Cirque du Pets
Pro performers stage special fundraiser for Sonoma shelter
By Bradley Gray
A magic place where the avant-garde melds with the exotic, the sensual, the dramatic and the outrageous. Where aerialists, artists, body percussionists, dancers and musicians weave an exotic tapestry. If all of this sounds similar to one of the famous Cirque du Soleil shows, that's for good reason—because it is. It's the Black Cat Cabaret, slated for two nights in the town of Sonoma, Sept. 9–10, featuring professional Cirque performers who travel from Las Vegas to donate their time in support of Pets Lifeline, Sonoma's only animal shelter.
The performance is titled Year of the Tiger, and is the second time that the Black Cat Cabaret has come to the Valley of the Moon; due to last year's popularity, another show has been added. Stage director Alain Gauthier is enthusiastic about this year's performance.
"We are very excited about taking the show to the next level," Gauthier says. "We have a very funny, funky and mischievous cast, with well-defined characters. Our emcee is a drunk, extravagant, elegant woman who is a ball of fire. She's annoying, but she's very funny, too. We will have three new acts, including a lasso artist, and some very outstanding group choreography. All of the visuals are very, very beautiful."
Montreal-born Gauthier joined Cirque du Soleil in 1986 and has performed 1,600 live performances with the troupe. He was part of the acrobatic-movement research team that has helped the Cirque achieve the style of performance that it presents today.
"I've known Gypsies and millionaires, and I feel fortunate that I am here in this beautiful place and to be engaged usefully and creatively in life," says artistic director Julie McInnes. "Working with extraordinary people for a great cause—the care of our friends, the cats and the dogs—nourishes the soul."
The Black Cat Cabaret runs Thursday–Friday, Sept. 9–10, at the Field of Dreams, 179 First St. W., Sonoma. 8pm. $75–$250. 707.996.4577, ext. 110.
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