The Caravaners describe it themselves as "a spectacular multicultural holiday event unlike any other," and considering the principals, that should hold true. The plot upon which the dance and puppetry hangs is this: In an unnamed northern country, Lucia, described as "the heart of her village," loses her own inner light somehow, and is drawn to search the globe to see how others keep their own lights bright throughout the winter months. The performance touches on Christian and Jewish traditions as well as Sankta, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice and Yule rituals.
The Vanaver Caravan (www.vanavercaravan.org) was founded in 1972 by musician/composer Bill Vanaver and dancer/choreographer Livia Drapkin Vanaver. Their group has performed across the United States, Europe and North Africa, at the Smithsonian American Folklife Festival, the Biennale de la Danse in France, the Rudolstadt Festival in Germany and the Harbourfront Festival in Toronto. Mojo Magazine described one of their high-energy performances this way: "The Vanaver Caravan looked and sounded like Copland crossed with hoedown, a peak combination of music and dance straight out of America's folk treasury."
Arm-of-the-Sea Theater is a not-for-profit organization based in Saugerties. Its website, www.armofthesea.org, explains, "Our large-scale productions incorporate ancient theatrical devices for shared enchantment and visual storytelling." Arm-of-the-Sea is responsible for the annual Esopus Creek Festival in Saugerties, usually performing a puppet show that educates and entertains about environmental issues. The troupe has five official members, but is usually open to volunteers, especially for larger productions.
Into the Light will have four performances from December 19 through the 21st at Quimby Theatre on the SUNY-Ulster (UCCC) campus in Stone Ridge. Performance times are December 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. and December 20 and 21 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students, and group discounts are available. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Foreign Wide Gift Shop on North Front Street and the Vanaver Caravan offices in the Water Street Market, both in New Paltz, and at the Golden Notebook in Woodstock. Reservations can also be made by calling (845) 256-9300.