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After rehearsals, Cats choreographer unwinds in this impeccably decorated living room

Gino Berti’s living room.

Fernando Morales

When Gino Berti performed as a dancer in the Canadian stage production of Beauty and the Beast, he was finally making a decent enough wage that he and his partner of 29 years, lawyer Joseph Sheridan, determined it was time to buy a house. The couple shopped around in Toronto's Cabbagetown neighbourhood, eventually settling on a 110-year old Victorian row house. That was 17 years ago and Berti, along with Sheridan, is still there, no longer dancing, but working as an in-demand musical-theatre choreographer whose latest production, Cats, will be at Toronto's Panasonic Theatre until September. Berti performed in the first Canadian touring production of Cats in 1987, playing Coricopat, twin to Tantomile. His own version of Cats is based on Gillian Lynne's original choreography and has required many long days and nights at the theatre, after which Berti retreats to his living room in order to unwind. "It's very calming," he says of his favourite room. "After a lot of rehearsals, I like to spend time there. I find all the colours soothing."

The candelabras

"I found these at HomeSense. A friend taught me that even if a room is small you can have large decorative items in it as long as they are stark, not busy. These fit the bill."

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The mirror

"This is from Bombay & Co. I wanted a thick, gold-rimmed mirror for over the fireplace and I found it at [Toronto's] Yorkdale mall."

The fireplace

"It's coal burning and is made of wrought iron. Originally, the mantel was made of tile. But my late father had some marble in his garage and he gave it to me. We had it cut to fit."

The couch

"This is from UpCountry. We wanted a curved couch, without arms, to counteract all the angles in the room, so thought we'd have to have one made. And then we saw this and bought it. I like the clean lines."

The window

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"It's original to the house and is lead glass. The curtains are two different shades of green, to complement the couch."

The carpet

"I needed a carpet that would tie in all the colours in the room and told my friend, the choreographer Janet Wagner, what I was looking for. She called me one day from Oakville and said she had found it. I trusted her and drove out to the store. When I saw it hanging on the wall, I knew she was right. I bought it on the spot."

The ottoman

"This is also from UpCountry. We got it basically because we like the extra seating. It's multi-functioning. We use it to put up our feet, and put trays of food on it when we entertain."

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About the Author

Deirdre Kelly is a features writer for The Globe and Mail. She is the author of the best-selling Paris Times Eight and Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection (Greystone Books). More


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