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Compendium | Cabinet Cabaret shakes up the nation

Burlesque-punk dance-off will determine the fate of millions

As the heat of September makes way for the cold of October, thousands of people flock to Ottawa in anticipation of what could possibly be the friskiest art show in all of known history. It’s even spicier than the Spice Girls and more punk rock than her Majesty Queen Lizzy herself – I am of course talking about the grandest stage-art festival of the century: the Cabinet Cabaret.

In case you have been living in a bubble somewhere, focusing only on your studies and oblivious to the community you live in, the Cabinet Cabaret is the heart and soul of all Canadians. Taking place every four or five years, the performances at the Cabinet Cabaret define the very way of life in Canada.

Still, if you have to ask, “What the frack is the Cabinet Cabaret?” here’s the short answer from Wikipedia: “The Cabinet Cabaret is a play-it-yourself-dance-it-yourself burlesque-punk dance-off, broadcasted live even in the furthest reaches of Canada (including Quebec), through which the Canadian federal government is chosen.”

This year – as always, really – three acts are competing for everyone’s attention. At the forefront are everybody’s sweethearts, the industrial metal Britpop dubstep tap dancing group Ministers from Hell.
Led by a whimsical, lipless man known as Stefon Arpeur, the Ministers from Hell are masters of dance, environmental degradation, social manipulation, and Beatles covers. Their performances over the past four years have been controversial, despite being definite crowd-pleasers, including such performances as the “Barbaric Cultural Practice,” the “Anti-terror Burlesque Bonanza,” and the “I’m gonna frack you up.”

In an interview with The Weekly, Arpeur explained that he thinks the charm of the Ministers stems from their very approachable aesthetic and the fact that they’re “mostly rich white folks.”

“I am a [rich white person who has more power than he should have been given. I mean, I have been the top dancer in Canada] for the past nine years and I have [done some fracked up shit. Still, people have let me remain the top dancer. Honestly folks. Why? Why on earth would you let me remain in power for so long? Have you no respect] for yourselves?” Arpeur said.

“My troupe is my priority, and I’d do everything for it. How far would I go? Just watch me.”

The Ministers’ lead rabble-rouser and choreographer JayJay Kendy, also a member of a fringe nationalist right-wing organization colloquially known as ‘the State,’ said, “I don’t really like it when strangers watch our performances. Really, the Ministers only want to be watched by Canadians, true Canadians. That’s the kind of stuff we want to emphasize in our performances.”

Next up is the right-of-centre folk-punk contemporary dance troupe known as the Middle Class. Led by the charismatic Jaytrudes Mydadwasapm, whose hairdresser makes more money than he does, the Middle Class pretty much is the exact same as the Ministers from Hell. The one difference, however, is that they do not hide the fact that they smoke weed. They also claim that they are queer-friendly, but that’s probably just a marketing gimmick.

“Our priority is to entertain everyone,” a dreamy Mydadwasapm told The Weekly. “In that regard, we watch a lot of the things other people are doing.”

Indeed, if you have ever watched a performance by the Middle Class, you’ll recognize patterns of movement that may have been stolen from the “Anti-terror Burlesque Bonanza.” Mydadwasapm does not deny this, and in fact seems to be very proud of it.

“You know what? I’m sick and tired of people telling us that we’re rip-offs,” Mydadwasapm said without provocation. “My troupe is my priority, and I’d do everything for it. How far would I go? Just watch me.”

Last, but definitely not least, is the anarcho-liberal-indie-country-alternative-hip hop dance collective known as the Nu Dance Party.

Speaking to The Weekly, the Nu Dance Party’s leader, the bearded beast that is Tom Mullé Claire, explained that his troupe is the best troupe and all the other troupes can go “dance somewhere else.”

The Party’s dance moves are inspired by an ancient traditional European dance known as the Marxian Hustle. At least, that’s what Claire told The Weekly. In reality, the Party’s routine has nothing to do with the Marxian Hustle. Their pirouettes are nowhere near as revolutionary as described in the old manuscripts, their somersaults are alienating, and their music really sounds very dull. Really, they’re just like any other anarcho-liberal-indie-country-alternative-hip hop dance collective you’d see across the Atlantic.

Truly, until four years ago, no one would have even bothered to see a show by the Nu Dance Party, and if it weren’t for Jacques “Orange Wave” Lead’em, the collective’s renegade and sadly deceased ex-leader, that would have remained the case.

In an astral message sent through the weaves of time and space, Lead’em told The Weekly that he was “somewhat” disappointed with the most recent performances of the Nu Dance Party.

“Yeah, they’re different from everyone else. Yeah, they have some rad grooves that make ‘em stand out from the Middle Class and the Ministers from Hell. But is that enough?”

The real question is, however, when will I be finally able to see all these kickass dancers on stage? The answer is: very soon – October I think? Already, teasers for the performances are popping up on YouTube and distracting you from your WatchMojo marathons. So hold on to your seats, because the next few weeks are going to be a blast. Expect surprise performances all around Canada. Rumour has it that the Nu Dance Party will be doing a 15-minute routine at Club Soda. Don’t miss out.


The Cabinet Cabaret is held once every four or five years at the heart of the nation in Ottawa, Ontario. To get tickets, spend (approximately) five years trying to get permanent residency, and then another (approximately) five years to get citizenship. If you are already a Canadian citizen, check to make sure you don’t actually have revokable second-class citizenship as per recent Arpeur legislation. If you feel like the Cabinet Cabaret is a horrible way to choose how a country is governed – tough luck! Just try harder for a revolution.


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