Jan 11

High on Performance

by Shannon Calhoun · 0 comments

the dybbuk

Don’t let the name deceive you.  While the High Performance Rodeo is high on performance, there’s not much in the way of rodeo.  That said, you’ll still want to stand up and pay attention when Calgary’s Festival of the Arts comes to town with unique performances in theatre, music, dance, comedy and more.  

Each year One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre manages to find the strangest of ingredients and stir them up into a delectable concoction.  Like an arts version of the bacon chocolate chip cookie, many of the shows sound too odd to work, but somehow they do.

In past years I’ve been lucky enough to take in Bash’d: A Gay Rap Opera, and Lucha Vavoom – think Burlesque meets Mexican wrestling meets awesome.  This year I was excited to check out The Dybbuk, a production by La Caravan Dance Theatre.

La Caravan is a local company that blends traditional with contemporary dance, and The Dybbuk, a Dance Opera, is touted as ‘a hypnotic journey of love, obsession and surrender.’


I’ve heard it said that the High Performance Rodeo has something weird for everyone.  Well, I can honestly say that I’ve never been to a show like this before, so I was not sure what to expect.  It was very thought-provoking. My dominant thought was ‘what on earth is going on here?’ which was actually a very interesting experience.

The premise is that a woman is offered by her father in an arranged marriage and her true love, who dies of a broken heart upon the news, possesses her on her wedding day.  In retrospect, I wish that I had taken the time to read the program first because I think it would have enhanced my experience.

The show started off with a number of brides writhing and contorting like a scene from The Exorcist.  As a bride to be, I found this both amusing, as well as fuel for future nightmares.  The way those women moved their bodies like spastic puppets on invisible strings was truly something to behold.

If I had to sum it up I would describe The Dybbuk as a very dark and slow emotional journey between the space that exists between the living and the dead, as well as the thoughts and turmoil faced by a woman on the brink of marriage.

If you’re interested in catching The Dybbuk there is one more show tonight, January 11, at the Vertigo Theatre.

The High Performance Rodeo runs until February 3, 2013.  Find tickets for The Dybbuk, along with many other amazing performances here.

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