Meet The Piccollo Zoppe Family!
A Boutique Family Circus for 6 Generations!
At three days old, she had her first elephant ride, signaling the beginning of her career; Tosca was performing as a little ballerina on the family's horses soon afterward. As she grew, she excelled in equestrian artistry. Invoking the memories of her Italian ancestors as she performs, a devotion to her ancestors of a by-gone era.
She has an innate awareness of the arts, is in tune with today's society, yet retains her sincerity and humility. As a sixth generation equestrian artist, she is carrying on her rich heritage which is renowned for bareback equestrian arts since 1842. Tosca has had an extraordinary life performing a variety of circus disciplines, as well as directing her family's theatrical production, Circo Zoppé, and continues to be the creative vision behind the Zoppé Circus.
However, her true passion is the preservation and awareness classical circus and equestrian arts, by creating and directing shows that evoke the love, passion, and dedication of her family's rich history.
It is important to her that the audience has a true connection to the performers. She believes that it is essential to stir emotion during the show.
JOHN "JAY" WALTHER
John "Jay" Walther, aka "Papino", has been working with the Zoppé family for nearly 30 years this season.
Starting out as the shows sound engineer, John has since worked his way up to his current position as Technical Director.
John fell in love with and married Tosca Zoppé in 1997. He considers himself to be the most blessed man in the world with both a woman he loves and a job he loves.
He also took on the role of a classic European whiteface clown in 2005.
"Being head pooper scooper is a demanding job sometimes, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."
Carla Heinen (Zoppe)
Carla Heinen (Zoppé) began her career at age three as a ballerina on horseback. As the oldest of Alberto and Sandra's children, she had the responsibility to prove her family's heritage. Carla made her mark in circus history at the age of 24, building her own all-girl equestrian troupe to perform in Baraboo, WI for the Circus World Museum for 7 years.
As a true showgirl, she also performed in aerial acts and many of the spectacular show productions. From there, she took the show on the road, working engagements from coast to coast for many different circuses and theater shows. Now she performs with her husband Rudolf and their 16 rescued dogs, all of whom live with them. For Carla and Rudolf, their dogs are everything.
Rudolf Heinen came from the Heinen Circus in Hanover, Germany, where he performed as a bareback rider with his family, and also learned to become an animal trainer.
He arrived in America in 1963 to travel throughout North and South America with many traveling circuses. He comes from a long tradition of circus and has found his true passion, working with his dogs. This extraordinary Octogenarian has no plans of stopping anytime soon.
Alessandro Wallenda-Zoppe is a seventh generation circus performer specializing in highwire and juggling. As a toddler, Alex would often sit in his stroller and watch his family perform everything you can imagine. He heard the applause, saw the joy on the faces of the people watching, and from then on knew that he wanted to join his family and perform in front of an audience. At age seven, Alessandro made his debut on the wire. By fourteen he was the youngest person to ever hold the Wallenda seven person pyramid. As part of the Flying Wallenda Troupe, Alessandro has performed all over the world including the prestigious Monte Carlo Festival where the family won the silver clown.
For the last two decades Alessandro has been developing his expertise in the art of juggling. While initially juggling felt like a game, Alessandro quickly noticed that he had a knack for keeping objects off the ground. As juggling props dance though the air you will not only be amazed by Alessandro's skill, but will also be drawn in by his charisma and love for performing.
Claire Wallenda-Zoppé began her circus career at twelve years old as a member of the St. Louis Arches, an elite youth tumbling troupe. She performed with the Arches from 2005-2013 on Circus Flora (Saint Louis), throughout the United States, and in Israel. Within this group, Claire learned many displines, partnering with Elliana Grace thirty feet in the air on the lyra, and bareback riding with the Ianna Spirit Riders.
Claire then spent four years as a member of the Flying High Circus at Florida State University (Tallahassee) where she developed her solo swinging trapeze act. Claire is excited to display her unique combination of beauty, grace, and agilty as she sours through the air.