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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

Paulina c1955.jpg


The daughter of Charlie Rivel (José Andreu), the famous Catalan clownGeneric term for all clowns and augustes. '''Specific:''' In Europe, the elegant, whiteface character who plays the role of the straight man to the Auguste in a clown team., and Carmen Busto, herself the daughter of a clownGeneric term for all clowns and augustes. '''Specific:''' In Europe, the elegant, whiteface character who plays the role of the straight man to the Auguste in a clown team., Paulina Luisa Andreu i Busto, better known as Paulina Schumann (1921-2020), was born in Barcelona, Spain on February 17, 1921, where her parents performed with the Andreu family's circus, Circo Reina Victoria; Paulina was, therefore, thrown into the circus world from the very moment she first opened her eyes.

During a family engagement at Paris's Empire Music-Hall Cirque in November 1926, five-year-old Paulina performed a parody of Josephine Baker, accompanied by her younger brother, Juanito, on percussion. Around the same time, her father had begun presenting a famous parody, on the 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), of Charlie Chaplin. In London the following year, while her father was participating in, and winning, a competition of Chaplin impersonators, Paulina appeared dressed like Jackie Coogan in the movie The Kid.

The family grew larger with the birth of two other brothers, Charlie Junior and Valentino. In 1930, the Rivels embarked on a long tour of Argentina, where Paulina learned to dance the tango and developed a dance act duet with Juanito. In 1932, in Vienna, she and Juanito impressed Austrian audiences with their stage rendition of the Blue Danube waltz.

In the 1930s, the Rivels toured Europe, appearing in virtually every circus and variety house on the Continent. Then Charlie Rivel, who had performed his trapeze act with his brothers and had created with them a successful clown trio, The Andreu-Rivels, decided to go his own way. He launched a separate career, with the help of his wife and sons, and several partners. For these family engagements, Paulina developed a remarkable tight wireA tight, light metallic cable, placed between two platforms not very far from the ground, on which a wire dancer perform dance steps, and acrobatic exercises such as somersaults. (Also: Low Wire) act, which she would perform for many years.... (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.

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