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==In The Spotlight==
 
==In The Spotlight==
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[[File:John_Bill_Ricketts.jpg|right|300px]]
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===JOHN BILL RICKETTS===
  
===WALTER NONES===
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On April 3, 1793, a crowd of theatergoers, horsemanship enthusiasts, and prying citizens gathered at the corner of Market and Twelfth Streets in Philadelphia to witness the debut performance of Mr. John Bill Ricketts's company at the Circus. The Circus was a roofless arena that could accommodate some eight-hundred spectators (divided between pit and boxes) surrounding a circular riding space filled in with a mixture of soil and sawdust, forty-two feet in diameter—the ring.
[[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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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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The wooden construction had been erected in a matter of weeks by Ricketts, a British equestrian who had arrived from Scotland the previous year and had quickly established a riding school in Philadelphia, then the capital of the newly formed United States of America. Ricketts (1769-1802) had followed the example of [https://www.amazon.com/Philip-Astley-Horsemen-invented-Circus/dp/1984041312/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519686193&sr=8-1&keywords=Philip+astley+and+the+Horsemen Philip Astley], who had established just such a riding school in London in 1768, at the foot of Westminster Bridge, before creating there the first modern circus two years later.
  
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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Before long, a small group of performers from Ricketts's former British company joined him in Philadelphia. Among them were his brother Francis (1777-?), an equestrian and tumbler; Mr. Spinacuta, the rope-dancer, along with his wife, an attractive equestrienne who rode two horses at full gallop; Mr. McDonald, another tumbler who performed comic acrobatic intermezzos as the Clown; and Ricketts's pupil, young Master Strobach. The performance included a great many "feats of horsemanship," most of them presented by Ricketts himself, rope-dancing, some tumbling, and McDonald's acrobatic parodies. This was the first circus show ever put on in America. ([[John Bill Ricketts|more...]])
 
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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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==New Biographies==
 
==New Biographies==
  
 +
* [[Annie Fratellini]], Clown, Circus Director
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* [[Joel Baker]], Clown
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* [[Irina Naumenko]], Hand Balancer
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* [[The Owl and The Pussycat]], Trapeze Act
 
* [[Walter Nones]], Circus Director, Animal Trainer
 
* [[Walter Nones]], Circus Director, Animal Trainer
* [[Norman Crider]], Juggler
 
* [[Zhejiang Acrobatic Troupe]], Chinese Acrobatics
 
* [[Gene Mendez]], High Wire Artist
 
* [[Franz Czeisler (Tihany)]], Magician, Circus Owner
 
  
 
==New Videos==
 
==New Videos==
  
* [[Stynka_Trio_Video_(2017)|Stynka Trio]], Russian Barre (2017)
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* [[Ivan_and_Maria_Video_(2017)|Ivan & Maria]], Upright Standing Cradle (2017)
* [[China_Troupe_Diabolo_Video_(2005)|The China Acrobatic Troupe]], Diabolo Act (2005)
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* [[Piotr_Prostetsov_Video_(2000)|Piotr Prostetsov]], Dog Act (2000)
* [[Picaso_Jr_Video_(2015)|Picaso, Jr.]], Juggler (2015)
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* [[Pyongyang_Teeterboard_and_Russian_Barre_Video_(2000)|Pyongyang Troupe]], Teeterboard and Russian Barre (2000)
* [[Florian_and_Jochen_Video_(2005)|Florian & Jochen]], Jugglers (2005)
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* [[Moshizuki_Video_(2018)|Yusaku Moshizuki]], Diabolo Act (2018)
* [[Nanjing_Troupe_Diabolo_Video_(2001)|The Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe]], Diabolo Act (2001)
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* [[Etaix_Fratellini_Video_(1975)|Pierre Etaix & Annie Fratellini]], Clowns (1975)
  
 
==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 22:04, 19 April 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

John Bill Ricketts.jpg

JOHN BILL RICKETTS

On April 3, 1793, a crowd of theatergoers, horsemanship enthusiasts, and prying citizens gathered at the corner of Market and Twelfth Streets in Philadelphia to witness the debut performance of Mr. John Bill Ricketts's company at the Circus. The Circus was a roofless arena that could accommodate some eight-hundred spectators (divided between pit and boxes) surrounding a circular riding space filled in with a mixture of soil and sawdust, forty-two feet in diameter—the ring.

The wooden construction(French) A temporary circus building, originally made of wood and canvas, and later, of steel elements supporting a canvas top and wooden wall. Also known as a "semi-construction." had been erected in a matter of weeks by Ricketts, a British equestrian who had arrived from Scotland the previous year and had quickly established a riding school in Philadelphia, then the capital of the newly formed United States of America. Ricketts (1769-1802) had followed the example of Philip Astley, who had established just such a riding school in London in 1768, at the foot of Westminster Bridge, before creating there the first modern circus two years later.

Before long, a small group of performers from Ricketts's former British company joined him in Philadelphia. Among them were his brother Francis (1777-?), an equestrian and tumbler; Mr. Spinacuta, the rope-dancer, along with his wife, an attractive equestrienneA female equestrian, or horse trainer, horse presenter, or acrobat on horseback. who rode two horses at full gallop; Mr. McDonald, another tumbler who performed comic acrobatic intermezzos as the Clown; and Ricketts's pupil, young Master Strobach. The performance included a great many "feats of horsemanship," most of them presented by Ricketts himself, rope-dancing, some tumbling, and McDonald's acrobatic parodies. This was the first circus show ever put on in America. (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