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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/>
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<div style="font-size:175%; border:none; margin:0; padding:.1em; color:#996666;">Welcome! ✫ Bienvenue! ✫ Willkommen! ✫ Добро Пожаловать!</div><div style="font-size:175%; border:none; margin:0; padding:.1em; color:#996666;">Bienvenida! ✫ Benvenuto! ✫ 歡迎 ! ✫ Vítejte! ✫ Καλώς ήρθατε!</div><div style="font-size:175%; 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:98%;"> ''Circopedia was originally created with the support of the Big Apple Circus Ltd. and inspired and funded by the [http://www.sdrubin.org/ Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation]''.</div><br/>
 
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==In The Spotlight==
 
==In The Spotlight==
  
===HAROLD ALZANA===
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===THE BIG APPLE CIRCUS===
[[File:Harold_Alzana_(Cushman).jpg|right|300px]]
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[[File:Big_Apple_Circus_Picturesque_set_(2004).jpg|right|400px]]
Harold Alzana was, from the late forties to the mid-sixties, a star fixture of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. His daredevil manner&mdash;working on the high wire without a balancing pole and at high speed, which contrasted with the traditionally slow, seemingly careful, approach of the great high wire acrobats, such as The Wallendas, that had preceded him&mdash;inspired many of the high wire acts that are seen today.
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A cherished New York Institution, the original, not-for-profit Big Apple Circus was created in 1977 by Paul Binder and his juggling partner, Michael Christensen, as the performing arm of the New York School for Circus Arts. Its enormous success soon put the school in the shadows, and the circus took over as the principal activity of the organization. It became one of the world’s most respected and successful circuses—until the economic crisis of 2008, which dramatically impacted its fund-raising capacity, sadly led it to file for bankruptcy eight years later.
  
He was born Harold Davis on September 19, 1917 in Maltby, a small mining town east of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. His father, Charles, worked there as a coal miner, but he was also an amateur acrobat, and he began training his children (Harold, his brother Edgar, and their sisters Hilda and Elsie) in his backyard, where he had installed a tight wire two feet off the ground.
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Its name and equipment were sold to private investors who brought the Big Apple Circus back to life in September 2017 in its traditional winter venue, Damrosch Park, in New York’s prestigious Lincoln Center for The Performing Arts. The new Big Apple Circus quickly abandoned its spring-summer tours of the northeast United States and beyond, and limited its activity to its Lincoln Center four-month winter season. However, the Covid pandemic prevented it from performing in the winter of 2020-21. (As of August 2021, it is not yet known when or if it will resume its performances.)
  
Charles’s training got good results: At age six, young Harold made his performing debut in local fairs and festivals. But this was just fun; when he reached fourteen, Harold Davis, like most young men in Maltby, followed in his father’s footsteps and began working as a coal miner. In 1941, he married his sweetheart, Minnie. World War II was raging, but Harold and his siblings never stopped practicing and improving their high wire act.
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As a child, Paul Binder was occasionally taken to the circus by his parents at Madison Square Garden. "I do have one very powerful memory," Paul said, "a spotlighted Unus, alone in the center ring, doing his one-finger stand on a lighted globe. It was very dramatic!" However, the idea that within the circus ring would lie his career never entered his mind.
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The war over, Harold Alzana decided to leave the darkness of Maltby coalmines and tempt his luck in the circus spotlights: It was social climbing in every sense of term! His break came in 1946, when impresario Clem Butson, then producer of Blackpool’s Tower Circus, gave "The Sensational Alzanas" (as Harold and his siblings had named their act) a contract for the summer season. The highlight of the act was Harold crossing the wire on a bicycle with his sisters hanging from a trapeze suspended under it.
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If it was certainly, from the audience point of view, a spectacular finale, it was not in actuality much of a trick since the trapeze provided Harold’s bicycle with a counterweight: The more at risk were actually Hilda and Elsie. But Harold’s solos on the wire were another matter altogether, and this didn’t fail to impress one of John Ringling North’s European talent scouts. Johnny North immediately saw star potential in Harold Alzana, and the act was booked for the 1947 season of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, ''The Greatest Show On Earth''.  ([[Harold Alzana|more...]])
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Later, Paul attended Dartmouth College, where he joined the Dartmouth Players and the Hopkins Center Repertory Theatre, and then earned an MBA at Columbia University. After a brief stint at Boston University’s School of Fine and Applied Arts, he went to work on television as stage manager for Julia Child’s cooking shows, and later as talent coordinator for The Merv Griffin Show. It was the end of the 1960s, and Paul was restless with the times.
  
==New Biographies==
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Meanwhile, in Walla-Walla, Washington, where he was born, Michael Christensen was struggling with a difficult childhood. Somehow, he needed to act out the feelings stirred by his uneasy life, so, quite naturally, he enrolled in the Professional Actor Training program at the University of Washington. As for the circus: "When the circus came to town in the summer, I helped setting up the tents with my brother in exchange for free passes. I also remember laughing uncontrollably at a clown gag—but I don’t remember who the clown was nor what was the gag.".... ([[Big Apple Circus|more...]])
  
* [[Baptiste Loisset]], Circus Owner and Equestrian
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==New Essays and Biographies==
* [[The Kornilov Dynasty]], Elephant Trainers
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* [[Sergei Korolev]], Acrobat
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* [[Pablo Noel]], Animal Trainer
* [[Victor Fomine]], Acrobat, Circus Coach
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* [[Big Apple Circus]], History
* [[Annie Fratellini]], Clown, Circus Director
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* [[Gerry Cottle]], Circus Owner
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* [[Sarah Chapman]], Aerialist
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* [[The 3 Bragazzi]], Comedy Acrobats
  
 
==New Videos==
 
==New Videos==
  
* [[Sid_Plummer_Video_(1962)|Sid Plummer]], Musical Eccentric (1962)
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* [[Kristian_Kristof_Video_(2016)|Kristian Kristof]], Juggler (2016)
* [[Vavilov_Troupe_Video_(2018)|The Vavilov Troupe]], Banquine (2018)
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* [[Jigalov_Video_(2008)|Jigalov]], Clown (2008)
* [[Kerwich_Video_(1962)|Armand Kerwich]], Washington Trapeze (1962)
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* [[Alex_Lacey_Video_(2008)|Alex Lacey]], Lion and Tiger Act (2008)
* [[Whal_and_Oldfield_Video_(1956)|Walter Dare Wahl & Emmet Oldfield]], Comedy Acrobatics (1956)
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* [[Susan_Lacey_Video_(2010)|Susan Lacey]], Tiger Act (2010)
* [[Tanger_Troupe_Video_(1975)|Troupe Tanger]], Moroccan Tumblers (1975)
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* [[Wellton_Video_(2010)|John Wellton]], Comedy Juggler (2010)
  
 
==New Oral Histories==
 
==New Oral Histories==
  
* [[Rosa_Bouglione_Video_(2012)|Rosa Bouglione]]'s interview on Franch Television (2012)
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* [[BAC_Blumberg_Video_(1977)|''For A Moment You Fly'']], The First Season of The Big Apple Circus (1977)
* [[Circo_Price_Video_(2017)|A Short History of Madrid's Old Circo Price]], Documentary (1970)
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* [[Durov_Documentary_Video_(c.2000)|Vladimir Durov Documentary]] on Russian Television (c.2000)
* [[Anastasia_Dementieva_Video_(2017)|Anastasia Dementieva-Kornilova]] – Vadim Vernik Interview (2017)
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* [[Dolly_Jacobs_Interview_Video_(2018)|Dolly Jacobs Interview]] at The Ringling (2018)
* [[Freres_Knie_Video_(1962)|''Les Frères Knie'']], Documentary (1962)
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* [[Pinito_del_Oro_RTE_Video_(1970)|Pinito del Oro's Interview]] on Spanish Television (1970)
* [[Jean_Richard_Video_(1979)|Jean Richard and Jean-Pierre Richard]] at the Cirque Jean Richard – Christian Boner Interview (1979)
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* [[Eradze_Video_(2015)|Gia Eradze]]'s Interview on SSU TV (2015)
 
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==2018 Circopedia Award==
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* [[Dandies_Video_(2018)|''Dandies'' (Yury Kreer, Johnny Gasser, Kirill Ivanov)]], Russian Barre
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==New Circopedia Books==
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==Circopedia Books==
  
 
* [[Circopedia Books|Philip Astley & The Horsemen who invented the Circus]], by Dominique Jando (2018)
 
* [[Circopedia Books|Philip Astley & The Horsemen who invented the Circus]], by Dominique Jando (2018)
  
==A Message from the Editor==
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==A Message from Dominique Jando==
  
''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 03:33, 21 September 2021

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 Ltd. and inspired and funded by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

In The Spotlight

THE BIG APPLE CIRCUS

Big Apple Circus Picturesque set (2004).jpg

A cherished New York Institution, the original, not-for-profit Big Apple Circus was created in 1977 by Paul Binder and his juggling partner, Michael Christensen, as the performing arm of the New York School for Circus Arts. Its enormous success soon put the school in the shadows, and the circus took over as the principal activity of the organization. It became one of the world’s most respected and successful circuses—until the economic crisis of 2008, which dramatically impacted its fund-raising capacity, sadly led it to file for bankruptcy eight years later.

Its name and equipment were sold to private investors who brought the Big Apple Circus back to life in September 2017 in its traditional winter venue, Damrosch Park, in New York’s prestigious Lincoln Center for The Performing Arts. The new Big Apple Circus quickly abandoned its spring-summer tours of the northeast United States and beyond, and limited its activity to its Lincoln Center four-month winter season. However, the Covid pandemic prevented it from performing in the winter of 2020-21. (As of August 2021, it is not yet known when or if it will resume its performances.)

As a child, Paul Binder was occasionally taken to the circus by his parents at Madison Square Garden. "I do have one very powerful memory," Paul said, "a spotlighted Unus, alone in the center ring, doing his one-finger stand on a lighted globe. It was very dramatic!" However, the idea that within the circus ring would lie his career never entered his mind.

Later, Paul attended Dartmouth College, where he joined the Dartmouth Players and the Hopkins Center Repertory Theatre, and then earned an MBA at Columbia University. After a brief stint at Boston University’s School of Fine and Applied Arts, he went to work on television as stage manager for Julia Child’s cooking shows, and later as talent coordinator for The Merv Griffin Show. It was the end of the 1960s, and Paul was restless with the times.

Meanwhile, in Walla-Walla, Washington, where he was born, Michael Christensen was struggling with a difficult childhood. Somehow, he needed to act out the feelings stirred by his uneasy life, so, quite naturally, he enrolled in the Professional Actor Training program at the University of Washington. As for the circus: "When the circus came to town in the summer, I helped setting up the tents with my brother in exchange for free passes. I also remember laughing uncontrollably at a clown gag—but I don’t remember who the clown was nor what was the gag.".... (more...)

New Essays and Biographies

New Videos

New Oral Histories

Circopedia Books

A Message from Dominique Jando

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