Every January, performers and cultural fans from across Canada gather in Calgary for a different kind of rodeo.

One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo is the largest festival of its kind in Western Canada. Now in its 31st year, High Performance Rodeo brings theatre, music, dance, and any type of performing arts you can imagine to stages around the city.

With dozens of performances, featuring everything from the comedy stylings of the legendary Cathy Jones in her one woman show Stranger to Hard Work to The Chop’s 5-Minute Therapy, which is performed in the middle of the Simmons Building and Bankers Hall with no official duration, there is something for everyone to experience – from cultural aficionados to audiences looking to sample different performing arts.

But how do you choose which shows to check out in such a marquee cultural event?

Kari Watson led FFWD Magazine’s weekly event listings. After the magazine stopped publication, Kari founded The Culture Cycle to continue to spread the word about all things culture happening in the city.

She is THE insider for the arts in Calgary and she’s given her picks on where to get started with 6 shows to check out at this year’s High Performance Rodeo.

But don’t limit yourself to her list. As she says “Only 6? How does one choose?”


Portraits in Motion – Volker Gerling

There is nothing I like more than looking at other people's photos (seriously!), so to be able to hear and see a photographer share random people's stories in flipbook form truly excites me.

Portraits in Motion runs January 18-21 at Theatre Junction.

All The Little Animals I Have Eaten – Karen Hines

A play about the conversations of women and, that's right, talking food – yes please.

All The Little Animals I Have Eaten runs January 10-21 at the Big Secret Theatre.

dirtsong – Black Arm Band

Any genre of music that speaks from the heart and delivers a message has always struck a chord in me, as I'm sure it does with most people. From both an historical standpoint as well as looking forward, I think this is an important production to see live.

dirtsong closes High Performance Rodeo on February 2 at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.

So Blue – Louise Lecavalier

I have been fortunate enough to have seen Louise Lecavalier and La La La Human Steps perform here in Calgary a while back, and had a poster of them behind my desk for years at FFWD Weekly. To be able to see Lecavalier perform live is a rare treat, and also, she worked with David Bowie – enough said.

So Blue kicks off High Performance Rodeo January 5-7 at the DJD Dance Centre.

As I Lay Dying – Theatre Smith Gilmour

Having never read the novel by William Faulkner (I know, I know, bad English major) I am looking forward to seeing Theatre Smith Gilmour's dramatic, and by all accounts extremely physical theatrical production of his novel.

As I Lay Dying runs January 12-14 at the Pumphouse Theatre.

All's Well that Ends Well – The Shakespeare Company

The Shakespeare Company never disappoints, and their presentation of this dark comedy is sure to tick all of the boxes for even the most die-hard Shakespeare fan (read: me).

All's Well That Ends Well runs January 19-28 at Vertigo Theatre.

High Performance Rodeo runs from January 5-February 2, 2017. Tickets are available from hprodeo.ca for all performances, and flex passes are available for $120 on a Culture 48.

Book your High Performance Rodeo getaway to Calgary now with Air Canada - Tourism Calgary's official partner airline, flying from over 35 destinations directly into YYC Calgary International Airport.

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