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Hit show Yukon Ho! coming to Grantham this summer

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A hit show that created a stir at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe is coming to the town later this year.

Lincolnshire audiences can be amongst the first in England to see 'Yukon Ho!', created by dancer, choreographer and theatre-maker Jennifer Irons.

Jennifer created the show to tell the story of how dancing helped her escape from her birthplace in Canada’s frozen north. She brings it to Grantham’s Guildhall Arts Centre on Friday February 11.

Yukon Ho! by Jennifer Irons. Credit: Gigi Giannella (54260512)
Yukon Ho! by Jennifer Irons. Credit: Gigi Giannella (54260512)

Yukon Territory, northern Canada is where North America’s coldest temperature ever (-63 degrees Celsius) was recorded. It’s where there are more caribou than people, tossing chainsaws is entertainment, barbecued squirrel is food and watching bears forage for food at the garbage dump on a Saturday evening is a big night out.

But it’s not all sophisticated fun. It’s also a genuinely challenging place to live, where escape is difficult and where many people die tragically young as a result of accidents and the harsh Arctic winters.

It’s where Jennifer Irons was born and raised, dreaming of leaving.

Yukon Ho! by Jennifer Irons. Credit: Gigi Giannella (54260508)
Yukon Ho! by Jennifer Irons. Credit: Gigi Giannella (54260508)

Growing up in a tough, isolated mining town with little prospect of reaching ‘the Outside’, Jennifer found release through performance.

Specifically, it came in the unlikely circumstances of dancing the Can-Can to an audience of drunken miners in a casino in Dawson City who threw poker chips at her.

Her passion for dance subsequently led to an extraordinary journey out of the Yukon, and around the world.

Jennifer said: "If it wasn’t for dance, I’d have probably ended up pregnant, an addict or dead. However tough it is growing up – whether it’s in the arctic or the city – the arts will always be a salvation.

"It’s a shame more governments don’t realise this. I mean, who would have ever thought doing high kicks for drunken miners would have got me to Brighton? …Though drunken miners are still very welcome to see the show!"

In Yukon Ho!, in character as ‘Intrepid Jen’, she tells the story of surviving, escaping and an eventual reconciliation through reconnection with her homeland.

And it’s all (mostly) true… See a short trailer here: https://vimeo.com/355273622

This is a reworked version of Yukon Ho! which did a full run at Summerhall at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe, and will tour nationally this year.

Tickets will be £14 or £12 (concessions), and can be purchased at www.guildhallartscentre.com or by calling 01476 406 158.

Internationally renowned choreographer Jennifer now lives in the UK, quite near Brighton in fact. She is an award-winning choreographer, creating large-scale mass movement for outdoor festivals, working across commercial music videos, film and TV, and making dynamic new work for theatre.

Amongst many other credits she was mass movement director for Akram Khan Company’s Kadamati at the 2018 Edinburgh International Festival, choreographed a number 1 hit single for Olly Murs and Rizzle Kicks was assistant artistic director for the Rugby League World Cup and associate choreographer for Complicité’s Everything That Rises Must Dance.

She was also once charged with teaching Boris Johnson to dance. Find out more at: www.jenniferirons.co.uk

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