History Dynasty Berousek
HISTORY OF THE BEROUSEK FAMILY FROM 1756
264 YEARS OF FAMILY DYNASTY
Early documents written around 3500 years before Christ describe scenes resembling performances similar to the circus acts we know today.
More than 3000 years ago the Egyptians arranged marches past of wild animals; elephants, lions and camels. Greece is supposed to be a cradle of outdoor amphitheatres, but the name “circus” appeared for the first time in ancient Rome. Spectators, sitting on tier of seats, would watch wrestling matches between two men (gladiators) or wrestling between a man and a beast.
In medieval times this kind of entertainment got less cruel and first jugglers, tamed monkeys and bears appeared.
The circus performances have quite a long history. We can trace it back to ancient times, through medieval to contemporary times. Various groups of performing artists wandered the world and performed mostly in noble castles or chateaus, at fairs and in drinking houses during wakes. They presented tamed animals and various acrobatic tricks. Circus as we know today sprung up in Europe at the end of 18th century when bigger travelling companies of performers – circuses – were founded presenting wide range of circus arts.
The first horse tracks, surrounded by hewn logs, appeared in England and in France. The audience could watch the exhibition of equestrian performances from tiers of seats. These performances were later called the Art of Manege. Later comic scenes, pantomime and dance were added to the performance which moved from outdoors to rounded buildings or tents.
The Berousek family has been performing circus arts for more than 260 years, starting in the year 1756. The first member of the Berousek family was presented as a comedian and he was succeeded by puppeteers, artists or rope-walkers. These people used to be recorded at the registry office as “ a comedian wandering the world”, and this denomination could mean only circus performers.
Our family succeeded to spot ancestors back to the 1. generation. The founder of this generation was Josef Berousek and his offspring Marie of the 2. generation and Jan Berousek of the 3. generation. These our ancestors wandered the world and performed in the open air arena as performers, acrobats and tamers. The roots of this family are connected to the village Vilemov, district Caslav.
Historical records document that Cirkus Berousek was founded in Bohemia in about 1920 being founded by Hynek Ignac Berousek, who performed equestrian skills and he was a bear tamer as well.
He carried on his own family circus till 1937. When he died on tour in Slovakia, he was buried in Sucany. Hynek Ignac Berousek and his wife Božena, born Simkova, brought up 8 children.
When Hynek Ignac Berousek died in 1937 the family Circus Berousek was overtaken by his youngest son Antonin Berousek ( 5th generation ) who performed as a lion tamer and horse breaker. He also stood in for his older brother in bear taming.
Antonin Berousek is my grandfather from my father's side.
With his wife Marie, born Meizner, who came from a family of magicians and with his older brother he extended the former family Circus Berousek to the 3rd largest circus in Czech Republic and renamed it to Circus Central.
During the period of the first Czechoslovak Republic from 1918 to 1938 the circus had a modern equipment, well equipped and treated menagerie, own winter facility for performers and animals with a hall for training their performances.
The brothers Berousek managed the circus successfully together till 1951 when it became nationalized.
After the act of nationalization the members of Berousek family worked for a very short time in the circuses that originally belonged to themselves. They had to start working for the national enterprise Czechoslovak Circus and Variety Arts, leave Czechoslovakia or abandon circus performance. The love for circus arts prevailed. My father Ferdinand Berousek ( 6th generation ) was a flying trapeze performer and later a juggler.
My mother Sonja Berousek also comes from the Berousek family. Her grandfather was an acrobat and a bear tamer and his wife Anna, born Vocaskova, founded in 1930 their own family circus Bernes. They carried out the circus till 1951. They brought up 10 children.
One of these children was my grandfather Vaclav Berousek ( 6th generation ) from my mother’s side who performed as an acrobat and musical clown. My mother performed on an aerial pole and later she balanced glass on a tray and juggled. My parents founded a group known as The Fredys where I, Mario Berousek ( 7th generation ) started performing in 1983 at the age of 9. In 1986 my brother Robi Berousek joined our jugglers group. The career of our group The Fredys was successfully finished in 1995 at the festival in Paris-Massy where we were awarded a silver medal.
Since 1996 I have been building my own career as a solo juggler Mario Berousek. I am listed in the Guinness Book of Records as a the world's fastest juggler. I perform the speed juggling with clubs which I presented in many circuses, variety shows and gala performances all over Europe. I am the first Czech performer from the Berousek family who has been presenting his juggling skills at the Moulin Rouge in Paris. I performed here also at the Gala performance on the 120th Anniversary of the Moulin Rouge cabaret held on October, 6, 2009.
My younger brother Robert Berousek has been performing as the fastest acrobat on a free-standing ladder and he juggles tennis rackets.
In 1995 I married Andrea who was an acrobat on the free-standing ladder. Her mother Gertruda Berousek performed on a 35 meters high pole and played many instruments in her musical show. Andrea also came from the large Berousek family. She is grand-daughter of Bohumil Berousek ( 5th generation ) whose family themselves, known as Berossini, have a long tradition in ropewalking. Her ancestors were Josef Berousek ( 4th generation ), Silas Berousek ( 3rd generation ), who worked under he name Blondin and was the first man in the world to walk on a rope over the Niagara Falls, Ignac Berousek ( 2nd generation ) and Josef Berousek ( 1st generation ), working as puppeteers from 1836 to 1865.
In 1995 after our wedding our first daughter Sharon Berousek was born. She follows the family tradition of circus arts. When Sharon was 5 her grandfather Ferdinand Berousek started to teach her the traditional skills of circus juggling and since 2002 I have been teaching her juggling.
She has already come through when she was trained from 2002 to 2006 by the Russian gymnast Olga Strajeva, who got a bronze medal at the European Championship in Brussels. Sharon attended courses of rhythmic gymnastics organised by club Bohemia in Prague. She worked hard on her choreography with Tatiana Kuznetzova in 2008/2009 in a dancing school in Paris. Sharon performed for the first time in the city of Reims with Circus Educatif in 2006 and in Circus Benneweis in 2007 in Copenhagen in presence of Mary Elizabeth, Crown Princess of Denmark. Finally, in 2009, Sharon successfully won the 4th place prize at the circus festival in Namur, Belgium. Sharon's last achievement was her performance at the Gala show at the Moulin Rouge in Paris.
I hope my three younger daughters Vanessa, Nicole and Priscilla Berousek and my son Mario Ignacio Berousek Junior will continue in performing circus arts as well and that all my children will carry on the family name Berousek and they will spread the fame and quality of the famous large clan from the Czech Republic.