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==In The Spotlight==
 
==In The Spotlight==
  
===PINITO DEL ORO===
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===ALFRED COURT===
[[File:Pinito_del_Oro_on_trapeze.jpeg|right|300px]]Pinito del Oro (1931-2017) was a genuine circus star, an iconic personality of the Spanish entertainment scene, and one of the world’s top aerialists in the 1950s and 1960s. Beautiful, with a natural elegance and a radiant smile—and indeed extremely talented—she was featured with her outstanding Washington trapeze act in Europe’s most prestigious circuses, and had been a center-ring headliner with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the United States for seven consecutive seasons. She was also courageous and resilient: she survived three near-fatal accidents, and each time resumed her precarious career on the trapeze.
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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.
  
She was born Cristina María del Pino Segura on November 6, 1931 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (on Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s Canary Islands off the coast of southern Morocco). Spain was in political turmoil at the time, entering a period of disorder that would lead to the Spanish Civil War, and Pinito’s father, José Segura, had decided to take his small family circus company to the Canary Islands, far from the mainland’s troubles, and in an area also totally devoid of competition. (The Spanish circus scene at the time was particularly active.)
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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.
  
José Segura was not born into the circus: He came from a middle-class family of Alcoy, in the Province of Alicante (southeast of Spain), where his parents ran a delicatessen. They wanted José to be a doctor, but alas, José’s father died unexpectedly, and there was no money left to pay for his studies. One of José’s uncles stepped in—but he wanted José to enter a seminary and embrace priesthood. This didn’t suit José’s bohemian lifestyle and his taste for pretty girls; he ran away and joined a traveling comedian and puppeteer named Anastasiano, who initiated him to the performing arts and taught him rudiments of acrobatics, juggling and other circus skills.... ([[Pinito del Oro|more...]])
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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).
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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==
  
* [[Esqueda_Family_Video_(1990)|The Esqueda Family]], Unicycle and Juggling Act (1990)
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* [[Guangdong_Prinsessan_Video_(1995)|Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe]], Porté-Lancé (1995)
* [[Rodolfo_Reyes_Video_(1988)|Rodolfo Reyes]], Head Balancer (1988)
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* [[Serafimovich_Video_(1995)|Elena Serafimovich]], Aerial Hoop (1995)
* [[Trio_Zalewski_Video_(1987)|Trio Zalewski]], Porté-Lancé Acrobatics (1987)
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* [[Stauberti_Video_(2018)|Duo Stauberti]], Perch-Pole Balancing (2018)
* [[Trio_Beautiful_Video_(2007)|Trio Beautiful]], Hand-to-Hand Balancing (2007)
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* [[Vavilov_Video_(2018)|The Vavilov Troupe]], Porté-Lancé (2018)
* [[Housch-Ma-Housch_Flea_Paper_Video_(2005)|Housch-Ma-Housch]], Clown (2005)
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* [[Pyongyang_Rola-Bola_Video_(2000)|Pyongyang Troupe]], Rola-Bola Act (2000)
  
 
==Featured Oral Histories==
 
==Featured Oral Histories==
  
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* [[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==
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 +
* [[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 01:18, 21 July 2018

Welcome! ✫ Bienvenue! ✫ Willkommen! ✫ Добро Пожаловать!
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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