Re-creating an Era

The Yukon Derby Girls host their first bout in 3 years

A bout is a game.

Bouts are two 30 minute halves, with a 30 minute half-time.

Halves are made up of two minute jams. During a jam 10 players are on the oval track – a jammer for each team, and four blockers per team.

During jams jammers try to get through blockers. Jammers score points by passing the hips of the other blockers.

Why the hips?

“Because hips are the most central part of a body,” says Lindsay Agar, aka Bonanza Babe.

The team to accumulate the most points throughout the jams wins.

There are details: like, jammers start scoring only after they get through the blockers the first time; they have to do one lap. Whichever jammer gets through the blockers first is the lead jammer. She gets to call the jam off at any time.

“There’s advantages in being able to call off the jam,” explains Agar.

Players wear roller skates.

There is a bout coming up at the Mount McIntyre recreation centre in Whitehorse, at the curling rink.

It’s on September 10. The Yukon Roller Girls are playing the Sea to Sky Sirens from Squamish. Doors open at 6:00 pm, whistle at 7:00 pm. The half time show is courtesy of the Company of the White Wolf, which is medieval sword fighting entertainment — “A fringe organization, like us,” says Agar, “So we stick together.”

There is a beer garden, and it’s family friendly.

Agar joined the team in 2010. She says derby in the Yukon has resurged in the past few years; there are currently 25 team members. They have to pass a minimum skills test before they can play in a bout.

These skills include knowing how to stop, how to fall, being able to be touched and moved by a pack, and skating a lap at a certain speed.

The appeal of roller derby to Agar is the sisterhood of the league, and the physicality and strategy the game requires.

Back to her moniker, Bonanza Babe. “There are two thing people need to know about the world of derby,” says Agar.

Number one is theatrics. Players dress up in tutus, fishnets and dramatic makeup. They give themselves names and personas, like Honey Badger, Martha Blackout and Bonanza Babe.

Number two is its driving force to become more of a proper sport; people wear athletic clothes and train for it.

There’s two sides, says Agar.

Three, if you count the audience perspective.  


Choir Season

Give in to the desire

The Whitehorse Community Choir is a long-stand instituion. Current president Mike McCormick knows it’s been around in its current form since at least 1991.

People are drawn to sing choral music because they like to sing in groups, because of its quasi-religious aspect (choral music is from a time when religion was a prominent part of society, said McCormick. He went on to say that pop and folk music is also performed, as well as choral arrangements from countries like Russia), because of the challenge of reading music, because it’s a social activity. Some people like being on stage and performing solos, but McCormick doubts that’s a draw for many who partake.

And, like cross country skiing, swimming laps, discussing books in a group while drinking red wine or learning how to make ceramic mugs in a pottery class, singing in a choir is an activity that’s good for the spirits during the long dark winter days.

“There’s a strong tendancy for humans to want to sing together.” It’s a function of our being creatures who use sound to be communicate, says McCormick.

This season they’ll sing old English carols from the 1400s, and they might have a brass quartet come “do a little piece.”

There are four choir options.

The Whitehorse Community Choir, aka The Big Choir

Four-voice choir that’s open to everyone. No auditions required. No skills required, just vocal chords.

Persephones

All female. Auditions required.

Neptunes

Initially all-male, now a “low voice choir”. No auditions.

Chamber

Four-voice choir. Auditions required.

Registration opens for all the choirs on Monday, September 12 between 7:00 pm and 9:15 pm at the United Church. That’s on the corner of Main Street and Sixth Avenue.

For more information go to www.whitehorsechoir.org.