ponderous coxcombry

Andrew Ducrow was a 19th century circus stunt rider who performed in hippodramas.

This Graeco-Egyptian mausoleum, designed ostensibly for his wife, but mainly (as the epitaph says) “by genius for the reception of its own remains” was condemned in The Builder in 1856 as a piece of “ponderous coxcombry.

andrew's grave

image of Ducrow’s grave by Jacqueline Bannerjee

Hippodramas were not seedy soap operas about the sex lives of hippos, instead they were dramatic plays written specifically for the genre; trained horses were considered actors along with humans and were even awarded leading roles. Anthony Hippisley-Coxe described the hippodrama as “a bastard entertainment born of a misalliance between the circus and the theatre .

Special theatres were built which combined proscenium stages with dirt-floored riding arenas separated by the orchestra pit.


Acting and dialogue were often minimal. After watching a rehearsal for Hamlet, Andrew Ducrow is reported to have said “Cut the dialogue and come to the ‘orses”.

galloping horse hippodrama

treadmill used in hippodramas found here

Jules Leotard was also a famous circus performer who worked in this area.

Léotard was in: He had become the circus’s first international acrobatic star—and, thanks to his tight costume (to which his name would remain associated) revealing his athletic figure, he became also one of the first sex symbols in show business.


is this sexy or what?

Published in: on August 15, 2009 at 11:53 am  Comments (29)  

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29 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Seeing a naked all-Asian female orchestra fulfilled fantasies for me that I didn’t even know I had.

  2. I aim to please RF

  3. “trained horses were considered actors along with humans…”

    hippodramas. the classier older cousin to the donkey show…

  4. Love the little tutu.

    Which makes me think, NM, drop in on my latest opera clip. I think the sopranos have been in your corset drawer.

  5. Ah Nurse Myra just what the Gimcrack needs, a little Hippodrama. Hmm, come to think of it that’s what we all need!

  6. I don’t know, if you combine that lovely orchestra with the hippodrama, you might just actually have a better t.v. program than what’s currently on.

    • Do you get Flight of the Conchords where you live G?

      • Yes, we do.

        Haven’t had the time to watch it though. People keep saying that the show is good and the music is pretty excellent.

  7. “a bastard entertainment born of a misalliance between the circus and the theatre”

    That’s what I used to say about my ex…

  8. I glanced at the picture of Monsieur Leotard too quickly and thought he had a trident instead of a hand.
    Which would make bedroom antics somewhat colourful.

    • Ha ha… glad to see you’re back on the scene WIB

  9. Hippodrama…I thought that was what I did when I used to watch the New Zoo Revue.

    • Bearman, you are really dating yourself with that one.

      Shoot, I’m dating myself for saying that you’re dating yourself.

  10. If that IS sexy then there is still hope for me …… thank you Nursey …..

  11. I would name my next album “ponderous coxcombry” if I hadn’t already committed to calling it “Suicide in Sweden.”

  12. If that’s what’s going to make me a sex symbol I’ll stay invisible.

  13. revealing his atheletic figure ..(among other things no doubt). geez, i always end up at wikipedia when i leave here.

  14. Why can’t I work with bands like that?


    The King

    • Teach me to play an instrument

  15. i’ve seen many trained horses who think they are actors in the porn industry…

  16. Now this is some hippo drama.

    • That starring hippo has a lovely uvula

  17. And I thought a hippodrama was a large lady in a skirt being a drama queen. Men in very short skirts … now theres a thought.

  18. The hippodramas were probably really entertaining. I think they would have been a nice mixture of Vaudeville, Cirque de Soleil, and the circus. I would have checked it out.

  19. Oh me too Scott. I would have been waiting at the ticket office with bells on!

  20. I miss going to the all naked Symphony.

  21. i’ve heard the term hippodrama, but i had no idea it was associated with horses! live and learn.
    it’s exceeding sexy.

  22. To answer your question…yes …. yes Jules was hot.

  23. he has a woman’s waist not to mention a skirt… nope sorry not my type of bed mate :-0

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