Arcos describe themselves as a ‘multimedia dance company’ and they certainly deliver. At times more a multimedia mayhem than a dance, this enthralling performance almost obscures the very bodies of its performers: bodies interact with shadows and projections in equal measure; it’s a blur of movement, captivating from the first note.
The continual interdisciplinary crossovers create visual collages of home-video footage interspersed with cartoons, documentary clips and sound recordings all layered magnificently to intensify the experience of human movement.
Clever jumps develop a narrative that sees multimedia director Eliot Gray Fisher invade the show, at times ingeniously; although other half-hearted attempts to join in the dance risk appearing gimmicky, unneeded and actually distract from the power of the production. Nevertheless, Fisher acts as a cunning narrator as he investigates the complicated intertwining of love and war present within his family history; he tells us the tale of his maternal grandparents, originally enemies on opposing sides, a German dancer and an American philosopher who fall in love against all odds.
This is dance that aches to reach into other mediums; it’s filmic to the extreme, a visual feast. At times there’s almost too much going on; the only fault of this company might be that they are just too ambitious. This occasional overloading of visual stimuli leads to a frustrating lack of focus in which the audience doesn’t quite know where to look. Luckily these moments are relatively short lived and recover quickly in following scenes in which the combination of sound recordings with live dance allows us to fully appreciate the beauty of the dancers’ movements. Occasionally we’re unsure what is fact and what is fantasy, what remains palpable on the stage and what is mere illusion, a projection, a shadow, a trick of the light. It’s partly this continual guessing game that makes the dance so captivating.
Ultimately, it is in the moments of greatest simplicity that this troop truly shines. The simple effect of sound recordings overlaying dancers allows time to process intricacies of movement, while the words of a recorded interview imbue sequences with further meaning and seem to extend the bodies of the dancers themselves. Arcos should have faith in the power of their movements as their exquisite choreography needs little extrapolation in order to remain hauntingly beautiful.
The Warriors message is a simple one, even in the darkest and most violent of times love survives. No matter what labels we assign each other, ‘friend’ or ‘foe’, we remain indissolubly linked to each other, irrevocably connected, throughout love and war. These connections are reflected elegantly in the fluid transformations rife within this production. The continual interdisciplinary crossovers create visual collages of home-video footage interspersed with cartoons, documentary clips and sound recordings all layered magnificently to intensify the experience of human movement. Arcos have created a vivid kaleidoscopic vision, a unique vision, one as vibrant and various as life itself.