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Photo provided by Cirque Du Macabre and Shadow in the Moon's Facebook page.

Bishop Educational Gardens to host the first Cirque Du Macabre

Cirque Du Macabre is making its way to Rockbridge for the first time. The event will be hosted at Bishop Educational Gardens, 13200 Little Cola Road, Saturday, Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. Including local performing artists, dancers and regional musicians, Cirque Du Macabre is an event for people of all ages.

With the intent to entertain and spark the curiosity of the new creative dance and song in the minds of young ones, dancers from different backgrounds have come together to create this show.

“I've always kind of liked strange things too, like Macabre,” Jess Bouffioux, creator of her band, Shadow in the Moon, said. “It can be kind of gory, for me, it's like a strange-whimsical — sort of like the Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Shadow in the Moon will do a live performance for the audience and plan to excite them with its originality and new music. Dancers will also perform to song recordings by Megan Wren, The Bloodthirsty Virgins, Caitlin Kraus and Electro Cult Circus. 

“Shadow in the Moon is a band I formed with my life partner Kurt McGinnis,” Bouffioux said. “We went to a ghost concert in Fort Wayne, and on the way there we were like ‘we should probably form a band.’ It kind of started there. It was in 2017. We didn't know what to name it. And we really love Nightmare Before Christmas and we were just watching it one night, and it's from a song lyric in the ‘This is Halloween’ — the opening song. So that's where we got that name.”

Bouffioux first came up with the idea when delving into her past. She was in a dance routine called “Cirque Du Macabre” and had a jester costume. From that moment on, she fell in love with the circus and contortion. She wanted to share her love for her art with a bigger audience.

Horror is not the intention of this event. In fact, the intention was to allow the feeling of being in the woods and to utilize the imagination. It’s the dip of a toe into the world of fantasy.

The event’s main feature will be a pumpkin-lined trail. While walking the trail, song, dance and music will guide the participants. The artists will bring stories to life and make Bishop Gardens feel alive. 

“We wanted people to feel like they were going to the circus and everything is happening very close to you and there’s just fantastical things happening,” Robyn Lindsey, a dancer in charge of the event, said.

Lindsey and Bouffioux added that different types of dance will be involved so the performers can introduce more to the children. These dance styles include belly dance and tap dance, along with some physical theater and circus tricks. 

When finding a location, Bobbi Bishop, owner of Bishop Educational Gardens, was willing to provide her garden for this event. 

“I think one of my greatest things about the garden is that I watch people come in all stressed and leave calm,” Bishop said. “So, it's such a refreshing place.”

Bishop is excited to share her garden with anyone and everyone. Likewise, the performers expressed excitement and dedication. In fact, they choreographed everything on their own and put work into this production with multiple practices.

Tickets will be “pay what you can” and an encouraged donation to the performers for their time and contribution. 

“We wanted to mark it as the week after Halloween, because I know there's so many things going on,” Bouffioux said. “It's one last Halloween hurrah.”


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