Posts Tagged ‘Zamperla Zoppe’

In this newly released video of the Zamperla-Zoppe Bareback Riders performing with Ringling’s Gold Unit last spring, the brothers Olissio, Gino and Ermes leap on and off the backs of cantering horses, turning somersaults and back flips with ease. Ringling skipped Coney Island in 2011, but we met Olissio Zoppe when he was here for a few days last July with Circus Vidbel.

At the Coney Island History Project, Olissio vaulted onto the Steeplechase horse’s back in a split second when asked to pose for the photo shown below. Circus people never cease to amaze. Olissio and his brothers have been acrobatic equestrians since boyhood and their skill goes back six generations to two illustrious Italian circus families. If the ceiling had been taller, we bet he would have done a somersault on the horse’s back and landed on his feet–even in flip flops!

Olissio Zoppe Rides the Steeplechase Horse. July 9, 2011. Photo © Coney Island History Project. All Rights Reserved

Are the Zamperla Zoppe troupe, who are distantly related to the Zamperla family of Luna Park, returning for an encore performance? Will there be a circus in Coney Island in 2012? It’s unlikely since the lot where Ringling’s Coney Island Boom-A-Ring and Illuscination played in 2009 and 2010 has become the temporary home of the Seaside Summer Concert Series. The City-owned lot where Circus Vidbel played is the site of the new Speed Zone amusement park set to open this season.

Thor Equities brought in Cole Brothers Circus in 2007 and Reithoffer Shows and other attractions in 2008, but that’s ancient history. Since Joe Sitt got his rezoning for 30-story hotels and retail, we haven’t noticed any press releases saying “Thor is fully committed to the amusement industry.” In 2012, there are still a few empty lots in Coney Island big enough for a big top, but they’re held by real estate speculators. The saying “May All of Your Days Be Circus Days!” is one we don’t expect to hear in Coney Island this season.


Related posts on ATZ…

July 13, 2011: Circus Portraits: Photography by Kevin C Downs

June 21, 2011: Zamperla-Zoppe Riders Coming to Zamperla’s Coney Island

August 31, 2010: Snapshots of the Coney Island Illuscination

August 20, 2009: Q & A with Coney Island Boom A Ring Circus Star Justin Case

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Ambra Zerbini, Zamperla-Zoppe Riders, Coney Island July 12, 2011. Photo © Kevin C Downs

After a first look at Circus Vidbel on Saturday, photographer Kevin Downs returned over the next few days and took these beautiful portraits of the performers against the backdrop of the Big Top. The photographs have a timeless quality that evokes the classic portraiture of the Golden Age of the Circus. You can see the complete set, including a few candids, on flickr.

Zamperla-Zoppe Riders with Guido, Coney Island. July 12, 2011. Photo © Kevin C Downs

The Altier Archers, Peggy Mills and Nino Murillo. Coney Island, July 11, 2011. Photo © Kevin C Downs

Nino Murillo, Archer. Circus Vidbel, Coney Island. July 10, 2011. Photo © Kevin C Downs

Susan Vidbel-Ashton, Aerialist and Owner, Circus Vidbel. Coney Island, July 12, 2011. Photo © Kevin C Downs

Circus Vidbel’s Big Top is set up at 3100 Stillwell Avenue, just off the Boardwalk in Coney Island. Shows are Tuesday through Sunday. Tickets are $10.00 and are on sale at the ticketbooth one hour before showtime. For more info visit the Coney Island Fun Guide.

Update, July 17…

Catch the show this weekend! The circus will be here only through Sunday, July 17th and then will be hitting the road again. Discounted tickets are now available online


Related posts on ATZ…

July 10, 2011: Photo Album: Vidbel Old Tyme Circus Opens in Coney Island

June 21, 2011: Zamperla-Zoppe Riders Coming to Zamperla’s Coney Island

May 11, 2011: Coney Island 2011: Summer Photography Workshop

September 2, 2009: Coney Island Baby: Cyclone, the Mini Donkey at the Ringling Circus

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