Sorcery, Swans and Love

For a cosmopolitan afternoon in downtown Whitehorse, head over to The Old Fire Hall for a screening of Swan Lake, performed by the internationally acclaimed Russian ballet company Bolshoi Ballet.

The film will be shown on Sunday, October 1 at 2 p.m. as part of the Yukon Arts Centre’s Performance in HD Series. In the past, screenings of performing arts have been held at the Yukon Arts Centre (YAC).

“This year we are hosting more performances at The Old Fire Hall in hopes that is it more accessible for youth and members of our community without cars,” says Sarah Frey, YAC marketing and development director.

This is the first time that Swan Lake will be shown through the arts centre’s HD series.

Swan Lake is the first ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who also composed the holiday classic The Nutcracker. Unlike the colourful, happy tone in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake exudes a darker mood.

A princess named Odette is turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer and forced to swim in a lake of tears. At night, she is able to resume her human form as the Swan Queen. She meets Prince Siegfried, while he is enjoying solitude in the woods.

They fall in love, and plan to marry. But the crafty sorcerer is watching and deceives the prince into thinking he is marrying Odette, but really it is another girl named Odile who looks similar. When he realizes the mistake, Siegfried goes on a mission to track Odette down and bring her back to him.

Swan Lake is a fantastic fairy tale, and as a ballet the story takes on an extraordinary level of beauty.

“For me, watching ballet is about getting lost in the movement and emotion,” Frey says.

“The magical thing about dance is that it transcends language and sound… the audience can so easily get swept away in the fear and pain of Swan Lake.”

While ballet may not be the most familiar art form in the Yukon, Whitehorse has an up and coming dance scene, with raw talent in the making.

“Whitehorse is actually one of Canada’s leaders in dance,” says Frey. “We have one of the most vibrant break dance scenes in the country, where the youth are on par with Montreal or Toronto.

“The success of the dance scene is due to the incredibly dedicated teams of teachers at each of the schools and their equally dedicated students.”

Throughout December and January, the Northern Lights School of Dance and Leaping Feats will be performing their recitals, then in May and June the schools take the stage for their their year-end shows.

The YAC is also bringing in professional dance troupes from Montreal and Toronto this season.

“We would encourage fans of dance to come out and see [Montreal-based dance duo] Tentacle Tribe’s Fractals of You [Friday, Sept. 29.], and Toronto Dance Theatre’s House Mix this season [March 7],” adds YAC’s programming associate, Elyssia Sasaki.

For more information about the upcoming films and live performances presented by the Yukon Arts Centre, go to

The Crème de la Crème

More screenings of live performances from New York and London

In addition to Swan Lake, the YAC’s Centre’s Performance in HD Series features film recordings of live shows from around the world, including the opera, Norma, performed at The Metropolitan Opera in New York, which will be screened here on Sunday, Nov. 19.

The National Theatre Company production of the Tom Stoppard comedy, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, will be screened on Sunday, Jan. 14.

“Elyssia Sasaki was looking to create some balance this year between some classics and some contemporary pieces,” says Frey.

During the Christmas season, a performance of Peter Pan from London’s National Theatre is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 15.

“The performance is entirely for families, and does a great job of balancing intriguing sets with laugh-out-loud funny,” says Frey.

For more information go to

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