At 41 years , Flavio Togni, an American Circus star, is a realized man. His friendly and cordial smile, appeared in the newspaper of all the United States cities where the Barnum & Bailey Circus tour took him. Recently Adela Dos Santos, an American with Spanish origin, has always been photographed with him. They married in 1991 and four years ago she gave birth to two splendid twins: Bruno and Adriana. Flavio was born in Pescia on the 14th June 1960 because the circus was on tour in that city. His destiny seemed to be the same as all the other children born in circus families. Flavio has an international schooling attending schools in various cities and countries where the circus has its show. He spends most of his time among animals or climbing on trapezes and equipment. You try everything at the circus as children, and here the occasions of careers are foreseen. Flavio at 5 years has in mind already what he wants to do. He prefers animals with which he passes all his available time and they like staying with him. Grandfather Ferdinand teaches him to ride, even if some year later will entrust him to Domingo Ferreiras Guintas, a Portuguese master of horse riding. They will transmit the secrets to him of the High School discipline that engages horses and riders in the difficult art of Dressage, a sort of elegant and fluid ridden ballet to look at, but it demands concentration and extreme precision in every passage. Flavio makes his debut therefore at 14 years, in Tortona, in saddle of a horse. In the meantime he discovers another passion: the elephants. "The horses, - Flavio uses to say-" learn slowly. You must teach them a passage at the time and need two years to be able to execute an exercise. An elephant, instead, remembers more all in a hurry , but it does not allow you to make a mistake twice; if the trainer repeats the same error, the animal will refuse to repeat the exercise. I wonder at times who of the two is the teacher and who the pupil ". Therefore not a traditional tamer, but an animal trainer : elephants, horses, panthers, tigers and rhinoceroses. One of his exercises with elephants drew the attention of Prince Ranieri III of Monaco who invites the Togni family to exhibit in his principality during the International Festival du Cirque in 1976. In that edition for the newspapers he will win the Silver Clown . The pal mares of Flavio Togni comprises numerous other prizes: in 1983 he wins the Circus’s Paris Festival , always in 83 he newly conquests the Silver Clown at festival of Monte Carlo with a mixed number with elephants and horses; in the 84 adjudicates the victory at the Vienna’s Circus Festival , in the 87 will obtain the Golden Bridle at the Verona’s Horse Fair, in 88 he is the winner of d Katowicze’s Circus Festival, finally in 1992 wins the Platinum Ring, a Great International Circus Prize in Milan. In February 1998 he wins his third Silver Clown at the 22nd International Festival Du Cirque at Monte Carlo, enchanting the stalls with two sensational numbers (the first made up of 16 Arabic horses the second with 8 Indian elephants) confirming him the only artist in the world to obtain three statuette of such a prestigious prize. Again he wins the first prize at the Verona’s Horse Fair in 1998. Maybe the secret of his success are hidden in his own words , that the animal training has made for him a way life . Some people think that you must break the animal’s character in order that it obeys you and you become the master . It is not absolutely true; it must be the confidence and not fear that pushes the animal to execute an exercise. Animal training is total dedication . Without esteem and mutual respect of each other there is no training." Flavio Togni narrates his experiences with a calm voice, the same that he uses with his animals. "Years ago, as example, during a show there was a black out, people were panic stricken , they began to move and shout. I was in the ring with the elephants, I could not see them but I felt them nervous; I was afraid that something serious could happen so I began to call them by name one at the time . When the light returned they were all disposed in a circle around me. They wanted my protection ". With the elephants he uses his own language, made of English, French and Indian words - and a decidedly energetic voice; in spite of the dimension of their ears they hear very little…". The most difficult thing whit the number with horses and elephants is exactly to weigh the tone of voice: horses are nervous and need a firm but calm voice and you must direct them with a pole, to indicate the position. Instead the elephants are led only by voice, but it is necessary to have a more determined tone. The idea of making different animals work together came to me while watching a documentary where Zebras, Giraffes and lions drunk together on the same side of the lake. So I placed a big basket full of apples, carrots and bananas in the centre of the ring and then led the horses and elephants there. At the beginning they were very suspicious, then slowly they started to go near the basket ,first one, then another and at last all together. In November 2001 Flavio realizes his dream, to organize a horse show for the "Verona’s Horse Fair". It turned out to be positive and true success with the public.
The American tournče began in 1990 with the Barnum & Bailey Circus, it bought Flavio Togni to a worldwide fame: more than 500 interviews given to the newspapers of all the cities where the Circus went, among which the New York Times. Numerous the presence at television news and exhibitions in the most followed programs in the USA . As example Good Morning America and Entertainment Tonight. Again it demonstrates with what case Flavio faces his public. Not only as an animal trainer but also as a great showman.
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