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==In The Spotlight==
 
==In The Spotlight==
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[[Image:Philip_Astley.jpg|right|250px|Philip Astley]]
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===A SHORT HISTORY OF THE CIRCUS===
  
===PINITO DEL ORO===
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If the history of theater, ballet, opera, vaudeville, movies, and television is generally well documented, serious studies of circus history are sparse, and known only to a few circus enthusiasts and scholars. What little the public at large knows, on the other hand, is circus history as told over the years by imaginative circus press agents, and repeated—and often misunderstood and distorted—by writers of popular fiction, Hollywood screenwriters, and journalists too busy to investigate further. One of the most popular misapprehensions about circus history is the oft-repeated idea that circus dates back to the Roman antiquity. But the Roman circus was in actuality the precursor of the modern racetrack; the only common denominator between Roman and modern circuses is the word itself, ''circus'', which means in Latin as in English, "circle".
[[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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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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The modern circus was actually created in England by [https://www.amazon.com/dp/1984041312/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1517698824&sr=8-2&keywords=Philip+Astley+and+the+Horsemen Philip Astley] (1742-1814), a former cavalry Sergeant-Major turned showman. The son of a cabinet-maker and veneer-cutter, Astley had served in the Seven Years' War (1756-63) as part of Colonel Elliott's 15th Light Dragons regiment, where he displayed a remarkable talent as a horse-breaker and trainer. Upon his discharge, Astley chose to imitate the trick-riders who performed, with increasing success, all over Europe. Jacob Bates, an English equestrian based in the German States, who performed as far away as Russia (1764-65) and America (1772-73), was the first of these showmen to make a mark. Bates's emulators—Price, Johnson, Balp, Coningham, Faulkes, and "Old" Sampson—had become fixtures of London's pleasure gardens and provided Philip Astley with his inspiration. ([[SHORT HISTORY OF THE CIRCUS|more...]])
 
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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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==New Biographies==
 
==New Biographies==
  
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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
 
* [[Norman Crider]], Juggler
* [[Zhejiang Acrobatic Troupe]], Chinese Acrobatics
 
* [[Gene Mendez]], High Wire Artist
 
* [[Franz Czeisler (Tihany)]], Magician, Circus Owner
 
  
 
==New Videos==
 
==New Videos==
  
* [[Charlie_Rivel_Video_(1969)|Charlie Rivel]], Clown (1969)
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* [[New_Dollies_Video_(1979)|The New Dollies]], Bicycle Act (1979)
* [[Esqueda_Family_Video_(1990)|The Esqueda Family]], Unicycle and Juggling Act (1990)
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* [[Felice_Aguilar_Video_(2017)|Felice Aguilar]], Contortionist (2017)
* [[Rodolfo_Reyes_Video_(1988)|Rodolfo Reyes]], Head Balancer (1988)
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* [[Naraieva_Video_(2017)|Vladyslava Naraieva]], Hand Balancer (2017)
* [[Trio_Zalewski_Video_(1987)|Trio Zalewski]], Porté-Lancé Acrobatics (1987)
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* [[Lidya_Doveiko_Video_(1972)|Lidya & Irina Doveiko and Mikhail Algin]], German Wheel (1972)
* [[Trio_Beautiful_Video_(2007)|Trio Beautiful]], Hand-to-Hand Balancing (2007)
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* [[Kelli_Ramazini_Video_(2018)|Kelli Ramazini]], Trapeze (2018)
  
 
==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)
 
  
 
==A Message from the Editor==
 
==A Message from the Editor==

Latest revision as of 02:16, 14 February 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

Philip Astley

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE CIRCUS

If the history of theater, ballet, opera, vaudeville, movies, and television is generally well documented, serious studies of circus history are sparse, and known only to a few circus enthusiasts and scholars. What little the public at large knows, on the other hand, is circus history as told over the years by imaginative circus press agents, and repeated—and often misunderstood and distorted—by writers of popular fiction, Hollywood screenwriters, and journalists too busy to investigate further. One of the most popular misapprehensions about circus history is the oft-repeated idea that circus dates back to the Roman antiquity. But the Roman circus was in actuality the precursor of the modern racetrack; the only common denominator between Roman and modern circuses is the word itself, circus, which means in Latin as in English, "circle".

The modern circus was actually created in England by Philip Astley (1742-1814), a former cavalry Sergeant-Major turned showman. The son of a cabinet-maker and veneer-cutter, Astley had served in the Seven Years' War (1756-63) as part of Colonel Elliott's 15th Light Dragons regiment, where he displayed a remarkable talent as a horse-breaker and trainer. Upon his discharge, Astley chose to imitate the trickAny specific exercise in a circus act.-riders who performed, with increasing success, all over Europe. Jacob Bates, an English equestrian based in the German States, who performed as far away as Russia (1764-65) and America (1772-73), was the first of these showmen to make a mark. Bates's emulators—Price, Johnson, Balp, Coningham, Faulkes, and "Old" Sampson—had become fixtures of London's pleasure gardens and provided Philip Astley with his inspiration. (more...)

New Biographies

New Videos

Featured Oral Histories

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