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Dueling strings

Violins and daredevil feats make for unlikely bedfellows. But the Canadian troupe Barrage mixes the two together to create a theatrical experience that is one part Stradivarius and one part Evil Knevil.

As part of an international tour, Barrage brings a program called 'A Violin Sings, a Fiddle Dances' to town. 'The loose narrative,' explains company co-creator Anthony Moore, 'explores the difference between the violin and the fiddle.'

His conclusion? 'There's no difference in the instruments. The difference is in how they are played.'

Not unlike Michael Flatley's 'Riverdance,' which revs up Irish music and dancing with Las Vegas production values, Barrage jazzes up a traditional art form with dizzying theatrics. While playing songs from a variety of musical genres ÑÊswing, rock, country and calypso, to name a few ÑÊthe performers blaze across the stage like hypercaffeinated gymnasts.

'It's a crazy show,' Moore says. 'The performers do flips while they play the violin. It's equivalent to a circus on stage.'