George Laysson

Essen, Germany, 1920 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2000

Tamer. George Laysson studied Veterinary Medicine in Germany specializing in wild animals. He is the son of Friedrich Stockhausen and Emma Stockhausen and belongs to the fourth generation of artists in his family. His maternal great grandfather, Philip Laysson and grandfather, Georg Adam Laysson were traditional European tamers as well as horseback acrobats. Laysson was always surrounded by tigers, lions, bears, and exotic animals. He made his debut at Zirkus Appollo in Germany at age five perfoming with seals. The circus was owned by his parents who taught him to care for the animals. When he was twelve, he performed with horses and at fourteen he became one of the youngest tamers in Europe. Inspired by Albert Schumann, an artist of the Swedish circus, Schumann Zirkus, he adopted the same technique of using the chambriére in an elegant manner. Laysson was born in the circus, and his father guided him to a successful career. From being the head of transportation and responsible for the animal cages to ring master, artistic director, musical clown and trapezist, he was an all-around professional. Being fluent in six languages, he worked for many European circuses such as Holzmüller, Krone, Gleich, Pace, Bouglinone, Holland National Circus and Russian State Circus. He came to Brazil in 1952 with a one year contract with Circo Garcia, but ended up staying until 1956, always displaying his method of not cracking the whip in performances. In 1957, he was called upon by the São Paulo Zoo to aid in the construction of the housing for wild animals. From 1959 until retirement, he also ran a tourism agency. From 1982-1990 he taught tight-wire, bambu, perch and animal taming at National Circus School in Rio de Janeiro. Some of his students went on to act in Intrépida Trupe, Cirque du Soleil and other European circuses. Laysson also acted with animals in Globo televison soap operas such as Roda de Fogo, Que Rei sou eu?, Era uma vez e O Amor está no ar. He was a South American representative in the 16th Festival Mondial du Cirque De Demain in France. Laysson married Wanda Leal Laysson and they had two children: Desirée leal Laysson and Marcel Leal Laysson Stockhausen.

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