Luvos @ The Traverse
Confused, bewildered, charmed
The stage is littered with small, blood-red blocks of what look like the polystyrene pieces you’d use to pack something breakable. The audience sits on a sharp incline so as to view the stage from above. Five contorted bodies lie buried within this jumbled debris and slowly emerge to tell their story.
The subject or intent of Luvos is not necessarily clear but as the performers unravel themselves, the audience is swept along with the bewildering movements and as narrative takes precedent, purpose suddenly seems less important. Our familiarity with the naked form is shaken. Never is a face seen nor a gesture presented in a way we expect and so the performance is always curious, intricate and unpredictable. Bodies contort, thighs quiver, wrists curl and toes wiggle. The lighting and choreography are such that it is almost impossible to distinguish the sex of the five performers wearing head socks and skin-coloured clothing. Disorientation of the body and our inability to predict or control reaction is played out beautifully as we explore each transformation.
Watching, you can’t help but wonder at Editta Braun’s impressive choreography as the performers consistently stare away from one another, into the floor or ceiling for almost the entire performance yet constantly work in harmony. The bodies are often disconnected, each exploring their own conflict, at odds with one another. However, the electronic tones periodically crescendo throughout, along with subtly altering lighting, to punctuate each borderline-violent climax as the dancers suddenly snap together, jigsaw-like.
What is striking about Luvos is that each member of the audience will take something different away from what they have seen. For me it was confusion about ourselves, the conflict within, how we then respond to that and interact with one another. There’s a closure to the piece and the story has somehow been told. While there’s a willingness to move together, there’s a confidence to move alone. In this sense Luvos explores how we all travel through life, at times angrily, sometimes with comedy and lightness but almost always with confusion and bewilderment.