Performance Art – Theatre & Dance

Step outside your comfort zone and into their world

  Out Innerspace Dance Theatre will present Bygones at the Yukon Arts Centre on July 9 at 7 p.m. Created and performed by David Raymond and Tiffany Tregarthen (in collaboration with Elya Grant, David Harvey and Renée Sigouin), this 90-minute performance is a tribute to the effort required to reach resolution. Focusing on how everything …

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At least I’m not a giraffe’s backside this time

The time-honoured English tradition of the Christmas pantomime (known affectionately as just “panto”) was not part of my childhood. For the benefit of those of us who weren’t weaned on this particular theatrical fare, it’s important to bear in mind various traditions, tropes, and stereotypes of an English-style panto.

From the Punjab to the Yukon

Gurdeep Pandher was one of the first people I met when I moved to the Yukon. I walked into a Scottish country barn dance at the Old Fire Hall, in Whitehorse, and here was a guy in the remote North in his pagri, at an event, sitting and absorbing the dances and people.

Searching for a way out

Genevieve Fleming is counting on Whitehorse audiences to take in the upcoming Guild Theatre production, even if just to indulge in some cold-weather Schadenfreude. In one sense, the Vancouver-based director suggested in an interview, staging French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1944 play, No Exit, is like holding a mirror up to our own society. “We, the …

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It’s beginning to look a lot like … (you know)

The pre-Christmas season will soon be underway here in the Klondike, actually beginning a few days before this piece can see print. It’s a season of bazaars and open houses that lead up to the actual holidays. It begins with the oldest and largest of the bazaars, the Little Blue Daycare Christmas Bazaar. This will …

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Nude & Rude

The Nude & Rude Revue started with two best friends, Taylor Vidic and Cameron Brockett, and their love of performance art. Vidic, 25, was born and raised in Juneau, Alaska, and met Brockett during high school in Juneau. Brockett was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, and has lived in Colorado, Ketchikan and Kodiak before moving to …

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What would you do?

Wren Brian was just 10 years old when the first X-Men movie came out in 2000. The film’s opening scene, set in the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, triggered a fascination with the Nazi Holocaust that remains with her today. Until a single one-hour history lesson in Grade 12, however, the Whitehorse-born playwright had …

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Overloaded by motherhood

It’s a comedy about the darkness of parenthood. That’s how Emelia Symington Fedy describes Motherload, the collectively-created play she and three castmates are bringing to the Yukon Arts Centre’s mainstage on October 13. Fedy traces the play’s conception to a specific outing with her infant son, at a time when she was grieving her own …

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Busting up in the communities

Open Pit Theatre is excited to be taking their play, Busted Up: A Yukon Story, on the road. They’ll be coming to Dawson City on September 29, Carcross on October 2 and will be back in Whitehorse for a show on October 3. The play already premiered in 2017, as part of Canada 150, playing …

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Play-fighting for fun

I’ve been there, watching a play when it happens. A sharp staccato rings out as the actor’s hand makes contact with their partner’s face onstage, and audience members grimace in sympathy, knowing that the fake slap made real contact. Usually the actor fights through the pain and tears to complete the scene before (in my …

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Seize your Canada Day

No summer in the Yukon can be complete without the yearly Canada Day events. The very mention of Canada Day can conjure up memories and build anticipation for just about any Yukoner.

Just Dance

The upcoming edition of Leaping Feats’ annual year-end dance show, Dancing Through Life 2018, will be taking place over four nights, with one show per day from May 31 until June 3.

Can wisdom save the world?

The post-apocalyptic, not-so-distant-future world of The Unplugging, an award-winning play by Canadian playwright Yvette Nolan, is the latest production on offer from the Yukon-based Gwaandak Theatre.

Spelling it out

Mary Sloan was only vaguely aware of the 2005 smash Broadway musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, when she learned that the Guild Theatre’s artistic director, Brian Fidler, had picked it as this year’s season finale.

We are what we used to eat

February 19 to 22 will see the latest edition of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Heritage Department’s bi-annual Myth and Medium week.

Welcome the Year of the Dog

The Chinese New Year is the celebration of the Lunar New Year and considered the beginning of spring. Due to the Chinese calendar’s reliance on the lunisolar cycle, which is based on the exact astronomical observations of the sun’s longitude and the Moon’s phases, the new year is a floating date and usually occurs between …

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Freezing for the sake of art…

Ask most people what they do during the cold month of January, and they would say, “Stay inside and keep warm.” The (s)hiver Arts Society, however, wants to change that.

Ten days to celebrate Pivot Festival’s 10th year

The Pivot Festival runs Jan. 24 to Feb. 3 with local and national acts Since Nakai Theatre launched the Pivot Festival in 2008, there have been some big names and unforgettable performances that have graced stages and pop-up theatre settings in Whitehorse. The festival has boasted bringing unconventional and award-winning shows from across Canada and …

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Hand to God

Lust, grief, denial and repression (not to mention demonic possession) in the bible-belt town of Cypress, Texas. Oh, yes. Don’t forget the puppets. These are all elements of the Guild Theatre’s upcoming production of Hand to God, a dark comedy by Robert Askins, who actually grew up in the Houston-area community in which he set …

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Meet the 2018 cancan line

The 2018 Eldorado Line: Steal Your Fella Ella (left), Last Call Liz, Razzle Dazzle Rachel, Lollipop Ginger Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous season begins in February, but for some people it is a year round commitment. The women of the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Cancan Line are arguably the most in-demand group during Rendezvous, and their appearance bookings …

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Welcome 2018, farewell Commissioner Phillips

According to the Yukon Commissioner’s office, the New Year’s Levee is an old tradition that dates back to King Louis XIV of France and was first introduced in Canada when fur traders would pay respect to their government representatives on New Year’s Day. The annual event has evolved from these beginnings and the levee this …

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Not your grandma’s chamber music

Musical ear candy – that’s how Daniel Janke describes the Problematic Orchestra. “It’s pretty wacky music,” he said of the 20-person chamber music group he directs. “Some of it is very playful, as the title implies. “It’s not often you get a chance to enjoy such a large ensemble, and one that performs in almost …

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Chance or choice?

Is it character, circumstance, or the choices we make that determines our lot in life?
This is the conundrum that lies at the heart of Good People.

All the world’s a stage

Morris, an improv teacher and artistic director of The Paper Street Theatre company in Victoria, B.C. was giving a talk at a TedX event in 2012 about “The way of Improv,” much to the audience’s delight. In the crowd that evening was Shahin Mohammadi.

Stonecliff brings together a remarkable team of artists (Part 2 of 2)

The new musical drama Stonecliff tells the story of Michael J. Heney, the son of poor Irish immigrants in the Ottawa Valley who went on to build one of the world’s most spectacular railways – the White Pass and Yukon Route – to serve the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898.

Making it last

Cathy Stubington doesn’t mind being in the shadows when she does a show. In fact, she prefers it.

Bringing the White Pass story to musical life

Any of the millions of passengers who have ridden the White Pass and Yukon Route – “the scenic railway of the world” – in the 117 years since its completion, would immediately recognize it as a marvellous technological achievement. Indeed, the White Pass and Yukon Route is recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers …

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From the North to the South

We deserve a pat on the back. That’s part of the point of From the North says Kim Winnicky, executive producer of the arts performance and show, a Canada 150 project being produced by Music Yukon. “We (in the territories) don’t often get a chance to celebrate ourselves.” Beginning this month, the show’s all-northern team …

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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 …

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Very Old, Very New

Not many art forms can trace their origins back to a single year. But according to Toshi Aoyagi, program officer for the Japan Foundation, Toronto, the popular theatre genre known as Kabuki started in exactly 1603. And it’s still going strong. Aoyagi will be in Whitehorse this week to introduce Yukon Arts Centre audiences to …

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Real Stories from Real People

Three years of collaborating, interviewing and gathering has culminated in one powerful play that shares both beautiful, heartfelt reflections and the harsh realities of northern living. Busted Up: A Yukon Story presents the colourful and eclectic real-life voices of the Yukon – politicians, mothers, fathers and children – 33 voices, to be exact. The play, …

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Augusto! Children’s Festival the First of its Kind in the Yukon

“We are proud and excited to be founding the Yukon’s only dedicated art and music festival for children,” says Darlene Sillery, one of the five main organizers of the Augusto! Children’s Festival in Haines Junction this weekend. “We have a great variety of workshops and an excellent group of presenters, including visual artists, performing artists …

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RCMP Musical Ride returns

“The best place to view the ride is from up high,” says Inge Sumanik. “But, for me, it is standing next to the fence and feeling the ground shake.” “The ride” that she refers to is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride. Since 1876, the RCMP have displayed the riders’ abilities to control the …

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Hitching a Ride

Growing up, Kathy Jessup was always “the yakky little sister.” In Fort Nelson, where she was raised, she’s still known as “Kathy who likes to talk.” Her family still teases her about finding a way to turn her gift for gab into a career as a professional storyteller. When her current show starts in Canada …

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Less is Definitely More

Dawson City did not have burlesque in its repertoire until long-time local resident Rachel Wiegers decided to take up (or off, as the case may be) the mantle and bring it to town. Wiegers says her journey towards burlesque started when she was young and discovered her father’s girlie magazine stash. “I was too young …

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Identity Crisis

What does it take to make a puppet show that is also a stage show and a live-action video all in one? A script, a bunch of performers, some music. Lights, cameras, action. And cardboard. Miles of cardboard, according to Edward Westerhuis. “We go to different stores, to the dump behind their stores. The stuff …

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Splattering Comedy

Whitehorse, it seems, has such an insatiable appetite for high-camp horror that the Guild Theatre has added another week to its run of Evil Dead: The Musical. The spring break-themed romp comes with a caution: if you intend to sit in the first few rows, be prepared for laundry afterward. You’ll be in what’s called …

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Telling Stories Through Dance

“What would I say my style is? It depends on what project I’m working on… I liked to say ‘contemporary aboriginal dancer’ for a long time, but that’s pretty broad – there are so many kinds of aboriginal dance and it’s all different… If you were writing a poem, you’d use whatever words and meters …

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Delightful Devilry: The Cancan Invades New York

Although the cancan made its North American debut with Offenbach’s opera Orpheus of the Underworld in 1861, it wasn’t until it appeared in the first American musical that the cancan became a true phenomenon in North America. In 1866 Henry C. Jarrett and Harry Palmer imported a large group of Parisian dancers to perform the …

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Youthful Exuberance

Memphis, Tennessee has been dubbed both the “Home of the Blues” and the “Birthplace of Rock and Roll”. But it’s no slouch in the jazz department, either. In a four-year span from 1934 to 1938, at least half a dozen future jazz luminaries were born there. That mid-’30s crop included trumpeter Booker Little, as well …

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Triple Threat

The Pivot Theatre Festival – Nakai Theatre’s annual performance showcase – begins a seven-night run this weekend in multiple Whitehorse venues. In addition to smaller-scale offerings such as a theatrical pub walk, an evening of spoken word material and a “speed-friending” event called Stranger Connections, the festival will feature the three major pieces, including: A …

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Calling Aboriginal Artists!

The Yukon First Nation Culture and Tourism Association is looking for artists, artisans, musicians and performers from the Yukon and abroad to be part of the seventh annual Adäka Cultural Festival, which takes place at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre from June 30th to July 6th.   “We generally reach out to the well-established group …

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Tantalizing Varietease Returns

Varietease VI: A Burlesque Carnival is the Yukon’s very own burlesque variety show. Varietease runs every second year. This is an on-year, Oct. 25 to 29 at the Yukon Arts Centre. This year’s theme is a repeat of the 2009 carnival and promises to be bigger and more creative than ever with six acts, the Varietease …

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Exploring Identity

Falen Johnson doesn’t know where the expression “salt baby” came from, but it’s a moniker the First Nations actor-turned-playwright acquired at birth. “I don’t remember being called that when I was a kid, but I remember hearing stories that I was called that as a baby, because I was really white-looking. It may have just …

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Roller Coaster

From Beirut to Buffalo, then Whitehorse. That’s how Clare Preuss sums up the summer of 2016 from her standpoint as an itinerant stage director. The Toronto-based actor, choreographer and director is currently in the Yukon to steer the Guild Theatre’s season-opener, Myth of the Ostrich. Although the Matt Murray comedy was a standout hit at …

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Capturing a Country’s Memories

When Charles Ketchabauw and Lisa Marie DiLiberto rolled into Whitehorse late last month, they weren’t your typical rubber-tire tourists. Sure, they had two small kids and a teardrop trailer in tow, which made their eight-day journey from Toronto what  DiLiberto terms “epic and absurd.” But they weren’t here to drink in the sights and sample …

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Who’s Line is it Anyway?

Expect the unexpected. This is good advice for both performers and audience at a typical improv event. Mind you, “typical” is a misnomer for a genre defined by having a unique performance every time. If you’ve ever had a yen to create one-of-a-kind, hilarious scenes, get yourself to the Guild Hall every Tuesday at 8 …

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The legacy of the Follies

The Frantic Follies Vaudeville Revue is the longest running independent theatre company in North America. Or, at least, that’s Grant Simpson’s speculation. He’s also got an application in to the Guiness World Book of Records to affirm that the it’s the longest running vaudeville show. In the world. Simpson is into longevity. The Whitehorse show …

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Spotlight on Kids at Vaudeville Camp

School’s out for the summer, which means that summer camp is IN! An exciting new day camp is taking centre-stage this year in Whitehorse – specifically, it is taking the stage at the Frantic Follies Theatre, home to the Frantic Follies vaudeville revue. For almost 50 years, Frantic Follies has been delighting Whitehorse audiences with …

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For the Love of Northern Art

Every year for 10 days, northern artists and art lovers gather in Inuvik, a small town of 3,400 in the NWT, to celebrate culture and creativity.   Entering its 28th year, the Great Northern Arts Festival features almost 60 artists from the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Running from July 15 to 24, the activities …

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I Know What You Did

In Giovanni Boccaccio’s 14th century collection of novellas called The Decameron, seven young women and three young men entertain each other with stories for 10 days inside a secluded villa near Florence as they tried to escape the Black Death. More than 650 years later, Toronto playwright and multidisciplinary theatre maker Jordan Tannahill found himself …

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National Theatre Festival Comes to Whitehorse

“It’s the only national theatre festival in Canada,” Selene Vakharia tells me. She, along with a handful of other local creatives, are working on the Yukon end of the traveling theatre festival: Magnetic North, based in Ottawa, which moves to a different Canadian town every second year. “This year they picked Whitehorse,” Vakharia says. With …

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An International Celebration of Talent

The Folk Society of Whitehorse has been hosting the famous Yukon-Alaska Coffee House for  more than 25 years. This event features two coffee house evenings, back-to-back, in Skagway and Whitehorse. The Yukon evening of talent, which takes place on Saturday, will also serve as the finale to a series of Whitehorse coffee houses that happen …

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Crossing Borders

Alex Goodman doesn’t really cross borders so much as straddle them. Although the Toronto-raised guitarist and composer has made his home in New York City for the past three-and-a-half years, he seems to keep one foot planted in the musical soil of his homeland. “I think of Toronto as a very vibrant music scene. The …

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It’s Not Off Script If There Isn’t A Script

Theatre-goers, is your relationship with plays getting a little humdrum? Are you looking for more spontaneity in your live-performances? Are you tired of rehearsed scripts, structured plot lines and carefully planned story arcs? Then maybe it’s time to open your mind to other, less “vanilla” theatre going experiences at try a little improv. You can …

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Donnell Leahy

Joyful Performance

Donnell Leahy remembers exactly how he felt when he made his stage debut as a fiddler at the age of four. “Mom and Dad had a band when we were growing up as kids. They played locally at round dances and square dances and weddings and things,” he says. “One night they took me up …

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Myth and Medium Focuses on Stories and Performance

This week shaped up to be a culturally ambitious one in Dawson City. The centerpiece of the week has been the Myth and Medium conference organized by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s Heritage Department and focusing on the performing arts. It’s not too late to take in some of the culture. The week’s performance workshops continue on …

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The Must-See Guide to the Pivot Theatre Festival

By La Compagnie L’Immédiat/Camille Boitel Jan. 27-29, 8 p.m., Yukon Arts Centre Co-presented with the Yukon Arts Centre, this European classic comes all the way from Paris, France. Perhaps more exciting than the distance travelled, or the point of origin, is that its Yukon debut will also be its North American premiere. Yukon audiences will be …

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A Northern Cabaret

Craving a dose of good old fashioned Vaudeville fun? Yukoners looking for something new and adult to do this holiday season have the opportunity to find it at Furlesque: A Northern Cabaret. The variety show will feature, among other things, belly dancing, old-style song and dance numbers, burlesque, gymnastics, actors, musicians and comedians. Each evening …

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Running the Show

Props, actors, lighting, sound, marketing; these are some of the small but numerous little details which turn a “piece” into a “show.” These things need hands to make them happen and cost money – sometimes a lot of money. Many of the shows put on in the Yukon are created by home-grown production company run …

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Good Music for Good Causes

November 7 turned out to be an incredibly busy evening for anyone involved in community events in Dawson. There was the closing banquet for the Youth Art Enrichment program, which I mentioned here a few weeks ago. There was an outdoor art installation on the dyke and waterfront called The Deep Dark, involving contrasts of …

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Party like it’s 1955

Dig out your poodle skirt and put on your saddle shoes. The Open Pit Theatre is hosting a 1950s Sock Hop Film Night in Whitehorse on Saturday. The evening features five films with an on-the-spot, improvised soundtrack by live actors and musicians. “The movies are the main entertainment,” says Geneviève Doyon, co-artistic director of Open …

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Ramble in T.O.

  My dance practice is rooted in uncultivated, wild, outdoor spaces. I often perform site-specific dances outdoors for audiences and/or camera. However, my latest collaborative project, Ramble (45 min), was performed last month inside a black box theatre in a busy city (Toronto), within a busy theatre and dance festival (the 25th edition of SummerWorks). …

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Writing Across the Borders

An ambitious pan-Northern ensemble of seasoned musicians from all three territories will make its debut in Whitehorse next week as one of the performance highlights of the fifth annual Adäka Cultural Festival. The New North Collective will bring together the songwriting and performing talents of four Yukoners, two residents of the Northwest Territories, and a …

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Leapin’ Lizards! It’s Annie

Curious Fact #1: stories about plucky orphan kids make wildly popular musical theatre fare. Witness Oliver!, Anne of Green Gables, and Annie. Curious Fact #2: two out of three musicals about plucky orphans involve adorable, authoritydefying redheads who find love in less-than-conventional families. “I don’t happen to be a tiny, adorable redhead, but I am …

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Kidd Pivot Is the dance you want it to be

Crystal Pite knows that audiences will watch her contemporary dance company, Kidd Pivot, with trepidation. “They feel they don’t have enough knowledge to get something out of it,” she says over the phone. “I would advise people to trust themselves to watch it the way it needs to be watched. “Trust your eyes, trust your …

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Montréal Danse: Up close and personal

It will be an unusual connection between the audience at the Yukon Arts Centre and the dancers of Montréal Danse when it presents On the Ice of Labrador on Saturday, Feb. 28. The seven dancers will each be presenting their own stories – stories of aviators, trombone players, blood-sugar cycles of a diabetic, Alzheimer’s disease …

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Acting Out Her Passion

Sometimes people stumble upon their passions accidentally; such is the case with Sophia Marnik. After studying to become a teacher at McGill University, she came North to the Yukon, in 1996, with an open-ended future in front of her. At approximately the same time, a local production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was …

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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 …

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Dance explores pain and pleasure

Hélène Blackburn is looking forward to bringing her contemporary dance company, Cas Public, to the Yukon next week. Long ago, she dismissed the notion that those in small towns can be closed- minded and that the west is saturated with with conservative tastes in entertainment. And, having visited two venues in northern Québec, she knows …

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Comedy Dominates in Venus

The play is new. The book that inspired it is 142 years old. The song dates back to the Summer of Love. The kinky proclivity all three works explore may be as old as time. Venus in Fur, the David Ives play that opened Off-Broadway to much acclaim in 2010 before moving to the Great …

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A Marriage of Music and Technology

If you’ve been to a concert or stage performance, recently, and admired the crisp sound or the well-lit stage, then chances are you are already a fan of Bill Charron’s, the owner/operator of Omni Productions. Charron has been a mainstay of the Yukon entertainment industry since his arrival on the scene in September of 1979. …

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