Fur, nudity and Greek mythology in Whitehorse

The pasties covering the nipples of the topless dancers are not meant to distract from the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.

The pasties covering the nipples of the topless dancers are not meant to distract from the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.

“There’s nudity, but it’s not about sexual provocation,” said Orpheus and Eurydice rehearsal director Pamela Newell.

“But it’s not not about it either.”

Sexuality is part of who we are, she said.

Created by Marie Chouinard, Orpheus and Eurydice is the Canadian choreographer’s first attempt at storytelling.

“Usually her pieces are more abstract and organic,” said Newell.

Orpheus and Eurydice tells a tale of love lost and lost again.

Fleeing the son of Appollo, Eurydice runs into a nest of snakes and is bitten fatally on the heel.

Overwhelmed with grief, Orpheus sings so sadly the nymphs and gods weep.

They advise him to travel to the underworld, where his singing warms the hearts of Hades and Persephone.

They agree to let Eurydice return to earth on one condition: Orpheus must walk in front of her and not look back until they both reach the upper world.

But as Orpheus nears the surface, he’s so excited to see his love he turns to Eurydice, forgetting he must wait until they both have fully emerged into the light.

She vanishes – this time forever.

Orpheus was a poet, said Newell.

And the dance piece toys with sound and its creation.

Creation is a running theme for Chouinard.

“And on a real, primal level, creation’s behind language,” said Newell.

It’s unusual for dance to contain so much vocal work, but pushing boundaries has never stopped Chouinard before.

Using fur hats and some quirky props, Orpheus and Eurydice travels from deep sorrow to laughter and back.

“If you haven’t heard the myth before, you will go away and know it,” said Newell.

“It tells the story in a very linear way, but also in a very signature way.

“It’s poetic and less in-your-face, but then it hits you in the belly.”

Orpheus and Eurydice appears at the Yukon Arts Centre tonight only. The show starts at 8 p.m.

Contact Genesee Keevil at


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