Saturday, April 10, 2010

Greyhounds Pas De Deux

In case you've been getting tired of stories of us going on walks, I decided to tell a story from long ago that has to do with Treat and Hawk back when Lilac was still a foster dog. 

In December of 2003 a request went out to the greyhound adoption groups in our area from the Peoria Ballet.  They were looking for male greyhounds to audition to be in the hunt scene of their production of Giselle.  Specifically, they were looking for large males who looked like they'd just come off the racetrack.  That would mean that their muscles were still pretty well-defined.  In other words, they wanted hounds that were ripped.  However, there weren't a whole lot of hounds in our area at the time who were fresh off the track.  They looked at Hawk and decided that they definitely wanted him in the production. 

After some other hounds had to back out for various reasons, they also decided to let Treat be in the production, which made me pretty happy.  She was Hawk's rock and pretty much anywhere she would go, he would follow.  Twelve greyhounds were decided on to be in the production and she was the only female.  It's true, there was no one the little diva couldn't win over.  I should also mention that Mr. Taleteller was chosen as one of the two handlers to walk out on stage with the hounds during the production.

In return for allowing our hounds to be in the ballet, our adoption group was given the opportunity to hold a meet and greet in the theatre lobby.  The only catch was that we had to dress in period costume, so I also had to get a costume to wear.  I found one, thanks to ebay, and we began to start attending rehearsals with the hounds.

Mr. Taleteller and another person each had to lead six greyhounds out on the stage.  This was no easy feat.  Some of the hounds weren't used to walking with others, only two, Treat and Hawk, knew the person they were walking with, and there were all sorts of things going on both onstage and off.  The hounds had to have collars that looked like they were from that period which was a bit difficult, too.  Finally, though, we had everything we needed.   Our dressing room was originally on the third floor, but after two nights of dragging panting dogs out on stage, they gave us the delivery dock as a dressing room, which was just outside the backstage door. 

Rehearsals went pretty well and soon the night of the performance arrived. As we waited, Roberta Flack came by.  As it turned out, she was in town to perform at another event and someone was driving her around town to entertain her before it was time for her to be there.  She had owned Italian Greyhounds and when she saw the hounds, she had the driver stop and got out to see the dogs.  Who knew greyhounds were such celebrities?  She even posed for pictures with the hounds.

Finally, it was time for the show.  I stood with Mr. Taleteller keeping the dogs all lined up until it was time for them to move out onto the stage.  At the last minute, Hawk pulled what we always referred to as his jackass routine where he'd back up and rear like a stallion.  Without missing a beat, I grabbed his leash and hissed at my husband to just go.  Hawk twined around my legs and wagged his tail as he watched the others glide out onto the stage.  Treat pranced across the stage as if she were the prima ballerina.  The ooos and aaahs of the crowd told us backstage that the dogs had completely stolen the show.

During the intermission, we were mobbed.  People couldn't get enough of the greyhounds.  Treat, especially, ate the attention up.  It was really an amazing night.  There were a lot of people who wanted to know how they could get one of their own, and we were happy to tell them.  An article about the performance was done in the fall issue of Celebrating Greyhounds in 2004.  When the ballet toured that summer, they asked several other greyhound groups to participate as well, since we couldn't take off work and drive the dogs around the country to the different performances, however, our group was the first.  Being in the ballet was definitely one of the most interesting things that we have done with the greyhounds.  You never know where your dogs will take you!

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  1. What an awesome story!

    Thanks fur sharing it!


  2. Very, very cool. Glad no one improvised on stage. Wondering why no one does a ballet with Siberian Huskies?

  3. She was the only female ? I'm so glad , and secretly amazed, it went off well.

  4. You had famous doggies! So where is houndstooth in da pikture?
    Dis was a great story. They look like stars cuz they be so regal looking. Me, not so much.

  5. How cool!! And Roberta Flack showing up was beyond neat!

  6. That sounds so awesome! The fabulous acting hounds!!! :p Its is great that you were able to get so many photos of them up there too!!

  7. That's a great story - and what's ore, you raised awareness for your breed!

    Giggling about Thundering Herd's comment of ballet with Huskies.

  8. Wow! That is super duper neat! I luved all those pictures! I'm very much glad that it brought such Most Wonderful attention to greyhound adoptions! My mom has been in lots of plays and she says there's a rule that goes, "Never act with kids or animals (cuz they'll always steal the show)." Pfsh. What does she know?

    Wiggles & Wags,

  9. Wow, how famous you are! Did they let you join the Critter Actor's Guild?

  10. You are famous! Did you get to join the Critter Actor's Guild?

  11. WOW Roberta Flack!! This was a grrreat story. I loved it. Did you know that I was in a play once??? I won a prize for the bestest actor thingy. I got a gift certificate from... PetSmart. It was grrrreat fun!

  12. It is so true that you never know where your dogs will take you! Whether it be to a ballet stage or a deer carcass. You need to be ready to follow and live a dog's life!

  13. This is great. I am a thespian so have been in my share of plays. I can tell you that if I'd been in that production and when the hounds walked out, I'd have a pretty hard time staying in character...I would have much rather just loved them up. When they are around, they always seem to attract my full attention, it is hard to concentrate on anything else. Very cool. We have been on TV with our hounds a few times, done news stories. I think the most fun though is that ad agencies would call and I would find people in our group with appropriate hounds to match their needs. Once even our Cosy and Shasta went for a photo shoot for an add for some sort of a financial group. They love the hounds and they really did quite well with the entire thing.

    That is so cool though...and Roberta Flack too - geez I haven't thought about her in years! She is a great singer. 'The First Time...Ever I Saw Your Face...'

    But then enough babbering from me...great, great post, enjoyed it.

  14. Wow, what a super experience! Really an amazing memory!

  15. We all KNOW who are the real stars! {{wink, wink}}

    Have a pawsome weekend!

    Woofs and Kisses!
    The Fiesty Three

  16. What an amazing experience!
    Thank you for sharing with us.
    I would love to dance with you all, i am so impressed!
    any chance i can get your autographs? :)

    Love, Bella.

  17. Wow! Sure that was pawesome!
    Thanks for sharing it!
    Kisses and hugs

  18. WOW that is soooooooo cool!

    LOVED seeing the pictures! We didn't realize that we knew famous pups!

    Chasing my tale...
    Addie, Lucie and Hailey

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  20. Pretty darn cool! Great story and photos.

  21. That is SO cool! We loved the story and the pictures!!!

    Emma Rose


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