If your exposure to children’s entertainment has only been Saturday morning television, you can be forgiven for thinking that it must be fast-clipped, obvious and pander to whatever is hot.
The Sursaut Dance Company has found this does not have to be the case. Its fantastical presentation ofAt Nightfall has captivated audiences of all ages.
“Quick gags and things like that, kids are laughing and that’s fine,” says Adam Dymburt, one of the dancers and general manager of the company. “But it is not the only way for them to enjoy a show.
“They can sit and enjoy something like an adult.
“We’ve been doing the show since 2006 and the response from the kids is fantastic. I give them a lot of credit for being sophisticated.”
He gives credit, too, to the choreographer, Francine Châteauvert, who “really respects children”.
Indeed, the dance movements are clever and give the most compelling “voice” to the tiny people who live in the “water forest”.
It is here that “Auguste” is separated into various embodiments of his personality. Dymburt plays an older version of these.
“It’s up to the spectator to interpret,” he says of his character. “But I’m stressed out and overworked and out of touch with things around me.”
So, what is the lesson here?
“I wouldn’t call it a lesson,” he says over the phone from Vancouver, where the Sherbrooke, Québec company has stopped for a show.
“The idea of doing this [show] is to help people feel something while they are watching … an immediate reaction, an emotional reaction.
“When they go away, I hope the feeling stays with them.
“It’s like sitting and watching a poem – we don’t do that enough anymore.
“My feeling is that poetry is something slow and reflective that we don’t appreciate as much any more.”
How about the lesson you, yourself, offer?
Dymburt has been a mechanic and he was an Olympic-style wrestler – both tough-guy pursuits – and now he is expressing himself through dance.
“Yeah, I’m a tough guy … in a certain sense of the word. I can take a lot, let’s put it that way.
“But see, you can do anything. You can dance and be tough, and look tough.
“I’m just trying to give art.”
Dymburt understands that entertaining children is not a usual path to a Tony Award or great fame. This is OK.
“We just want people in the house,” he says.
“One of the major problems we have in this business is people won’t try things they haven’t heard of before.
“All they want to drink is Coca-Cola and eat at McDonald’s.
“There is a lot of good stuff out there not advertised.
“We don’t have a budget of $50 million, but things you don’t normally see can easily be just as good as what you see on Broadway.
“We would certainly love it if people come to see our show. That’s all. If there are people in the house … that’s why we do this.
“And I love what I do … I absolutely love what I do.”
At Nightfall shows at the Yukon Arts Centre at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7. Tickets are available at the YAC Box Office, Arts Underground and www.yukontickets.com.