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Sunday, December 23, 2012

 Family circus: Zoppés keep tradition going

by Kellie Hwang - Dec. 21, 2012 12:37 PM
The Republic | azcentral.com
Families traditionally gather around the table during the holiday season. Tradition for the Zoppé family, however, means gathering around the circus ring.

The Zoppé Family Circus, founded in Italy in 1842 by Napoleone and Ermengilda Zoppé, has been passed down through the generations and still is going strong. It starts an 11-day run Wednesday, Dec. 26, at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

Giovanni Zoppé, Napoleone's great-great-grandson, leads the troupe as Nino the clown. He's joined by his wife, son, daughter, mother, sisters and several other relatives each night. Giovanni has never wanted to do anything else since his father, Alberto, taught him the craft when he was a young boy.

"I've never not had a memory when I was young than being in the circus," Giovanni said. "It has always been a part of my life, and my son was in his first show when he was only 6 days old. I brought him onstage for the finale, and he's 3 now and does routines with me, copying me to a T."
The show is not your average circus with goofy clown cars and elephants balancing balls on their trunks. Nor does it feature the over-the-top theatrical experience of such companies as Cirque du Soleil.

Instead, the Zoppé Family Circus takes place in an intimate tent that holds 500 people, traveling back to its roots as a one-ring circus with Old World traditions. The Zoppés, their relatives and other performing families gather for a lighthearted show filled with acrobatic, equestrian, canine, balancing and clowning acts.

Giovanni discusses running a business that goes back 170 years and what it's like to perform and tour with his family.---
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/ae/articles/2012/12/25/20121225zopp-family-circus-chandler-center-arts.html#ixzz2FqHJEJIo

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