The Juggling Genius of Paul Cinquevalli - CircusTalk

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The Juggling Genius of Paul Cinquevalli

As a boy, Emil Otto Paul Braun, born in 1859 in a Prussian (now Polish) village, was renowned for his limberness and poise under pressure. At first, Braun’s athleticism was just for kicks—no one could have expected his rise to international fame. His father thought he was cut out for a quiet life in the priesthood. But once a circus recruiter got ahold of him following a gymnastics meet, events were set in motion that wound up catapulting Braun, a.k.a. “Paul Cinquevalli,” into the spotlight.

A teenage Cinquevalli was whisked to the city of Odessa on the Black Sea, where he was given a position as a trapeze artist. Trapeze has always been dangerous, but it was especially so in the 19th century, when nets were by no means in common use. Cinquevalli’s trapeze career proved to be ill-starred…


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