Puppet Sex and Rock Pioneers on YAC Stage

The masterminds at the Yukon Arts Centre are preparing for another season of entertainment. And judging from the 2009/2010 lineup, there will be a lot of dancing going on.

Earlier this month, artistic director Eric Epstein announced what’s in store. The Art Lover’s Series had already been unveiled, inviting Yukon theatergoers to indulge in something a little more on the edge.

Over 150 subscribers have already committed to the artistic collection. The series begins later this month with the dance production of Orpheus and Eurydice, performed by Compagnie Marie Chouinard. This kickoff performance doesn’t shy away from sex appeal as dancers traverse the stage in fur hats and pasties.

The series continues in mid-October with a risqué contemporary dance offering from Montréal’s Cas Public. Its production of Suites Cruelles explores the body as dancers provoke and search one another. The company will also present a teen-oriented performance, Diary, which merges dance and love.

There is one gap to fill in the Art Lover’s Series as Canadian singer-songwriter Ferron has cancelled her appearance for health reasons. Epstein says he’s hard at work to fill the spot.

But next up in the theatre package is Lauchie, Liza and Rory, which is presented mid-January. The production is adapted from a short story by Sheldon Currie, known for penning Margaret’s Museum.

Two actors take on three characters: a coal miner, his twin brother and the vivacious Liza. The rest is up to you to see.

Later that same month, a collaborative piece by artists in Nunavut and Iceland explores life, death and darkness in the North. The production, simply titled Night, has been developed through Toronto-based company Human Cargo and is a fresh piece of theatre yet to be seen.

Finally, the Art Lover’s Series caps off with a raunchy piece of puppetry, courtesy of Alberta-based company The Old Trout Puppet Workshop. In its production of The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan, the infamous lover is beckoned from hell to repent for his sins. As Epstein says, “It’s not one for young children,” considering it includes a little puppet sexuality.

And while that’s what fits the bill for the subscriber series, there is plenty more to enjoy. As mentioned, dance is a popular genre for the season.

In late October, Calgary’s Decidedly Jazz Danceworks performs its piece, wowandflutter. YAC has long sought out the dance company for its vibrant mix of jazz, African roots, rhythm and improvisation.

Furthermore, the month of March brings a taste of the Middle East with the Arabesque Dance Company & Orchestra. Its performance is set to whisk audience members away to the land of the pharaohs with its production, Egypt.

And, last on the dance card, in April, is the Québec-based Sursaut Dance Company with the production, At nightfall. This family-oriented piece lets contemporary dance reign within a dark forest of characters.

Also filling the season is New York-based monologist Mike Daisey. He counts David Letterman as a fan of his gonzo-journalism-meets-improvisation style, which he’ll bring to YAC with the production, The Last Cargo Cult.

On the musical side, award-winning rock band Eagle and Hawk take the stage in October. Frank Zappa fans will revel in the fact that the rocker’s alumni are coming in March in the form of The Grande Mothers. Plus, The Barra MacNeils play March 16 and 17.

Last, but not least, February brings Sleeping Dog Theatre’s performance, 5 O’Clock Bells, which explores the life of guitar player Lenny Breau.

And the beginning of March means more family programming with Newfoundland’s Wonderbolt Circus. Epstein describes its production, Tricksters, as a “folksy approach to the circus”. Expect aerial hoop dancing, comedy and aboriginal flare.

For more information on the 2009/2010 season is available at www.yukonartscentre.com

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