_Video_(2024)|The Flying Tabares]], flying trapeze (2024)
+
* [[Duo_Dadiva_Video_(2020)|Duo Dádiva]], rola-bola (2020)
* [[Duo_Gold_Video_(2020)|Ambra & Yves Nicols]], silks (2020)
+
* [[Duo_Soul_Video_(2024)|Duo Soul]], aerial hoop (2024)
* [[Mantchev_Trapeze_BAC_Video_(2012)|Andrey Mantchev]], swinging trapeze (2012)
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* [[Davio_Togni_Video_(c.1995)|Davio Togni]], hippo, rhino and leopard act (c.1995)
  
 
==New Oral Histories==
 
==New Oral Histories==

Revision as of 00:57, 13 June 2024


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Circopedia was originally inspired and funded by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

In The Spotlight

Luisita Leers trap.jpg

LUISITA LEERS

Luisita Leers (1909-1997) was born Martha Luise Krökel in Wiesbaden, in the western state of Hesse in Germany, on October 14, 1909. Her mother, Gertrude, was a member of the Reichenbach circus family. A physically powerful woman, Gertrude acquired fame with an elegant and spectacular acrobatic act, Les Leandros, in which she was the 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").—an unusual occurrence for a woman. Luisita never knew her biological father, who left Gertrude when Luisita was only two years old. Her mother eventually remarried with Guido Krökel, an aerial contortionist who worked with the Leers-Arvello Troupe; their act, which combined Roman Rings and acrobatic pyramids, was mostly an aerial display of strength.

Guido took care of Luisita's artistic education without much tenderness, and transformed her into an exceptionally strong female athlete, who was able to hold her own in the Leers-Arvellos's various exhibitions of strength. Luisita made her professional debut on March 8, 1920 in Cologne (Köln), working with the troupe on the Roman ringsA pair of small wooden or metallic rings hanging from ropes or straps, used by circus aerialists as well as competition gymnasts.. She was eleven years old! Soon, she could perform a one-arm "plange(American, From the French, ''planche'') Acrobatic figure in which one's body is held in a straight horizontal position." (or planche(French) Acrobatic figure in which one's body is held in a straight horizontal position.) and an "iron cross," which were then supposed to belong exclusively to a male repertoire, and she even held with one arm her hanging stepfather. Meanwhile, she was building a trapeze act of her own, in which she could display her unusual strength. She began her solo trapeze career in 1926.

Her remarkable work on the trapeze quickly drew attention, and she was featured in some of the world's most prestigious circuses and variety theaters, from the legendary Wintergarten and Scala in Berlin to the Roxy, New York's premier movie palace, and a four-year contract with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1928 through 1933. There, she occupied a center-ring position in a program that was particularly rich in stellar aerialists: It included Winnie Colleano on the swinging trapeze, the Codonas and the Siegrist-Silbons on 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), and the undisputed star of the show, Lillian Leitzel, on the Roman ringsA pair of small wooden or metallic rings hanging from ropes or straps, used by circus aerialists as well as competition gymnasts..... (more...)

New Essays and Biographies

New Videos

  • Los Hermanos Reyes, juggling/perc-pole balancing (2022)
  • Ekaterina Dmitrieva, equestrian & aerial act (2022)
  • Duo Dádiva, rola-bolaA board balancing on one or more cylinders piled on each other, and on which an acrobat stands performing juggling or acrobatic tricks. (2020)
  • Duo Soul, aerial hoopA heavy metallic hoop used as a variance of trapeze, usually with contortion moves. (Also called Cerceau.) (2024)
  • Davio Togni, hippo, rhino and leopard act (c.1995)

New Oral Histories

Circopedia Books

A Message from the Founder

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