HOUSTON, Texas, January 8, 2005- 150 local children and their families watched in awe as the amazing Gregory Popovich and his talented, furry friends took center stage at a Holiday Celebration organized by Russian Cultural Center Our Texas.
Following a children’s activity hour including traditional songs, and a visit by Father Frost and the Snowmaiden, Popovich and his team of tricksters, including 14 cats, five rats, 8 dogs, five doves, and a rooster, joined a few human friends – Pavel Bogachuk, Master of Ceremonies; Alexei Konov, Bellboy; Sasha Bik, Pantomime Piro – in ensuring that the entire audience was beaming with grins and giggles.
“Children relate to clowns and pets because they have similar souls. Like children, they have an innocence, making it difficult, sometimes, to understand and be understood in the serious world of adults,” notes Popovich. He adds, “Children always enjoy the show, but so do their parents. Seeing a kitten wheeling a dog around in a baby carriage tests convention to the extreme, and sometime this is quite healthy for adults!”
Popovich has been testing convention for years. As a member of the Moscow circus, he won many honors and accolades as a world-class juggler and animal trainer. He came to the United States in 1991 and has appeared on the David Letterman and Jay Leno Shows.
He writes his own show materials and trains all of his animals himself. “Well, I don’t really train them”, – Gregory reveals. “I get to know them, their unique personalities and their nature. Some animals like to jump around, some are climbers. I just study what comes naturally to them and try to bring that behavior out with positive reinforcement. Their “training” is really just consistent playtime. They enjoy the attention. All of my animals have been rescued from animal shelters around the country, so this is a second chance for them.”
Following the show, children gathered to meet Popovich, Bogachuk, Bik and Konov, still in costume. Proud parents snapped pictures. Even the youngest guests were allowed to bear-hugged and pet the beautiful cats that captured their imaginations just moments before. Patiently and with nominal meowing, the cats complied. They did seem to really enjoy the attention.
To learn more about The Comedy Pet Theatre, log onto www.comedypettheatre.com. Brandy B. Obvintsev