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Enter Achilles (DV8) Review - Laura Mathis

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Enter Achilles (DV8) Review - Laura Mathis What a relief it is to be shown a piece of dance where the audience doesn't spend the first ten minutes thinking: 'what the hell is going on?' Instead, DV8's 'Enter Achilles' is drawn from everyday life with instantly recognizable references. Now cut to a 'marmalade' of eight 'straight' men, confined within the four walls of a typical pub; pint in hand, football on screen, the jingle of a fruit machine underneath a cacophony of karaoke and screeching wolf whistles to the blondes outside. Choreographer Lloyd Newson creates an extremely clear interpretation of the typical British 'norms' and its stereotypical views towards the male sex, male behaviour and above all, male relationships. He asks you to consider: 'why is it acceptable for men to do footwork around a football but not to do footwork in dance?' And I ask you: 'what is now classed as a social 'norm' for a man?' This review will examine that question whilst also exploring the use of movement, technique and effect DV8 expose within their dance/video piece 'Enter Achilles'. ...read more.


DV8 are not subtle in portraying their political issues and messages - the sexual actions are blunt and crude; the lengthening and stretching of the dancer's body hinting at an erection, sexual positions being formed and the fumbling, rolling and childish banter making the doll appear to be real. Downstairs in a 'land of lager', everyday body language is exploited with the dancers hurling themselves at one another, toppling, writhing and rolling whilst balancing their godly pints - not spilling a drop. These pints are a motif for masculinity, a blanket for the men to hide behind, assuring themselves of their sex. They depict their vulnerable masculinity whilst the physical closeness in some of the dancers generates an idea of intimacy. There is, undoubtedly, tension within their movements; an almost violent, unsettling tension as two of the men fold around each other on the floor - eye to eye, chest to chest -locked in this squirming position, juggling and competing for the pint. Lloyd Newson states that: 'a dancer may fling their legs wide open which to them is just a technical event but for the audience, can have emotional, sexual and psychological implications'. ...read more.


This proves to show society's response to homosexuality; men in particular. Another 'outsider' of the group joins in the tactless, bantering attack on this one man, adjusting his own behaviour to avoid confrontation and fit in. DV8's movement in 'Enter Achilles' is strict yet casual, nervous yet blunt, and shocking yet stereotypical - just as planned. Lloyd Newson fixates a spotlight on the world as it really is, where men touching each other consists of a pat on the back or a punch in the face, a world where men express themselves through grabbing their crotch, making a pass at women and tossing back pints to a unison of boos and curses as England miss a penalty. A world where although not all men act in this way, it is most definitely the impression society has of 'lads', and a stereotype that most men feel they must live up to in order to secure the image of a man. 'Enter Achilles' is a wonderfully comic and sharp look at the world of a man, with phrases that are breathtaking, lifts that are staggering and moments of pure bliss where the audience were not sure whether to offer a gasp or a giggle. ...read more.

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