You’ve always suspected your cat, Mittens, is capable of more than she lets on. Sure, she looks lazy, lounging around in sunbeams all afternoon and gorging herself on dry cat food and whatever she can scrounge off of the kitchen counter at night, but underneath that lovable exterior lies generations of finely tuned instinct and animal prowess. Your house cat is able to leap great heights, see in the dark, creep around the house without making a sound, and hack up the perfect hairball, so why can’t she ride skateboards, go bowling, or perform in a rock and roll band? What may sound like pro-cat propaganda cooked up by the members of PETA is actually truth: your everyday, unassuming house cat has the blood of a vaudeville performer running in her veins. All you need is one showing of Samantha Martin’s Amazing Acro-Cats to be sure of Mittens’ place on the stage. You’re in luck, because these very same Amazing Acro-Cats are coming to Indianapolis on Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3, 2011 at the IndyFringe Building.
|Video of the Amazing Acro-Cats performing in Austin, Texas in October of 2010; the Amazing Acro-Cats will be performing in Indianapolis April 2 and 3|
The Amazing Acro-Cats are the vision of Samantha Martin, an animal trainer and behaviorist who lives in the Irving Park neighborhood of Chicago. Martin has an associate’s degree in animal husbandry and honed her skills at the Brooklyn Zoo, and she has trained cats for a variety of commercial spots, music videos, and films. The Amazing Acro-Cats got their start in 2009, when Martin began fostering at a rescue shelter in the city. The troupe began with eleven cats that were slated for euthanasia at a local kill shelter; Martin rescued them and put them into service. More than just a cat circus, the Amazing Acro-Cats help the very performers that make it possible. Through television appearances and local performances, Martin’s Acro-Cats get the attention of potential foster parents, who then bring the cat into their household, where it can start a new lease on life. In this way, the Amazing Acro-Cats is kind of a halfway home for cats rescued from the clutches of death; they complete their training with the Acro-Cats and move on to a comfortable home life.
|A Chicago Revealed video introducing the cats of the Amazing Acro-Cats; the Amazing Acro-Cats will be performing in Indianapolis April 2 and 3|
But as you’ll see if you attend the Indianapolis event featuring the Amazing Acro-Cats this weekend, this isn’t just a charity affair. These cats can really move, putting on displays of physical prowess and cute cognition. The Amazing Acro-Cats are one of only four trained house cat shows in the United States, and the only one in Chicago, so you can be sure that the feats of daring whimsy at the IndyFringe Building won’t be repeated around Central Indiana any time soon. Five regular performers make up the rotation of the Amazing Acro-Cats: Buggles, Fiji, Pudge, Oz, and Itty. Buggles is “the nerd,” Fiji is “the princess” (who gets pushed around the stage in her regal cart by the other kitties), Pudge is “the sweetheart,” Oz is “the clown”, and Itty is “the jumper,” so named because of his tendency to leap into human arms uninvited. Each cat brings his or her own skills to the table. If you attend this weekend’s performance of the Amazing Acro-Cats, you’ll see skateboard riding, bell ringing, barrel rolling, high wire balancing, agility course running, and much more as each cat is put through the motions with the greatest of ease.
|Video of the Amazing Acro-Cats performing live in Chicago; the Amazing Acro-Cats will be performing in Indianapolis April 2 and 3|
Aside from their work in the ring, these Amazing Acro-Cats also dabble in live music on the side. You won’t see an Indianapolis band like this at Radio Radio or The Vogue; these cool cats don’t even have opposable thumbs, let alone the ability to read music, so the fact that they can take the stage and purr along with “Stray Cat Strut” is pretty impressive. The Rock Cats have been seen on the BBC, WGN Chicago, and on stages around the country, and on April 2 and 3 you can see them in Indy. Martin claims that each cat has his or her own affinity for a certain instrument. “You can see which cat, what their strong point is, you know, who’s more of a drumming personality. Nue [a little grey and brown cat] just drifted toward the keyboards,” she said during an interview on WGN. The Rock Cats won’t exactly put anybody in the Indianapolis music scene to shame (if you were to lump them in a genre, it’d either be free jazz or noise), but they’ll melt your heart with unbearable cuteness.
|WGN video interview with Samantha Martin and a performance by The Rock Cats; the Amazing Acro-Cats and the Rock Cats will be performing in Indianapolis April 2 and 3|
For a unique Indianapolis performing arts experience, you could do much worse than attending one of the upcoming performances of Samantha Martin’s Amazing Acro-Cats. These talented kitties will make you look twice at your own feline friends. From bowling with chickens to rocking out on a miniature drum set, the Amazing Acro-Cats are truly a sight to behold, whether you’re a cat person or not. The Amazing Acro-Cats will be performing at the IndyFringe Building in the Indianapolis cultural district of Mass Ave on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 3:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults at $10 for Indianapolis children ages 10 and under; a portion of the proceeds will benefit Cats Haven Cat Shelter. Come out and see Samantha Martin’s Amazing Acro-Cats on Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3, 2011; you’ll never see Mittens the same way again.
Samantha Martin’s Amazing Acro-Cats: Circus Cats of Chicago
Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 2, 5, and 8; Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 3, 5, and 8
Tickets: $12/adults, $10/children 10 and under
719 E St Clair St
Indianapolis, IN 46202
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