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Holidays go to the horses

Belos Cavalos and Transcendence Theatre join forces
Holidays go to the horses
The horse-human connection: the founder of Belos Cavalos, Dr. Charlyn Belluzzo, pictured with Heliodoro.Photo by Karli Henneman

By Chris Rooney

It will be the best of both worlds when Transcendence Theatre Company joins forces with the Belos Cavalos equestrian center for a holiday extravaganza.

Kenwood-based Belos Cavalos’s tranquil grounds will serve as the venue for Transcendence’s Broadway Holiday Spectacular, running Dec. 3-12.

“As strange as it may sound, Transcendence Theatre Company and Belos Cavalos have a lot in common, far beyond both being nonprofit organizations,” said Belos Cavalos’ founder and clinical director, Dr. Charlyn Belluzzo. “We both create a safe space for relationships — a space where people come together to share an experience; learning, growing, and often healing. Both organizations have a direct impact on the youth of Sonoma County.” Both programs assist Sonoma Valley’s children by helping improve their “resiliency, compassion, empathy, self-regulation, self-esteem, and confidence,” Belluzzo said.

“We recognized right away the potential power of this collaboration,” she said.

The production will celebrate the holiday season with new performances of an annual show featuring dance numbers, Broadway show tunes, and modern twists on well-known classics. Sonomabased Transcendence Theatre Company is celebrating its 10year anniversary season. The holiday show features a cast of talent fresh off a long list of Broadway hits, from “Mamma Mia” to “Phantom of the Opera.”

“When I first saw Belos Cavalos, I was so inspired to dream, and that is what the whole creative team has done this year,” said director and choreographer Matthew Steffens in a press statement. “After a year that none of us will forget, I think we can all use a little holiday joy in our lives, and we could not be more excited to be back sharing that joy with the Transcendence family.”

Belluzzo concurred, saying the show will not fail to impress and attendees will “be dazzled by all these brilliant performers, warming your hearts with surprising new twists [on] the holiday tunes you love. Belos Cavalos is a working farm, nestled at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain, with a cozy stable full of fuzzy, warm animals, all dressed up for the holidays. It’s the perfect kickoff [for] celebrating your holidays this year.”

Steffens added, “In addition to the incredible Broadway vocalists, exciting dancing, and thrilling band, we might even have some live animals in the show this year. With new orchestrations, new choreography, and a new song list, this year’s production celebrates the diversity in all of us, and reminds us of the power of connection, especially in the holiday season.”

A percentage of ticket sales will benefit Belos Cavalos programs. For Belluzzo, it’s a mission right from the heart.

“Horses have always been a passion of mine, since I was a very small child,” she said. “In fact, growing up, my two closest friends were a beautiful horse named Suzy and a small black dog named Angus. I have been a competitive show jumper and played years of polo, but the magic for me has always been the horse-human relationship. Over the years, my career has taken me to many parts of the world, thus my horses are an international herd, joining me here in Kenwood from Portugal, The Netherlands, and Brazil.”

While many know of benefits that dogs can provide beyond companionship, there’s less awareness about equestrian programs and their value in assisting people with mental health issues.

“Horses are prey animals, keenly aware and highly sensitive,” Belluzzo explained. “Historically, horses’ lives depended on their ability to read their environment. Horses can’t lie. They constantly give authentic feedback. Horses are sensitive to our behaviors and energy, often reflecting our own behavior. Horses are social animals, like humans, allowing us to experience group dynamics and how we as individuals fit into the herd. Horses are curious and social animals, who most often want to connect with other horses and humans.”

In the past, Belos Cavalos has hosted such performers as Cirque du Soleil. All performances of this show will take place under a bigtop tent.

Ticket info: The shows run from Dec. 3 through Dec. 12, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.; at Belos Cavalos, 687 Campagna Lane, Kenwood. Ticket prices are $49, $69 (preferred seating), and $149 (includes parking). Food and beverages will be sold. Transcendence Theatre Company’s COVID-19 policy requires all ticket holders to wear masks and to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Patrons will be asked for a photo ID and proof of vaccination to enter the theater. Patrons under the age of 12, as well as those who need a reasonable accommodation for medical reasons or due to a sincerely held religious belief, must provide proof of a negative COVID- 19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to entering the theater.

For more information on tickets, call the box office at (877) 4241414, ext. 1. For more information on Transcendence Theatre, visit www.bestnightever.org.

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