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10 Amazing Circus Families


4
The Stoinevs
Christian Atayde Stoinev performs his hand-balancing act with his dog Scooby at the age of 14 at the Big Apple Circus. Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images
Christian Atayde Stoinev performs his hand-balancing act with his dog Scooby at the age of 14 at the Big Apple Circus. Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images

One of the more prominent circus performers today is acrobat Christian Stoinev. Not surprisingly, there are deep circus roots on both sides of his family. Mother Maritza Atayde hails from Mexico's Atayde family, which owns Circo Atayde Hermanos, Mexico's oldest (and largest) circus. Dad Ivan Stoinev left Bulgaria with a teeterboard troupe at the tender age of 13 to perform with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in America. Stoinev himself first began performing at age 6, and spent much of his childhood under the big top at the Big Apple Circus, where Ivan served as performance director and Maritza worked in administration. In 2001, Stoinev became a Big Apple company member. Stoinev is mainly known for a hand-balancing act performed with his dog Scooby [sources: Christian Stoinev, Circopedia].

Although he's still young (born in 1991), Stoinev has already worked with Circo Atayde, won a bronze medal at Monte Carlo's Festival Première Rampe and the Bolshoi Circus' special award in the International Circus Festival-Città di Latina. This fifth-generation circus performer is the first college graduate in his family, holding a degree in broadcast journalism. He's also performed on many TV shows including "America's Got Talent" [sources: Christian Stoinev, Circopedia].