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How the famous Durov circus dynasty appeared in Russia

This circus dynasty has been around for more than 150 years. Grandfather Durov – its legendary founder, remained in the memory of people as the first person to refuse the whip and stick when training animals and for the first time turned the circus from an entertainment for adults to a children’s holiday. In addition to the ability to educate our younger brothers, the Durovs were able to communicate with arrogant officials, they were legendary. This dynasty gave our country eleven beautiful circus performers, each of whom was a real star.

There are also many rumors about the roots of the Durovs. One of the most common, which is not denied by modern successors of the dynasty, is that the girl-cavalryman Nadezhda Andreyevna Durova, a hero of the war of 1812, about which the film “the hussar ballad” is also related to this family. The first mention of the Durovs in Russian genealogical books dates back to the XVI century. Among them were postelnicu, the Streltsy colonels, magistrates, eight stolnikov of Peter the Great. However, the story of the founder of the dynasty Vladimir Leonidovich always begins with his flight from home with his brother Anatoly. The boys who studied in the Cadet corps got into trouble – one of them entered the lesson of the law of God upside down, and, afraid of punishment, ran away to the street. Hungry wanderings brought the brothers to the circus booth. This is how events determined the fate of not only Vladimir and Anatoly, but also their numerous descendants for several generations to come.

The Durov brothers went through the entire “career path” in Rinaldo’s circus: they started as Billboard posters, were uniformists, and assistants. Then they went to the arena themselves, performing as acrobats, sword swallowers, magicians, clowns. Anatoly remained working in this genre, the” highlight ” in his performances was sharp satire. In his life, by the way, he also never hid his attitude to the authorities. There is a historical anecdote about how Anatoly met the Governor-General in the buffet of the Odessa circus. Everyone stood up at the sight of their superiors, except Durov:

“Why are you sitting there?”
“Who are you?”
“I am Governor-General Zeleny.
“When you’re ready, I’ll get up.”
Of course, he got mad and banned the premiere at the circus. In addition, he drove Durov out of the city. The circus performer left Odessa, but at parting arranged a performance – he arrived at the station on a pig painted green.

Unlike his brother, Vladimir did not arrange such bright escapades. He devoted all his time to training. The artist went abroad several times, bought rare animals there, and got acquainted with the performances of the world’s most famous celebrities. Subsequently, he turned to science and made experiments in the field of zoopsychology. Vladimir Durov’s dream was to build his own house for animals, to put them there in the most suitable conditions for everyone, to observe, treat, teach and show their art. In 1912, this dream finally began to be realized. In Moscow, on Staraya Bozhedomka street, he bought a spacious house with a stable and garden and opened “Durov’s Corner”. There has never been such an institution anywhere in the world. In addition to the theater of animals “baby”, where the audience could watch the performances of trained animals, there was a vast natural science Museum and a real scientific laboratory. Visitors were shown training techniques and given lectures on animal psychology. By the way, this building of the “Crumb Theater” is still used as a small stage of the Durov theater.

After the death of the founder of the dynasty, the theater of animals remained in the hands of his family. First, the management was taken over by his wife Anna Ignatyevna, then-daughter Anna Vladimirovna Durova-Sadovskaya. Then the “Wonderland of grandfather Durov” was led by Vladimir Leonidovich’s great-granddaughter-Natalia Yuryevna Durova, who was responsible for perestroika and the “dashing 90s”. in 2007, the management of the Theater took over the great-grandson of Vladimir Leonidovich, people’s Artist of Russia Yuri Durov. Today the “Country of miracles of grandfather Durov” is recognized as a national asset. This is not only a theater of trained animals, but also an educational center.

Yuri Durov tells about his circus childhood:

“From my earliest childhood I was aware of my responsibility to my family name and I wanted to go to the arena. Although the first time I was there by accident. We performed a new year’s fairy tale, according to the plot of which evil forces turned the big artist Durov into a small one. It is clear that I had to play this little Durov. I was in the arena for a few minutes, standing, crying, then a good wizard appeared and turned me back into a Durov-big. Soon my father suggested that I assist him in the arena and further. I served him balls in the sea lion room and even conducted an elephant jazz band.»

Probably, the Durovs know the secret of how to raise their children so that nature does not “rest”on them. Today, a new generation of Durovs – Yuri Yurievich’s daughter Natalia, as well as three generations of her ancestors, works as a trainer in the family theater. She did not immediately accept her vocation, at first she wanted to get another profession, but later the genes still took their toll, and the girl returned to the arena. In her work, of course, she is guided by the main motto of her famous great-great-grandfather: “Cruelty humiliates, only kindness can be beautiful.”

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