The Opinion Public company, which we've been following in the magazine since it was first created in 2010, presented its new production, Arcadia at the Marni Theatre in Brussels in December. Through its own choreography and in an engaging way, the company addresses several subjects that relate to contemporary society.
This new production is dedicated to the topics of video games, the digital world that’s invading our lives, the lack of borders between what is real and what is virtual and their consequences to human relationships. In Arcadia, avatars and players merge together throughout the world. But in this imaginary land/video gaming platform, what is left of human beings? Do they still have the right to emotions and relationships with each other? It is an extremely lyrical production that speaks to the audience using Étienne Béchard’s choreographic language that is always full of energy, variety and visually wonderful to watch.
Four dancers, three male (Etienne Béchard, Johann Clapson and Victor Launay) and one female (Elena Valls) seamlessly link the solo, duet, trio and quartet passages to a constant rhythm.
There is almost no scenery, but lighting accompanies the piece as it progresses. On bare boards, four luminous cubes, which move by interacting with the dancers, animate the stage while an android appears in a glass box, an avatar figure symbolizing this virtual world.
The dance gradually progresses with repetitive movements. There is a feeling of escapism and the desire to get away from reality with computers malfunctioning so that finally the dancer locked in his glass cage, meets another dancer also locked in a similar box. The two can but fall into a state of delirium due to the limitations of reality and the physical world.
The three previously mentioned founders of the company excel in their dance and contemporary style. The fourth member, Elena Valls, recently joined the group and plays an androgynous role. She cleverly plays around with the production’s choreographic language. Her level of energy, expressiveness and stamina is really impressive and lasts throughout her performance from start to finish. This is the seventh production from the Opinion Public Company. It will be showing this year in other cities throughout Belgium. The company has also been invited to perform in Finland and Poland in the coming months.
Arcadia is playing at the Marni Theatre in Brussels from 5th to 9th December. After the success of Mr. Follower two years ago, Culture Remains couldn't miss being there for the arrival of the incredible Opinion Public dance troupe’s new production. The team has had a slight overhaul (congratulations to the lovely Sidonie for this happy event!) But their spirit remains the same. Get ready for a rather amazing journey to virtual lands in a cube with Etienne Béchard and his team! Welcome to ARCADIA, a land so close to perfection where idyllic landscapes are commonplace and where all the wonders of the world come together.
In one single click, you’re thrown in by a games console where your character obeys by finger and eye, and reproduces your every move with skill and agility.
Our programmers will make you quiver with the wealth of stories on offer, some more intoxicating than others. Players and avatars from around the world, you are invited to the greatest extrasensory experience in the history of mankind. Discard your old shackles and shells, escape the gruelling boredom of reality and enter ARCADIA, a land of immense possibilities and a sanctuary for your most unconfessed desires ... The Opinion Public company presents this new production consistent with POST ANIMA, on a subject which is dear to them, the disruptive effect of technology on personal relationships and reality in our modern society.
So Arcadia and Mr. Follower. What’s special about the Opinion Public Company?
This dance troupe sets itself apart from the rest with its unique form of creativity in this genre. The mix of modern and classical ballet is cleverly balanced. Far from wanting to be confined to a specific style, Etienne Béchard simply wants to express emotions through dance and he does just that! The subjects addressed undoubtedly encourage the audience to become more introspective and questioning.
By attacking the virtuality of our world, the one that encroaches more and more on everyday reality (touch screens, video games, social networks) Arcadia stages a range of situations that you're sure to relate to at some time or another. Bodies twist and unravel. The audience holds their breath and the dancers' breath intensifies right from the very first moment. Arcadia promises us a little bit of all these elements. I have to say that the first five minutes of performances I saw during my visit to rehearsals literally had me captivated and I could see all the hard work the dancers put in! A special mention for the soundtrack which was really very intense and psyched from the start! Overall, if you like dance and shows that don't leave you feeling flat, definitely go to see it! .