Duffy (top) and Miller
Duffy (top) and Miller

Up With Pups aerial show: An airborne canine event

If you love Cirque de Soleil, can't wait for Denver's first Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival, coming in May -- and, oh yeah, happen to like dogs -- then the upcoming pooch-oriented aerial show Don't Kill Bill: A Dog Lover's Night Out might be just the ticket.

Organizer Kyla Duffy describes the event as "a roller-coaster of emotion coupling dynamic storytelling and unforgettable aerial fabric performances" to raise awareness about rescue dogs and puppy mills -- and it features a performing canine in the bargain.

"It's a little hard to explain," Duffy says. "There's nothing out there to compare it to."

A former professional snowboarder, Duffy is also a veteran trapeze and aerial fabric artist; she'll be touring Europe as the catcher for an all-female troupe later this year. But her passion for rescuing abused or neglected animals has also led her to launch a nonprofit, Up With Pups, and a book publishing enterprise, Happy Tails, that funnels some of its proceeds to dog rescue efforts.

Don't Kill Bill is a unique blend of Duffy's obsessions: a ninety-minute aerial performance by Duffy and her 15-year-old colleague, Jessie Miller, interspersed with a slide show featuring adoptable dogs and tales of inspiring rescues (like the chihuahua who's now a seizure alert dog) read by the authors. (Bill is Duffy's own rescue from a puppy mill.) Proceeds from the evening's ticket sales will help to fund a manual Duffy is developing for canine rescue organizations.

And somewhere in the high-flying evening, a cattle dog named Clementine will "play an integral role in our aerial performance," Duffy says, while declining to reveal the exact nature of Clementine's act.

It all goes down -- or up -- at Boulder's Dairy Center for the Arts , 2590 Walnut Street, on Saturday, February 12, at 7:30 pm. For more information, check out the Up With Pups website. See below for a sample of Duffy's aerial fabric work.

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