'The Nutcracker' 2013

Mice and soldiers battle in the 2013 Kodiak Arts Council production of "The Nutcracker" ballet. The holiday classic returns this December. Daily Mirror file.

Jazz and swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy leads off the Kodiak Arts Council’s 2016-17 Performing Arts Series lineup beginning in September.

“They have a lot of brass, and they’re going to fill the stage, big sound,” said arts council executive director Katie Oliver. “We wanted to open with a big band with name recognition to get people to come out, in part to see the new auditorium.”

Bringing big name bands to Kodiak is possible because other larger cities in the state are also interested.

“The arts councils and concert associations in the larger cities have the ability to draw these groups to the state,” Oliver said. “Some, like (last year’s) Pink Martini and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, are willing to consider coming to regional venues for the Alaska experience.”

Next, in October, is Women of the World, an a capella quartet of women from four different countries, singing in 29 languages.

“I saw them with a group of other Alaska presenters in a concert a year ago, and everyone was just so blown away,” Oliver said. “They are incredible musicians, and we’ll have them working with students as well while they’re here.”

In November, throat singer Tonya Tagaq will perform with a violinist and percussionist in front of a 1922 silent movie.

“It’s a form of traditional throat singing, but with a contemporary style,” Oliver said. “There is really no one in the world doing the kind of art she is doing.”

Oliver said she has tried to bring Tagaq to Kodiak for several years, but only succeeded this year.

“I would say she is unlike anything anyone has ever seen before,” Oliver said. “I anticipate she won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I would encourage people to come and see what her art is about. I saw her four years ago, and have never stopped thinking about the performance.”

In December, “The Nutcracker” ballet, which is performed in Kodiak every three years, is back.

“It’s our local production,” Oliver said. “We’re working with the Little School of Dance and Jenny Stanford to bring ‘The Nutcracker’ to the stage.”

Versa-Style Dance Company will come to Kodiak in January 2017, the first dance troupe here in four years.

“They are a hip-hop dance troupe, they work with hip-hop, Afro-Latin, Afro-Cuban,” Oliver said. “They will do two different educational outreach programs while they are here.”

Rounding out the schedule in March is Rhythm Future Quartet, a Gypsy jazz ensemble.

Missing from this year’s schedule is a local stage play. Oliver said whether or not “The Nutcracker” and a play can occur in the same season depends on the availability of directors and stage technicians.

The schedule and tickets are available at the arts council website, www.kodiakarts.org.

Contact staff reporter Julie Herrmann at julie@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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