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==In The Spotlight==
 
==In The Spotlight==
  
===WALTER NONES===
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===ALFRED COURT===
[[File:Walter_Nones_and_tiger.jpeg|right|400px]]Even though he was not born in the circus, Walter Nones (1934-2016) was, in Italy, a reformer of the classic circus form, one of the few circus visionaries who have marked the second half of the 20th century (from Arturo Castilla to Jean Richard and Gerry Cottle) and built true circus empires in their own countries equating in strength the circus empires of yore.
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[[File:Alfred_Court_(c.1930).jpg|300px|right]]
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Alfred Court (1883-1977) is perhaps the most remarkable French circus personality of the first half of the twentieth century. Beginning his career as an outstanding acrobat, he became a successful, yet adventurous, circus entrepreneur, first in Mexico and later in Europe, before ending as one of the greatest wild animal trainers of all times—and as such, a major circus star in Europe and America.
  
Walter Nones was also a remarkable acrobat and a superb animal trainer; he had an engaging personality—as much when ha addressed his audience as when, away from the spotlight, he acted as the "general" of his enterprises, or in his dealing with the media and the Italian administration. Endowed with a solid intuition and a rare ability for taking calculated risks, he was able to change directions and diversify his company many times; his constant imperative was novelty, for which he was faithful to the style and methods of the great Italian variety entrepreneurs.
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He was born into a wealthy family in Marseille, France, on January 1, 1883. His father, Joseph Court-Payen, worked for the family’s soap business (Marseille is France’s soap industry capital), and his mother was the daughter of the Marquis de Clapier, a rich aristocrat well introduced in political circles. Alfred was the youngest of a family of ten children.
  
Walter Nones was able to build with his wife, Moira Orfei, a legend that went well beyond their circus—a circus that was certainly unique in the fact that it traveled constantly for fifty-five years without ever taking a true break! Nones was among the Italian pioneers of the internationalization of show business and, as such, he even became instrumental in the establishment of new relations between the former URSS and the Vatican.
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Considering his pedigree, chances that Alfred Court would become a circus acrobat were slim at best. A strong-willed kid, young Alfred was by no means rebellious, and by his own account, he had a happy childhood. But he was the last-born of a large brood, and was not necessarily expected to join in the family business. This gave him some freedom of mind. Furthermore, his parents never discouraged his early passion for circus and acrobatics—a passion he shared with his older brother, Jules (1880-1955).
  
Walter Nones was born in Trent, capital of the Trentino province in northern Italy, on June 18, 1934, the oldest of the four children of Giuseppe Nones and his wife, Adele, née Medini, a circus artist. Giuseppe was a cabinet maker; he spent his life between his workshop and the gym, following in that an old Trent tradition: A great number of its citizens had developed over the years a passion for gymnastics.... ([[Walter Nones|more...]])
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Circa 1890, Alfred and Jules Court were sent to a Jesuit school in the Prado, a seaside borough of Marseille. Alfred and Jules also started training in gymnastics, which was all the rage among young men at the time: Society amateur circuses were flourishing then—like the famous Cirque Molier in Paris—and these were the times when another sports enthusiast, the Baron Pierre de Coubertin, revived the Olympic Games (in 1896).
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Over the years, Court developed an amazing strength, concealed by his slender build, and an outstanding talent on horizontal bars. An arduous gymnastics specialty, horizontal bars are also one of the most difficult acrobatic acts in the circus repertoire, and is rarely seen today. Yet it was relatively popular and quite alluring in the 1890s, and this was the specialty young Alfred chose to embrace for his upcoming circus debut. ([[Alfred Court|more...]])
  
 
==New Biographies==
 
==New Biographies==
  
* [[Walter Nones]], Circus Director, Animal Trainer
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* [[The Kornilov Dynasty]], Elephant Trainers
* [[Norman Crider]], Juggler
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* [[Sergei Korolev]], Acrobat
* [[Zhejiang Acrobatic Troupe]], Chinese Acrobatics
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* [[Victor Fomine]], Acrobat, Circus Coach
* [[Gene Mendez]], High Wire Artist
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* [[Annie Fratellini]], Clown, Circus Director
* [[Franz Czeisler (Tihany)]], Magician, Circus Owner
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* [[Joel Baker]], Clown
  
 
==New Videos==
 
==New Videos==
  
* [[Stynka_Trio_Video_(2017)|Stynka Trio]], Russian Barre (2017)
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* [[Stauberti_Video_(2018)|Duo Stauberti]], Perch-Pole Balancing (2018)
* [[China_Troupe_Diabolo_Video_(2005)|The China Acrobatic Troupe]], Diabolo Act (2005)
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* [[Vavilov_Video_(2018)|The Vavilov Troupe]], Porté-Lancé (2018)
* [[Picaso_Jr_Video_(2015)|Picaso, Jr.]], Juggler (2015)
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* [[Pyongyang_Rola-Bola_Video_(2000)|Pyongyang Troupe]], Rola-Bola Act (2000)
* [[Florian_and_Jochen_Video_(2005)|Florian & Jochen]], Jugglers (2005)
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* [[Shanghai_Troupe_Video_(2018)|Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe]], Hand-to-Hand Balancing (2018)
* [[Nanjing_Troupe_Diabolo_Video_(2001)|The Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe]], Diabolo Act (2001)
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* [[Ustyantsev_Video_(2000)|Ustyantsev & Kaibzhanov]], Clowns (2000)
  
 
==Featured Oral Histories==
 
==Featured Oral Histories==
  
 +
* [[Circo_Price_Video_(2017)|A Short History of Madrid's Old Circo Price]], Circus History (1970)
 
* [[Anastasia_Dementieva_Video_(2017)|Anastasia Dementieva-Kornilova]] – Vadim Vernik Interview (2017)
 
* [[Anastasia_Dementieva_Video_(2017)|Anastasia Dementieva-Kornilova]] – Vadim Vernik Interview (2017)
 
* [[Freres_Knie_Video_(1962)|''Les Frères Knie'']], Documentary (1962)
 
* [[Freres_Knie_Video_(1962)|''Les Frères Knie'']], Documentary (1962)
 
* [[Jean_Richard_Video_(1979)|Jean Richard and Jean-Pierre Richard]] at the Cirque Jean Richard – Christian Boner Interview (1979)
 
* [[Jean_Richard_Video_(1979)|Jean Richard and Jean-Pierre Richard]] at the Cirque Jean Richard – Christian Boner Interview (1979)
 
* [[Buster_Keaton_Video_(1947)|Jérôme Medrano about Buster Keaton]] at the Cirque Medrano (1947)
 
* [[Buster_Keaton_Video_(1947)|Jérôme Medrano about Buster Keaton]] at the Cirque Medrano (1947)
* [[Moira_Orfei_Video_(2012)|Moira Orfei]], Circus Owner – Davide Maggio Interview (2012)
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==Featured Circopedia Book==
 +
 
 +
* [[Circopedia Books|Philip Astley & The Horsemen who invented the Circus]], by Dominique Jando (2018)
  
 
==A Message from the Editor==
 
==A Message from the Editor==

Latest revision as of 23:06, 14 July 2018

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

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

In The Spotlight

ALFRED COURT

Alfred Court (c.1930).jpg

Alfred Court (1883-1977) is perhaps the most remarkable French circus personality of the first half of the twentieth century. Beginning his career as an outstanding acrobat, he became a successful, yet adventurous, circus entrepreneur, first in Mexico and later in Europe, before ending as one of the greatest wild animal trainers of all times—and as such, a major circus star in Europe and America.

He was born into a wealthy family in Marseille, France, on January 1, 1883. His father, Joseph Court-Payen, worked for the family’s soap business (Marseille is France’s soap industry capital), and his mother was the daughter of the Marquis de Clapier, a rich aristocrat well introduced in political circles. Alfred was the youngest of a family of ten children.

Considering his pedigree, chances that Alfred Court would become a circus acrobat were slim at best. A strong-willed kid, young Alfred was by no means rebellious, and by his own account, he had a happy childhood. But he was the last-born of a large brood, and was not necessarily expected to join in the family business. This gave him some freedom of mind. Furthermore, his parents never discouraged his early passion for circus and acrobatics—a passion he shared with his older brother, Jules (1880-1955).

Circa 1890, Alfred and Jules Court were sent to a Jesuit school in the Prado, a seaside borough of Marseille. Alfred and Jules also started training in gymnastics, which was all the rage among young men at the time: Society amateur circuses were flourishing then—like the famous Cirque Molier in Paris—and these were the times when another sports enthusiast, the Baron Pierre de Coubertin, revived the Olympic Games (in 1896).

Over the years, Court developed an amazing strength, concealed by his slender build, and an outstanding talent on horizontal bars. An arduous gymnastics specialty, horizontal bars are also one of the most difficult acrobatic acts in the circus repertoire, and is rarely seen today. Yet it was relatively popular and quite alluring in the 1890s, and this was the specialty young Alfred chose to embrace for his upcoming circus debut. (more...)

New Biographies

New Videos

Featured Oral Histories

Featured Circopedia Book

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