Difference between revisions of "Les Castors"

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[[File:Moustier_Family.jpg|right|400px]]
 
==Icarists, Foot Jugglers==
 
==Icarists, Foot Jugglers==
  
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The Castors may well be one of the longest running acrobatic act in show business, with a uninterrupted career that spans more than a half-century. Even though their act has changed in appearance and details through five decades, it has remained the same in form—a mixture of foot juggling and risley act, which, over the years, has been increasingly interspersed with touches of comedy.
+
The Castors may well be one of the longest running acrobatic acts in show business, with a uninterrupted career that spans more than a half-century. Even though their act has changed in appearance and details through five decades, it has remained the same in form—a mixture of foot juggling and risley act, which, over the years, has been increasingly interspersed with touches of comedy.
  
Toly (Anatole, b. 1943), Charly (Charles, b. 1945), and Eddy (Edouard, b. 1949) were all born in Paris, France: In spite of incessant family travels, their mother, being of Russian origin, believed that having all her children born in the French capital would ease the intricate French administrative procedures. Their father, Louis Dedessus le Moutier (1910-2004), was fourth generation of an old French circus family; Nona, their mother, was born [[The Bedinis|Bedini]], a celebrated Russian circus family of Italian descent.
+
Toly (Anatole, b. 1943), Charly (Charles, b. 1945), and Eddy (Edouard, b. 1949) were all born in Paris, France: In spite of incessant family travels, their mother, being of Russian origin, believed that having all her children born in the French capital would ease the intricate French administrative procedures. Their father, Louis Dedessus le Moutier (1910-2004), was fourth generation of an old French circus family; Nona, their mother, was born [[The Bedinis|Bedini]], a celebrated Russian circus family of Italian origins.
  
 
===The Dedessus le Moutier Family===
 
===The Dedessus le Moutier Family===
  
[[Image:Cirque_de_Dessus-le-Moustier_(c.1900).jpg|thumb|left|250px|left|Cirque de Dessus le Moustier (c.1900)]]The family’s surname, Dedessus le Moutier, is rather ancient and may have old aristocratic roots. One might regret, however, that no romantic tale exists in the family lore of a noble ancestor that would have fallen in love with a beautiful ropedancer or equestrienne, and left a respectable and sedentary lifestyle to follow her on the road: For once, at least, it could have had a ring of truth.
+
The family’s surname, Dedessus le Moutier, is rather ancient and may have old aristocratic roots. One might regret, however, that no romantic tale exists in the family lore of a noble ancestor who would have fallen in love with a beautiful ropedancer or equestrienne, and left a respectable and sedentary lifestyle to follow her on the road: For once, at least, it could have had a ring of truth.
  
The first Dedessus le Moutier known to have joined the circus was a woman, Marie-Célestine, whose son, Alphonse, created the Cirque Moustier. Alphonse had no less than ten children; one of them, Charles, was Louis’s father and the grandfather of Toly, Charly, Eddy, and their sister, Nora (b. 1938, first married to [[Rodolphe Gruss]] [1938-1964], then to the clown [[Toto Chabri]]).
+
[[Image:Cirque_de_Dessus-le-Moustier_(c.1900).jpg|thumb|left|400px|left|Cirque de Dessus le Moustier (c.1900)]]The first Dedessus le Moutier known to have joined the circus was a woman, Marie-Célestine, whose son, Alphonse, created the Cirque Moustier. Alphonse had no less than ten children; one of them, Charles, was Louis’s father and the grandfather of Toly, Charly, Eddy, and their sister, Nora (b. 1938, first married to [[Rodolphe Gruss]] [1938-1964], then to the clown [[Les Chabri|Toto Chabri]]).
  
 
The name seems to have been originally spelled Dedessus le Moustier, and the family became known in the circus world simply as Moustier. But the spelling of itinerant performers’ names often changed with the transcripts of local permits, the various circumstances of life on the road, and, in our case, even the complaints of distant, upright relatives: At some point, the Cirque Moustier became Cirque ''de Dessus le Moustier'', a truly aristocratic spelling, which thumbed its nose at some sedentary Dedessus le Moustiers who had objected to seeing their name disgraced on the façade of a circus!
 
The name seems to have been originally spelled Dedessus le Moustier, and the family became known in the circus world simply as Moustier. But the spelling of itinerant performers’ names often changed with the transcripts of local permits, the various circumstances of life on the road, and, in our case, even the complaints of distant, upright relatives: At some point, the Cirque Moustier became Cirque ''de Dessus le Moustier'', a truly aristocratic spelling, which thumbed its nose at some sedentary Dedessus le Moustiers who had objected to seeing their name disgraced on the façade of a circus!
  
Louis Dedessus le Moutier and his brother, Emilien, worked in every possible capacity in their family’s circus, before creating their own knockabout acrobatic act, Les Frères Moustier. When performing at the French [[Cirque Bureau]], Louis met Nona Bedini, who worked in the same program with her family’s famous risley act. The rest, as they say, is history.   
+
Louis Dedessus le Moutier and his brother, Emilien, worked in every possible capacity in their family’s circus, before creating their own knockabout acrobatic act, ''Les Frères Moustier''. When performing at the French [[Cirque Bureau]], Louis met [[The Bedini Family|Nona Bedini]], who worked in the same program with her family’s famous risley act. The rest, as they say, is history.   
  
Louis and his wife created a hand-to-hand balancing act, and then, with Emilien and several partners, an acrobatic troupe, Les Arabes Blancs, later known as Les Dallys, with which they worked in their own Cirque Moustier. Toly was the first of the brothers to join the troupe in 1951, at age eight (his sister, Nora, had preceded him). Charly made his debut in 1956, and Eddy in 1958.
+
Louis and his wife created a hand-to-hand balancing act, and then, with Emilien and several partners, an acrobatic troupe, ''Les Arabes Blancs'', later known as ''Les Dallys'', with which they worked in their own Cirque Moustier. Toly was the first of the brothers to join the troupe in 1951, at age eight (his sister, Nora, had preceded him). Charly made his debut in 1956, and Eddy in 1958.
  
 
===Les Castors===
 
===Les Castors===
  
[[Image:Les_Castors_with_clock.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Les Castors (2009)]]With the addition of their children in the ring, Louis and Nona began to put together their own family act, which will eventually become Les Castors.  It found its definite form over the years, with the inclusion of foot juggling, first, and then some icarism—specialties that were indeed familiar to Nona. Toly also became a proficient juggler, and eventually created his own juggling act in the [Béla Kremo|Kremo]] style, under the stage name of Toly M.
+
[[Image:Les_Castors_with_clock.jpg|thumb|right|300px|Les Castors (2009)]]With the addition of their children in the ring, Louis and Nona began to put together their own family act, which would eventually become Les Castors.  It found its definite form over the years, with the inclusion of foot juggling, first, and then some icarism—specialties that were indeed familiar to Nona. Toly also became a proficient juggler, and eventually created his own juggling act in the [[Béla Kremo|Kremo]] style, under the stage name of Toly M.
  
Originally, the family presented their act in Native American costumes. The name "Castors" came from ''The Lone Rider'' comics of which Toly was fond; the Lone Rider had a young Native American sidekick named Little Beaver (''Petit Castor'' in French), and the young Moustiers thus became known as Les Castors—a name they will keep into adulthood.  Nora left the act when she married Rodolphe Gruss in 1962, and Nona left at the same time. By then, Toly was twenty, and Charly and Eddy were in their late teens; the act finally became theirs, their father just assisting them.
+
Originally, the family presented their act in Native-American costumes. The name "Castors" came from ''The Red Ryder'' comics, of which Toly was fond; the Red Ryder had a young Native-American sidekick named Little Beaver (''Petit Castor'' in French), and the young Moustiers thus became known as Les Castors—a name they will keep into adulthood.  Nora left the act when she married Rodolphe Gruss in 1962, and Nona left at the same time. By then, Toly was twenty, and Charly and Eddy were in their late teens; the act finally became theirs, their father just assisting them.
  
Throughout their long career, Les Castors have been featured in practically every major European circus, as well as in every major variety theater. They even performed at the [[Circus Nikulin|"Old Circus"]] on Tsvetnoy Boulevard in Moscow and at the [[Circus Ciniselli|"Circus on the Fontanka"]] in Leningrad (today St. Petersburg) with ''Le Cirque Français'', the first western circus troupe to visit the USSR, in 1960, and participated in a Royal Command Performance for Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee in 1977.
+
Throughout their long career, Les Castors have been featured in practically every major European circus, as well as in every major variety theater. They even performed at the [[Circus Nikulin|"Old Circus"]] on Tsvetnoy Boulevard in Moscow and at the [[Circus Ciniselli|"Circus on the Fontanka"]] in Leningrad (today the Circus Ciniselli in St. Petersburg) with ''Le Cirque Français'', the first western circus troupe to visit the USSR in 1960, and participated in a Royal Variety Performance for Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee in 1977.
  
 
The Castors have also worked with [[Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey]] in Stuttgart, Germany, during its short-lived European engagement in 1963; at Sun City Casino, Bophuthatswana, in South Africa; and in North Korea, Japan, Israel, and the Arab Emirates, among other countries. After they had played the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 1975, their father left the act, and went to teach acrobatics at [[Annie Fratellini’s]] Ecole Nationale du Cirque in Paris. The Castors have since continued their long career on their own.
 
The Castors have also worked with [[Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey]] in Stuttgart, Germany, during its short-lived European engagement in 1963; at Sun City Casino, Bophuthatswana, in South Africa; and in North Korea, Japan, Israel, and the Arab Emirates, among other countries. After they had played the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 1975, their father left the act, and went to teach acrobatics at [[Annie Fratellini’s]] Ecole Nationale du Cirque in Paris. The Castors have since continued their long career on their own.
  
In the past two decades (as of 2010), Toly, Charly and Eddy Castors, as they are known in the business, have worked extensively in variete shows in Germany and the U.S., most notably with Teatro ZinZanni in San Francisco and Seattle, and Palazzo Varieté in Vienna, Bale, Mannheim, and Stuttgart—for both of which organizations they have also written and directed shows. Additionally, they have run a regular variety show, ''Les rendez-vous du Musicool'', at the[[Cirque d’Hiver]]’s Théâtre de la Ménagerie in Paris.
+
In the past two decades (as of 2014), Toly, Charly and Eddy Castors, as they are known in the business, have worked extensively in varieté shows in Germany and the U.S., most notably with Teatro ZinZanni in San Francisco and Seattle, and Palazzo Varieté in Vienna, Bale, Mannheim, and Stuttgart—for both of which organizations they have also written and directed shows. Additionally, they have run a regular variety show, ''Les rendez-vous du Musicool'', at the [[Cirque d’Hiver]]’s "Théâtre de la Ménagerie" in Paris.
 +
 
 +
They still work seasonally today, notably in German varieté, although Charly lives in Seattle, in the United States, (where he had a French cooking show on local television!) and his brothers live in France, where they also pursue their own personal interests—Eddie directing shows, Toly writing and drawing cartoons, among other activities.
  
 
==See Also==
 
==See Also==
  
* Video: [[Les_Castors_Video_%281976%29|Les Castors, Icarists]], at Circus Knie (1976)
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* Video: [[Les_Castors_Video_(1971)|Les Castors, icarists]], at Paris's Cirque d'Hiver (1971)
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* Video: [[Les_Castors_Video_%281973%29|Les Castors, icarists]], at Circus Knie (1973)
 +
 
 +
==Suggested Reading==
 +
 
 +
* Toly Castors, ''L'Éloge du cirque — Les loges du cirque'' (Padova, Papergraf, 2011) — ISBN 978-2-7466-2837-3
  
 
==Image Gallery==
 
==Image Gallery==
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<Gallery>
 
<Gallery>
 
Image:Cirque_de_Dessus-le-Moustier_(c.1900).jpg|Cirque de Dessus le Moustier (c.1900)
 
Image:Cirque_de_Dessus-le-Moustier_(c.1900).jpg|Cirque de Dessus le Moustier (c.1900)
Image:Toly_M.jpg|Toly M.
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Image:Les_Castors_at_Cirque_Medrano.jpeg|Les Castors at Cirque Medrano (1956)
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Image:Les_Castors_and_the_Rickshaw_Bros.jpeg|Les Castors at Circus Wilkie (c.1960)
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File:Moustier_Family.jpg|The Dedessus Le Moutier Family (1973)
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Image:Toly_M.jpg|Toly M. (c.1975)
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Image:Charlie_Castors_and_Les_Castors_(1999).jpg|Les Castors at Teatro ZinZanni (1999)
 
Image:Toly_Castors_at_Teatro_ZinZanni.jpg|Toly Castors at Teatro Zinzanni (2009)
 
Image:Toly_Castors_at_Teatro_ZinZanni.jpg|Toly Castors at Teatro Zinzanni (2009)
 
Image:Charly_Castors.jpg|Charly Castors
 
Image:Charly_Castors.jpg|Charly Castors
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</Gallery>
 
</Gallery>
  
[[Category:Artists and Acts|Castors, Les]][[Category:Risley_Acts_(Icarists)|Castors, Les]]
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==External Link==
 +
 
 +
* [http://www.mouvance.com/castors/index.htm www.mouvance.com/castors]
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 +
[[Category:Artists and Acts|Castors, Les]][[Category:Foot Jugglers|Castors, Les]][[Category:Risley_Acts_(Icarists)|Castors, Les]]

Latest revision as of 22:40, 6 August 2021

Moustier Family.jpg

Icarists, Foot Jugglers

By Dominique Jando


The Castors may well be one of the longest running acrobatic acts in show business, with a uninterrupted career that spans more than a half-century. Even though their act has changed in appearance and details through five decades, it has remained the same in form—a mixture of foot juggling and risley act, which, over the years, has been increasingly interspersed with touches of comedy.

Toly (Anatole, b. 1943), Charly (Charles, b. 1945), and Eddy (Edouard, b. 1949) were all born in Paris, France: In spite of incessant family travels, their mother, being of Russian origin, believed that having all her children born in the French capital would ease the intricate French administrative procedures. Their father, Louis Dedessus le Moutier (1910-2004), was fourth generation of an old French circus family; Nona, their mother, was born Bedini, a celebrated Russian circus family of Italian origins.

The Dedessus le Moutier Family

The family’s surname, Dedessus le Moutier, is rather ancient and may have old aristocratic roots. One might regret, however, that no romantic tale exists in the family lore of a noble ancestor who would have fallen in love with a beautiful ropedancer or equestrienneA female equestrian, or horse trainer, horse presenter, or acrobat on horseback., and left a respectable and sedentary lifestyle to follow her on the road: For once, at least, it could have had a ring of truth.

Cirque de Dessus le Moustier (c.1900)
The first Dedessus le Moutier known to have joined the circus was a woman, Marie-Célestine, whose son, Alphonse, created the Cirque Moustier. Alphonse had no less than ten children; one of them, Charles, was Louis’s father and the grandfather of Toly, Charly, Eddy, and their sister, Nora (b. 1938, first married to Rodolphe Gruss [1938-1964], then to the clown Toto Chabri).

The name seems to have been originally spelled Dedessus le Moustier, and the family became known in the circus world simply as Moustier. But the spelling of itinerant performers’ names often changed with the transcripts of local permits, the various circumstances of life on the road, and, in our case, even the complaints of distant, upright relatives: At some point, the Cirque Moustier became Cirque de Dessus le Moustier, a truly aristocratic spelling, which thumbed its nose at some sedentary Dedessus le Moustiers who had objected to seeing their name disgraced on the façade of a circus!

Louis Dedessus le Moutier and his brother, Emilien, worked in every possible capacity in their family’s circus, before creating their own knockabout acrobatic act, Les Frères Moustier. When performing at the French Cirque Bureau, Louis met Nona Bedini, who worked in the same program with her family’s famous risley act. The rest, as they say, is history.

Louis and his wife created a hand-to-handAn acrobatic act in which one or more acrobats do hand-balancing in the hands of an under-stander. balancing act, and then, with Emilien and several partners, an acrobatic troupe, Les Arabes Blancs, later known as Les Dallys, with which they worked in their own Cirque Moustier. Toly was the first of the brothers to join the troupe in 1951, at age eight (his sister, Nora, had preceded him). Charly made his debut in 1956, and Eddy in 1958.

Les Castors

Les Castors (2009)
With the addition of their children in the ring, Louis and Nona began to put together their own family act, which would eventually become Les Castors. It found its definite form over the years, with the inclusion of foot juggling, first, and then some icarism(French: Jeux Icariens) Act performed by Icarists, in which one acrobat, lying on his back, juggles another acrobat with his feet. (Also: Risley Act)—specialties that were indeed familiar to Nona. Toly also became a proficient juggler, and eventually created his own juggling act in the Kremo style, under the stage name of Toly M.

Originally, the family presented their act in Native-American costumes. The name "Castors" came from The Red Ryder comics, of which Toly was fond; the Red Ryder had a young Native-American sidekick named Little Beaver (Petit Castor in French), and the young Moustiers thus became known as Les Castors—a name they will keep into adulthood. Nora left the act when she married Rodolphe Gruss in 1962, and Nona left at the same time. By then, Toly was twenty, and Charly and Eddy were in their late teens; the act finally became theirs, their father just assisting them.

Throughout their long career, Les Castors have been featured in practically every major European circus, as well as in every major variety theater. They even performed at the "Old Circus" on Tsvetnoy Boulevard in Moscow and at the "Circus on the Fontanka" in Leningrad (today the Circus Ciniselli in St. Petersburg) with Le Cirque Français, the first western circus troupe to visit the USSR in 1960, and participated in a Royal Variety Performance for Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee in 1977.

The Castors have also worked with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in Stuttgart, Germany, during its short-lived European engagement in 1963; at Sun City Casino, Bophuthatswana, in South Africa; and in North Korea, Japan, Israel, and the Arab Emirates, among other countries. After they had played the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 1975, their father left the act, and went to teach acrobatics at Annie Fratellini’s Ecole Nationale du Cirque in Paris. The Castors have since continued their long career on their own.

In the past two decades (as of 2014), Toly, Charly and Eddy Castors, as they are known in the business, have worked extensively in varieté(German, from the French: ''variété'') A German variety show whose acts are mostly circus acts, performed in a cabaret atmosphere. Very popular in Germany before WWII, Varieté shows have experienced a renaissance since the 1980s. shows in Germany and the U.S., most notably with Teatro ZinZanni in San Francisco and Seattle, and Palazzo Varieté in Vienna, Bale, Mannheim, and Stuttgart—for both of which organizations they have also written and directed shows. Additionally, they have run a regular variety show, Les rendez-vous du Musicool, at the Cirque d’Hiver’s "Théâtre de la Ménagerie" in Paris.

They still work seasonally today, notably in German varieté(German, from the French: ''variété'') A German variety show whose acts are mostly circus acts, performed in a cabaret atmosphere. Very popular in Germany before WWII, Varieté shows have experienced a renaissance since the 1980s., although Charly lives in Seattle, in the United States, (where he had a French cooking show on local television!) and his brothers live in France, where they also pursue their own personal interests—Eddie directing shows, Toly writing and drawing cartoons, among other activities.

See Also

Suggested Reading

  • Toly Castors, L'Éloge du cirque — Les loges du cirque (Padova, Papergraf, 2011) — ISBN 978-2-7466-2837-3

Image Gallery

External Link