In The Spotlight
In his early youth, Gia Eradze fell in love with the circus and decided he would become an animal trainer. From then on, nothing stopped him. Not only did he become a successful animal trainer, but his rich, extravagant visual imagination led him to create extremely successful shows that helped revive the creative image of the Russian circus at home and abroad, and eventually propelled him to new heights in the Russian circus artistic hierarchy.
Gia Giulevich Eradze was born October 3, 1979 in Tbilisi, Georgia—which was then part of the Soviet Union. His father managed a supermarket, and his mother was Rector of Economics at the Tbilisi State University. His was a well-to-do family with no connection whatsoever with the performing arts in general, and the circus in particular.
Yet, then as now, Tbilisi was a circus town: In 1888, the Nikitin Brothers had built a wooden circus on Golovinsky Prospect (today Rustaveli Prospect), and what was then Tiflis became their home base. From there, they created a touring circuit for which they used circus buildings they erected over the years in several other cities, including Moscow.
The original Circus Nikitin’s structure was destroyed by a fire in 1911, and Tbilisi’s new circus was housed for a long time in a former factory before being rebuilt in 1939 in its present location, on a hill on the left bank of the Kura river. It is there that a young Gia Eradze fell in love with the circus—and especially with animal acts. There and then, he decided he would be an animal trainer.
He enrolled in the local Amateur Circus (Youth Circus) and began training in various circus disciplines, but he quickly discovered that Amateur Circuses (and circus schools for that matter) did not teach animal training. Working with animals is something you learn hands on, working with other animal trainers in a circus.
Gia was a precocious and strong-willed kid, and his determination eventually led him to truancy: when his father’s car took him to school in the morning, Gia waited until the chauffeur had left and changed trajectory, landing inevitably at the circus. In 1990, at age eleven, he managed to get a job as an assistant (or as a groom) with Nana Milkatze’s Horsemen of Georgia troupe of Cossack riders... (more...)
- Gia Eradze, Circus Director, Animal Trainer
- Rob Torres, Clown
- Tianjin Acrobatic Troupe, History
- Nino Frediani, Juggler
- Henrik Henricksen, Animal Trainer
- Gilbert Houcke, The CourierAn equestrian presentation created by Andrew Ducrow in 1827 as ''The Courier of St. Petersburg'', in which a rider stands on two galloping horses, one foot on each, and allows other horses to pass between his mounts, catching their reins as they pass, eventually holding the reins a group of galloping horses in front of him. (Also known in French as ''La Poste''.) (1943)
- David Larible, Clown (2014)
- The Rastellis, Clowns (2000)
- Vladimir Kulakov, Juggler (1985)
- Gilbert Houcke, Tiger Act (1949)
New Oral Histories
- Pinito del Oro's Interview on Spanish Television (1970)
- Gia Eradze's Interview on SSU TV (2015)
- Rosa Bouglione's interview on Franch Television (2012)
- A Short History of Madrid's Old Circo Price, Documentary (1970)
- Anastasia Dementieva-Kornilova – Vadim Vernik Interview (2017)
- Philip Astley & The Horsemen who invented the Circus, by Dominique Jando (2018)
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