Difference between revisions of "Main Page"

From Circopedia

(10 intermediate revisions by the same user not shown)
Line 17: Line 17:
  
 
==In The Spotlight==
 
==In The Spotlight==
 +
[[File:Luisita_Leers_trap.jpg|right|350px]]
 +
===LUISITA LEERS===
  
===ALEXIS GRUSS, Jr.===
+
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.
[[File:Alexis_Gruss,_Jr.jpg|right|450px]]
+
He had been called "Le seigneur des chevaux" ("The Lord of the Horses"): Alexis Gruss (1944-2024) was for many years France’s leading circus personality, a living legend and a true media star, as well as a distinctively innovative circus creator. Charismatic and multi-talented, he was also recognized as one of the greatest horse trainers of his time, both in the circus world and in equestrian circles.
+
  
Alexis Jacques André Gruss was born in his parents' living trailer on April 24, 1944, in Bart, a French village near the city of Montbéliard, in the east of France, not far from the Swiss border. He was fourth generation of a circus family of Alsatian and Italian mixed origins. His father was Théophile André Gruss, better known as Dédé (1919-2003), a talented bareback rider who became not only a circus director, but also a popular auguste. Alexis’s mother, Hélène Maud (1919-2003), née Lautour, came for the world of traveling menageries.
+
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.
  
Alexis Gruss grew up in the Cirque Gruss-Jeannet, the circus co-owned and managed by his uncle, Alexis Gruss, Sr. (1909-1985), André Gruss, and their friend Lucien Jeannet (1902-1977), heir to a dynasty of traveling animal trainers; it was one of France’s premier circuses, variously known as ''Radio-Circus'', ''Medrano Voyageur'', ''Cirque-Zoo Jean Richard'', and ''Grand Cirque de France''. There, Alexis, his brother Patrick (b.1950), and his sisters Bella (1948-2012) and Martine (1956-1994) were trained in all circus disciplines by their father and their uncle Alexis—who was to become France’s leading Equestrian Master.
+
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...]])
 
+
In 1970, Alexis married Gipsy Bouglione (b. 1947), the daughter of Firmin Bouglione, Sr., a gifted tightwire artist and an outstanding juggler, who was to become one of the most versatile and brilliant circus artists of her generation. In 1969, after a very bad season, Alexis Gruss, Sr. left the Cirque Gruss-Jeannet to join the famous French comedian, actor, and amateur lion trainer Jean Richard, who had just opened his very own circus; two years later, Lucien Jeannet also called it quits.
+
 
+
Left under Alexis and his father’s management, the circus united forces in 1972 with Roger Lanzac, the iconic ringmaster of the French television show ''La Piste aux Étoiles''. Alas, Under the title ''La Piste d’Or'', the new venture didn’t meet with the success they had hoped for, and the show folded before the end of the season. At long last, Alexis convinced André that they should tour under their own name, ''Gruss''—but, after so many different identities, the title ''Cirque Gruss'' had no pull. By the summer of 1974, the family enterprise had reached the end of the rope....  ([[Alexis Gruss, Jr.|more...]])
+
  
 
==New Essays and Biographies==
 
==New Essays and Biographies==
Line 40: Line 36:
 
==New Videos==
 
==New Videos==
  
* [[Alexis_Gruss_Liberty_Video_(2022)|Alexis Gruss]], liberty presentation (2022)
+
* [[Hermanos_Reyes_Video_(2022)|Los Hermanos Reyes]], juggling/perc-pole balancing (2022)
* [[Folies_Gruss_Video_(2023)|''Les Folies Gruss'']], promotional trailer (2023)
+
* [[Dmitrieva_Video_(2022)|Ekaterina Dmitrieva]], equestrian & aerial act (2022)
* [[Koechlin_Video_(2023)|The Koechlin Twins]], aerial hoop (2023)
+
* [[Duo_Dadiva_Video_(2020)|Duo Dádiva]], rola-bola (2020)
* [[Flying_Gonzalez_Video_(2024)|The Flying González]], flying trapeze (2024)
+
* [[Duo_Soul_Video_(2024)|Duo Soul]], aerial hoop (2024)
* [[Gaston_%26_Roli_Video_(2017)|Gaston & Roli]], clown entrée (2017)
+
* [[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


Welcome! ✫ Bienvenue! ✫ Willkommen! ✫ Добро Пожаловать!
Bienvenida! ✫ Benvenuto! ✫ 歡迎 ! ✫ Vítejte! ✫ Καλώς ήρθατ ε!
Üdvözöljük! ✫ Добре Дошли! ✫ Welkom! ✫ Ласкаво Просимо!
Velkommen! ✫ Tervetuloa! ✫ Дабро Запрашаем! ✫ Välkommen!

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