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<div style="font-size:165%; border:none; margin:0; padding:.1em; color:#996666;">Welcome! ✫ Bienvenue! ✫ Willkommen! ✫ Добро Пожаловать!</div><div style="font-size:165%; border:none; margin:0; padding:.1em; color:#996666;">Bienvenida! ✫ Benvenuto! ✫ 歡迎 ! ✫ Vítejte! ✫ Καλώς ήρθατε!</div><div style="font-size:165%; border:none; margin:0; padding:.1em; color:#996666;">Üdvözöljük! ✫ Добре Дошли! ✫ Welkom! ✫ Ласкаво Просимо!</div><div style="font-size:165%; border:none; margin:0; padding:.1em; color:#996666;">Velkommen! ✫ Tervetuloa! ✫ Дабро Запрашаем! ✫ Välkommen!</div><br/>
 
<div style="font-size:165%; border:none; margin:0; padding:.1em; color:#996666;">Welcome! ✫ Bienvenue! ✫ Willkommen! ✫ Добро Пожаловать!</div><div style="font-size:165%; border:none; margin:0; padding:.1em; color:#996666;">Bienvenida! ✫ Benvenuto! ✫ 歡迎 ! ✫ Vítejte! ✫ Καλώς ήρθατε!</div><div style="font-size:165%; border:none; margin:0; padding:.1em; color:#996666;">Üdvözöljük! ✫ Добре Дошли! ✫ Welkom! ✫ Ласкаво Просимо!</div><div style="font-size:165%; border:none; margin:0; padding:.1em; color:#996666;">Velkommen! ✫ Tervetuloa! ✫ Дабро Запрашаем! ✫ Välkommen!</div><br/>
<div style="top:+0.2em; font-size:110%;"> Circopedia was originally created with the support of the [http://www.bigapplecircus.com/ Big Apple Circus],<br />and has been inspired and funded by the [http://www.sdrubin.org/ Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation].</div>
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<div style="top:+0.2em; font-size:110%;"> Circopedia was originally created with the support of the [http://www.bigapplecircus.com/ Big Apple Circus]<br />and inspired and funded by the [http://www.sdrubin.org/ Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation].</div>
 
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==In The Spotlight==
 
==In The Spotlight==
[[Image:Philip_Astley.jpg|right|250px|Philip Astley]]
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[[File:Gilbert_Houcke_and_Tiger.png|right|400px]]
===A SHORT HISTORY OF THE CIRCUS===
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===GILBERT HOUCKE===
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Considered by many as the greatest and most innovative tiger trainer of all times, Gilbert Houcke (1918-1984) was, from the mid-1940s up to 1971, an indisputable European circus star whose name alone could sell tickets to any circus. His abundant charisma, his elegance, his gentle methods of training, the genuine love he showed to his animals, and the unforgettable beauty and originality of his presentations, which were much ahead of their time, have made his one of the great names of the twentieth century’s European 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&mdash;and often misunderstood and distorted&mdash;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".
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Gilbert Houcke was born May 28, 1918 in Grenoble, France, to old circus aristocracy. His father was the brilliant and dapper equestrian and circus director Jean Houcke (1878-1973), whose old-world elegance (his white silk scarf, monocle and bowler hat&mdash;or, in the summer, a boater) was fondly remembered by the old circus folks and aficionados who were lucky to have known him. Jean Houcke was the grandson of Jean Léonard Houcke, a French equestrian who had settled in Sweden, where he originated his circus dynasty in the 19th century.
  
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&mdash;Price, Johnson, Balp, Coningham, Faulkes, and "Old" Sampson&mdash;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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Gilbert’s mother, born Marcelle Rancy (1894-1963), was the daughter of Alphonse Rancy (1861-1933) and granddaughter of Théodore Rancy (1818-1892). Théodore was the founder of one of France’s oldest and most respected circus dynasties, allied to practically all of Europe’s major circus families. Interestingly, Marcelle’s own mother was born Jeanne Bidel and was the daughter of the famous cat trainer and menagerie owner François Bidel (1839-1909). Thus, although the Houckes and Rancys were mostly known as equestrians, there were traces of a cat trainer in Gilbert’s DNA.  
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Gilbert Houcke was the third of Jean and Marcelle Houcke’s five children: Huguette (1915-1982), Maurice (1917-2002), Gilbert, Sacha (1923-1994) and Nadia (1925-2011). He was born during an engagement of his parents in his grandfather’s circus, the Cirque Alphonse Rancy, which was then showing in Grenoble, an important city southeast of Lyon at the foot of the French Alps. Like his talented brothers and sisters, Gilbert was trained at an early age in all circus basics, from tumbling and acrobatics to the family tradition, equestrianism in all its multiple facets.... ([[Gilbert Houcke|more...]])
  
 
==New Biographies==
 
==New Biographies==
  
* [[Irina Naumenko]], Hand Balancer
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* [[The Steben Sisters]], Aerialists
* [[The Owl and The Pussycat]], Trapeze Act
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* [[Gilbert Houcke]], Equestrian, Animal Trainer
* [[Walter Nones]], Circus Director, Animal Trainer
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* [[Alisher Aliyev]], Acrobat, Equestrian, Aerialist
* [[Norman Crider]], Juggler
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* [[Gia Eradze]], Circus Director, Animal Trainer
* [[Zhejiang Acrobatic Troupe]], Chinese Acrobatics
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* [[Rob Torres]], Clown
  
 
==New Videos==
 
==New Videos==
  
* [[Fuma_Boys_Monte_Carlo_Video_(2001)|The Fuma Boys]], Comedy Acrobatic (2001)
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* [[Triplés_Video_(2004)|Les Triplés]], Comedy Flying Act (2004)
* [[Emile_Carey_Video_(2005)|Emile Carey]], Juggler (2005)
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* [[Leontenko_Video_(1953)|Gitana Leontenko]], Ballerina On Horseback (1953)
* [[Selifanov_Video_(2001)|The Selifanov Troupe]], Flying Trapeze (2001)
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* [[Zvyagin_Video_(1953)|Zvyagin Troupe]] Flying Trampoline Act (1953)
* [[Rene_and_Alexia_Casselly_Video_(2001)|René & Alexia Casselly]], Pas-de-Deux on Elephants (2001)
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* [[Wallendas_Video_(2003)|The Wallendas]], High Wire (2003)
* [[Geddy_Pavlovich_Video_(2017)|Geddy Pavlovich]], Rola-Bola (2017)
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* [[Shanghai_Barre_Video_(2018)|The Sganghai Acrobatic Troupe]], Russian Barre (2018)
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 +
==New Oral Histories==
 +
 
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* [[Durov_Documentary_Video_(c.2000)|Vladimir Durov Documentary]] on Russian Television (c.2000)
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* [[Dolly_Jacobs_Interview_Video_(2018)|Dolly Jacobs Interview]] at The Ringling (2018)
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* [[Pinito_del_Oro_RTE_Video_(1970)|Pinito del Oro's Interview]] on Spanish Television (1970)
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* [[Eradze_Video_(2015)|Gia Eradze]]'s Interview on SSU TV (2015)
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* [[Rosa_Bouglione_Video_(2012)|Rosa Bouglione]]'s interview on Franch Television (2012)
  
==Featured Oral Histories==
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==Circopedia Books==
  
* [[Circo_Price_Video_(2017)|A Short History of Madrid's Old Circo Price]], Circus History (1970)
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* [[Circopedia Books|Philip Astley & The Horsemen who invented the Circus]], by Dominique Jando (2018)
* [[Anastasia_Dementieva_Video_(2017)|Anastasia Dementieva-Kornilova]] – Vadim Vernik Interview (2017)
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* [[Freres_Knie_Video_(1962)|''Les Frères Knie'']], Documentary (1962)
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* [[Jean_Richard_Video_(1979)|Jean Richard and Jean-Pierre Richard]] at the Cirque Jean Richard – Christian Boner Interview (1979)
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* [[Buster_Keaton_Video_(1947)|Jérôme Medrano about Buster Keaton]] at the Cirque Medrano (1947)
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==A Message from the Editor==
 
==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&mdash;and sometimes daily&mdash;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 [[Special:Contact|contact us]]: we will definitely consider your remarks and suggestions.''  
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''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&mdash;and sometimes daily&mdash;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 [[Circopedia:Contact|contact us]]: we will definitely consider your remarks and suggestions.''  
  
 
:'''Dominique Jando'''
 
:'''Dominique Jando'''
 
:Founder and Curator
 
:Founder and Curator

Latest revision as of 21:21, 22 August 2019

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 inspired and funded by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

In The Spotlight

Gilbert Houcke and Tiger.png

GILBERT HOUCKE

Considered by many as the greatest and most innovative tiger trainer of all times, Gilbert Houcke (1918-1984) was, from the mid-1940s up to 1971, an indisputable European circus star whose name alone could sell tickets to any circus. His abundant charisma, his elegance, his gentle methods of training, the genuine love he showed to his animals, and the unforgettable beauty and originality of his presentations, which were much ahead of their time, have made his one of the great names of the twentieth century’s European circus.

Gilbert Houcke was born May 28, 1918 in Grenoble, France, to old circus aristocracy. His father was the brilliant and dapper equestrian and circus director Jean Houcke (1878-1973), whose old-world elegance (his white silk scarf, monocle and bowler hat—or, in the summer, a boater) was fondly remembered by the old circus folks and aficionados who were lucky to have known him. Jean Houcke was the grandson of Jean Léonard Houcke, a French equestrian who had settled in Sweden, where he originated his circus dynasty in the 19th century.

Gilbert’s mother, born Marcelle Rancy (1894-1963), was the daughter of Alphonse Rancy (1861-1933) and granddaughter of Théodore Rancy (1818-1892). Théodore was the founder of one of France’s oldest and most respected circus dynasties, allied to practically all of Europe’s major circus families. Interestingly, Marcelle’s own mother was born Jeanne Bidel and was the daughter of the famous cat trainer(English/American) An trainer or presenter of wild cats such as tigers, lions, leopards, etc. and menagerie owner François Bidel (1839-1909). Thus, although the Houckes and Rancys were mostly known as equestrians, there were traces of a cat trainer(English/American) An trainer or presenter of wild cats such as tigers, lions, leopards, etc. in Gilbert’s DNA.

Gilbert Houcke was the third of Jean and Marcelle Houcke’s five children: Huguette (1915-1982), Maurice (1917-2002), Gilbert, Sacha (1923-1994) and Nadia (1925-2011). He was born during an engagement of his parents in his grandfather’s circus, the Cirque Alphonse Rancy, which was then showing in Grenoble, an important city southeast of Lyon at the foot of the French Alps. Like his talented brothers and sisters, Gilbert was trained at an early age in all circus basics, from tumbling and acrobatics to the family tradition, equestrianism in all its multiple facets.... (more...)

New Biographies

New Videos

New Oral Histories

Circopedia Books

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