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==In The Spotlight==
 
==In The Spotlight==
[[Image:Philip_Astley.jpg|right|250px|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".
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===CIRQUE MEDRANO, PARIS===
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[[File:Medrano_Farewell.jpg|right|thumb|350px|Violette and Jérôme Medrano (1963)]]
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(...) In February of 1959, following the advice of his lawyers, Jérôme Medrano created a new corporate entity for the exploitation of his circus—in all probability to generate new legal hurdles for the Bougliones and continue to stall a situation whose obvious conclusion was unfortunately inexorable. When the 1959-60 Season began in September, Violette Medrano was conspicuously listed on the program as the circus’s sole Director. (She was also the Director of the new corporation.) Although he was still in actuality at the artistic helm of his circus, Jérôme remained in the shadows.
  
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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Yet Violette’s personal touch could be felt: The overall style of Medrano was modernized and refreshed, notably with usherettes in elegant and colorful dresses instead of circus uniforms, and the use of air freshener in the corridors and the bar to mask the smell of the menagerie. (The latter innovation was strongly criticized by hardcore circus fans!) Marcellys took over the orchestra, in addition to his role as host. Violette also conceived the idea of an already built-up steel arena coming down from the cupola for the cage acts. This was a good innovation, although it couldn’t be used in conjunction with major aerial acts, such as flying trapeze and high wire, and thus influenced to some extent the composition of the programs (either big aerial act or cage act, but not both). Covered with fabric, it also served as a ring curtain in a few productions.
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In May 1960, the season ended with an interesting show titled ''Cavalcade sur Glace 60''. It was entirely performed on ice, including Erie Klant's polar-bear act presented Corry Vermeeren, Stella Fratellini and her chimpanzee Georgie, and, most amazingly, the high school act of Elvira Vonderp. The featured star of the show was the former French champion ice-skater Raymonde Du Bief, but its true stars were the Barios, who had spent most of the 1959-60 Season at Medrano, and were at the height of their creative and comedic talents. They performed wonderful original entrées (on skates, like everyone else in the show), and gave the production its soul as well as its laughs.  ([[Cirque Medrano (Paris)|more...]])
  
 
==New Biographies==
 
==New Biographies==
  
* [[Irina Naumenko]], Hand Balancer
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* [[The Kornilov Dynasty]], Elephant Trainers
* [[The Owl and The Pussycat]], Trapeze Act
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* [[Sergei Korolev]], Acrobat
* [[Walter Nones]], Circus Director, Animal Trainer
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* [[Victor Fomine]], Acrobat, Circus Coach
* [[Norman Crider]], Juggler
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* [[Annie Fratellini]], Clown, Circus Director
* [[Zhejiang Acrobatic Troupe]], Chinese Acrobatics
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* [[Joel Baker]], Clown
  
 
==New Videos==
 
==New Videos==
  
* [[Kelli_Ramazini_Video_(2018)|Kelli Ramazini]], Trapeze (2018)
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* [[Thierry_Bouglione_Video_(c2010)|Thierry & Sandrine Bouglione]], Magic Act (c.2010)
* [[Fuma_Boys_Monte_Carlo_Video_(2001)|The Fuma Boys]], Comedy Acrobatic (2001)
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* [[Pellegrini_Video_(2016)|The Pellegrini Brothers]], Hand-to-Hand Balancing (2016)
* [[Emile_Carey_Video_(2005)|Emile Carey]], Juggler (2005)
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* [[Moira_Orfei_Video_(1991)|Moira Orfei]], Elephant Act (1991)
* [[Selifanov_Video_(2001)|The Selifanov Troupe]], Flying Trapeze (2001)
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* [[Martin_Lacey_Video_(2000)|Martin Lacey, Jr.]], Lion Act (2000)
* [[Rene_and_Alexia_Casselly_Video_(2001)|René & Alexia Casselly]], Pas-de-Deux on Elephants (2001)
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* [[Heroes_Video_(2018)|Bogdanov Troupe (''Heroes'')]], Flying Act (2018)
  
 
==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 02:52, 18 August 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

CIRQUE MEDRANO, PARIS

Violette and Jérôme Medrano (1963)

(...) In February of 1959, following the advice of his lawyers, Jérôme Medrano created a new corporate entity for the exploitation of his circus—in all probability to generate new legal hurdles for the Bougliones and continue to stall a situation whose obvious conclusion was unfortunately inexorable. When the 1959-60 Season began in September, Violette Medrano was conspicuously listed on the program as the circus’s sole Director. (She was also the Director of the new corporation.) Although he was still in actuality at the artistic helm of his circus, Jérôme remained in the shadows.

Yet Violette’s personal touch could be felt: The overall style of Medrano was modernized and refreshed, notably with usherettes in elegant and colorful dresses instead of circus uniforms, and the use of air freshener in the corridors and the bar to mask the smell of the menagerie. (The latter innovation was strongly criticized by hardcore circus fans!) Marcellys took over the orchestra, in addition to his role as host. Violette also conceived the idea of an already built-up steel arena coming down from the cupola for the cage acts. This was a good innovation, although it couldn’t be used in conjunction with major aerial acts, such as flying trapezeAerial act in which an acrobat is propelled from a trapeze to a catcher, or to another trapeze. (See also: Short-distance Flying Trapeze) and high wireA tight, heavy metallic cable placed high above the ground, on which wire walkers do crossings and various acrobatic exercises. Not to be confused with a tight wire., and thus influenced to some extent the composition of the programs (either big aerial act or cage act(English/American) Act performed in a cage, such as lion or tiger acts., but not both). Covered with fabric(See: Tissu), it also served as a ring curtain in a few productions.

In May 1960, the season ended with an interesting show titled Cavalcade sur Glace 60. It was entirely performed on ice, including Erie Klant's polar-bear act presented Corry Vermeeren, Stella Fratellini and her chimpanzee Georgie, and, most amazingly, the high schoolA display of equestrian dressage by a rider mounting a horse and leading it into classic moves and steps. (From the French: Haute école) act of Elvira Vonderp. The featured star of the show was the former French champion ice-skater Raymonde Du Bief, but its true stars were the Barios, who had spent most of the 1959-60 Season at Medrano, and were at the height of their creative and comedic talents. They performed wonderful original entrées (on skates, like everyone else in the show), and gave the production its soul as well as its laughs. (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