A love that made the gods weep

“It is a space of no expectations,” says Carol Prieur, a dancer in the upcoming presentation, Orpheus and Eurydice.

Since Yukon audiences probably remember the choreographer, Marie Chouinard, who urinated into a bucket onstage, then, yeah, there probably aren’t any expectations for this performance.

Prieur laughs at this and only gets more excited: “That is what is so fascinating! As a choreographer, she is tapping into all of human potential; she taps into all of life’s experiences.

“I’ve been with Marie for 14 years: it’s been wild, it is incredible; I’ve had a wealthy experience where I’ve grown so much and learned so much.”

Compagnie Marie Chouinard is a bold dance company that puts it all on a mostly-bare Yukon Arts Centre stage when the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is told through dance and song.

Orpheus, of course, is the “Father of Songs” who could “charm birds, fish and wild beasts”. Unfortunately, his bride, Eurydice, steps on a snake and dies from its venom.

The presentation of Orpheus and Eurydice picks up the story here, when Orpheus plays and sings so mournfully that the nymphs and gods wept and told him to travel to the underworld and retrieve her.

So, is this a tragedy or a romance?

“They are closely intertwined,” says Prieur. “Their love was incredibly strong, but they were not able to live their love.

“But it’s more than that; there are so many layers. It goes deep, deep, deep.”

The telling of the story, in the hands of Marie Chouinard, is a barrage of courageous dance and music that leaves audiences exhausted.

“People go, ‘Wow! What is this?'” says Prieur. “In some ways their minds are blown apart and extended as they have gone through a journey they have never dreamed of.

“It’s confrontational, in ways, but it opens … it opens the minds of people.”

To help make this performance more accessible for audiences (especially for those who may not be familiar with Greek mythology), the story will be told in words both in the program and projected onto a screen onstage.

Indeed, there is only one section of the performance where the story is literal.

With the context and story taken care of, audiences can sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Yukon Arts Centre’s first production of this season.

The performance will be Friday, Sept. 18, at 8 p.m.

Tickets are available at the YAC Box Office and Arts Underground.

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