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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


Pinito del Oro on trapeze.jpeg
Pinito del Oro (1931-2017) was a genuine circus star, an iconic personality of the Spanish entertainment scene, and one of the world’s top aerialists in the 1950s and 1960s. Beautiful, with a natural elegance and a radiant smile—and indeed extremely talented—she was featured with her outstanding Washington trapeze(orig.: "trapèze à la Washington" – French) A heavy trapeze with a flat bar, on which an aerialist performs balancing tricks. Originated by the American aerialist H. R. Keyes Washington (1838-1882). act in Europe’s most prestigious circuses, and had been a center-ring headliner with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the United States for seven consecutive seasons. She was also courageous and resilient: she survived three near-fatal accidents, and each time resumed her precarious career on the trapeze.

She was born Cristina María del Pino Segura on November 6, 1931 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (on Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s Canary Islands off the coast of southern Morocco). Spain was in political turmoil at the time, entering a period of disorder that would lead to the Spanish Civil War, and Pinito’s father, José Segura, had decided to take his small family circus company to the Canary Islands, far from the mainland’s troubles, and in an area also totally devoid of competition. (The Spanish circus scene at the time was particularly active.)

José Segura was not born into the circus: He came from a middle-class family of Alcoy, in the Province of Alicante (southeast of Spain), where his parents ran a delicatessen. They wanted José to be a doctor, but alas, José’s father died unexpectedly, and there was no money left to pay for his studies. One of José’s uncles stepped in—but he wanted José to enter a seminary and embrace priesthood. This didn’t suit José’s bohemian lifestyle and his taste for pretty girls; he ran away and joined a traveling comedian and puppeteer named Anastasiano, who initiated him to the performing arts and taught him rudiments of acrobatics, juggling and other circus skills.... (more...)

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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—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