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Luciano Anastasini


Luciano AnastasiniLuciano Anastasini

Clown act with dogs

This season, Luciano Anastasini returns to the circus ring as a bumbling buffoon of a ring master, who tries unsuccessfully to corral his multiple mischievous puppies. Anastasini and his wife, Gladis, come from generations of Italian-American circus performers. They had their own flying trapeze act before Luciano suffered a career-ending injury in the mid-1990s when he fell from the Wheel of Destiny, a large spinning wheel that rotates and spins high in the air. After multiple surgeries and years of recovery, Anastasini re-invented himself with a clown act featuring up to seven dogs, all rescued from various shelters around the nation.


"I like to keep the routine going. If there are any kinds of distractions with my dogs before the act, I get nervous and I have to calm myself down so I don't transfer that nervousness to my animals."

Three Questions:

Where did the idea for your act, "Luciano Anastasini and His Pound Puppies," come from?

"The idea came from my kids when they were watching the movie 'Dumbo.' I dress up as an old-fashioned ringmaster and come in to the ring (with several dogs) on a train. Every kid loves a choo-choo train. What's better than the dogs taking over? That's what I thought would be funny."

With that many dogs in the ring, does your act ever get out of control?

"It looks like chaos, but it's controlled chaos. Out there, anything goes; and sometimes (the dogs) just run around me. But the dogs know what they're not allowed to do. Mostly, they just play with me."

Would you like your children to continue the family circus tradition?

"I wouldn't push them to be in the circus, but I wouldn't tell them not to do it. It's sort of like with my dogs. You have to see what they like to do. If you like something, you'll be good at it."

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