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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===
  
===GIUSEPPE CHIARINI===
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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:Chiarini_Poster_1881.jpg|right|300px]]
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Giuseppe Chiarini (1823-1897) was perhaps the most influential circus director of the nineteenth century: During a professional career that spanned fifty-eight years, his extensive and incessant international tours led him from Europe to North and South America, to India and Asia, and down to Australia. In many places that had not yet been exposed to the circus, Chiarini’s was the first circus the locals had ever seen—and this exposure sometimes triggered there the creation of an indigenous circus inspired by Chiarini’s shows.
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Over the years, Chiarini performed for Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, Emperors Maximilian I of Mexico, Dom Pedro of Brazil, Mitsuhito of Japan, King Rama V of Siam, an assortment of Indian Rajahs, and for various government officials and politicians. His Royal Italian Circus—which could become Royal Spanish Circus when needed—was in fact an American enterprise based in California. A true circus man, Chiarini was indubitably a citizen of the world.
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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.
  
Giuseppe Chiarini came from a large and ancient Italian family of traveling entertainers, whose first recorded appearance was at the Foire Saint-Laurent, one of France’s oldest fairs, in 1580. Many Chiarinis, more or less directly related to Giuseppe, have since been chronicled in popular entertainment and circus history—a very diverse crowd of acrobats, ropedancers, puppeteers, ballet dancers, and equestrians.
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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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In his novel, Die Vagabunden (1895), the German poet Karl von Holtei immortalized one of them, Francesco Chiarini; in the 1780s, this Chiarini managed a company of acrobats and puppeteers, and ran a very successful ''Théâtre d’Ombres Chinoises'' (shadow puppet theater). His daughter, Angélique, a celebrated equestrienne, had been featured in 1793 at the Amphithéâtre Franconi—the former Amphithéâtre Astley—in Paris, and later in the troupe of Jacques Tourniaire.... ([[Giuseppe Chiarini|more...]])
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==New Biographies==
 
==New Biographies==
  
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* [[Annie Fratellini]], Clown, Circus Director
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* [[Joel Baker]], Clown
 
* [[Irina Naumenko]], Hand Balancer
 
* [[Irina Naumenko]], Hand Balancer
 
* [[The Owl and The Pussycat]], Trapeze Act
 
* [[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
 
  
 
==New Videos==
 
==New Videos==
  
* [[Charlie_Rivel_Video_(1965)|Charlie Rivel]], Clown (1965)
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* [[Ivan_and_Maria_Video_(2017)|Ivan & Maria]], Upright Standing Cradle (2017)
* [[Circo_Price_Video_(2017)|A Short History of Madrid's Old Circo Price]], Oral History (1970)
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* [[Piotr_Prostetsov_Video_(2000)|Piotr Prostetsov]], Dog Act (2000)
* [[Irina_Naumenko_Video_(2017)|Irina Naumenko]], Hand-Balancer (2017)
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* [[Pyongyang_Teeterboard_and_Russian_Barre_Video_(2000)|Pyongyang Troupe]], Teeterboard and Russian Barre (2000)
* [[Boyarinov_and_Ivanov_Video_(1992)|Pavel Boyarinov & Aleksei Ivanov]], Clowns (1992)
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* [[Moshizuki_Video_(2018)|Yusaku Moshizuki]], Diabolo Act (2018)
* [[Aleksandr_Kiss_Video_(1970)|Aleksandr Kiss]], Juggler (1970)
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* [[Etaix_Fratellini_Video_(1975)|Pierre Etaix & Annie Fratellini]], Clowns (1975)
  
 
==Featured Oral Histories==
 
==Featured Oral Histories==
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* [[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)
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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 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