ARCOS Dance to Debut THE WARRIORS: A LOVE STORY in Austin Next Month
Austin, TX -- ARCOS Dance debuts its award-winning multimedia dance-theater production The Warriors: A Love Story -- a timely reflection on memorializing love in times of war, and the company's first production in Austin.
Inspired by the experiences of Director Eliot Gray Fisher's maternal grandparents during World War II, the production chronicles his intimate search for their legacy and universal truths against the immense backdrop of war. ARCOS has partnered with the Austin Veterans For Peace Neil Bischoff Chapter 66 and the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) to raise awareness about the effects of war on our daily lives, and the need for action.
Representatives from both organizations will participate in a post show discussion on Friday, September 11, the National Day of Service and Remembrance. Performances will be held at 8pm Friday and Saturday evenings, September 11 and 12, 2015, at the Rollins Theater at 701 W Riverside Drive. Tickets are $12-$18 and include discounts for veterans and military and are available at thelongcenter.org.
Evoking the actual lives of Ursula and Glenn Gray, maternal grandparents of Director Eliot Gray Fisher, The Warriors: A Love Story combines choreography, original music, expressive sound design, archival footage, actual family heirlooms, a diverse array of texts, and interactive video projections, blurring the lines between artistic disciplines and exploring history as mythology. The fast-paced show received rave reviews at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, earning Mervyn Stutter's "Spirit of the Fringe" award as well as accolades from national publications. Personal journal excerpts and ideas from Glenn Gray's philosophical memoir, The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle, serve as inspiration for scenes in ARCOS' production. Ursula's love of movement and the power of beauty makes dance an especially fitting vehicle for this intimate family portrait, set against the immense experience of war and its profound ongoing impact on our daily lives. Fisher himself narrates the production, openly grappling with the complexity of his heritage, as dancers bring to life significant moments from Glenn and Ursula's story. From this personal perspective, ARCOS encourages the audience to contemplate how the ripples of warfare have touched their own lives, and what small actions they can take each day to work toward peace. As Mary Brennan of The Herald Scotland notes: "The Warriors asks important questions: can we love our enemies-or even understand the losses we inflict on them? Can art-dance in particular-do more than words?"
ARCOS has embraced an interdisciplinary approach to audience outreach with an initiative to engage with local military and veteran communities as vital audiences for the production. "A key part of our mission to create new models for the performing arts is immersing diverse groups of people, as well as art forms, in our performances," says Eliot Gray Fisher. Erica Gionfriddo adds, "With The Warriors we aim to increase consciousness around the complexity of warfare; veterans and military offer an essential perspective." The production will be presented on September 11 by design, to coincide with one of our nation's annual moments of reflection. President of the Austin Veterans for Peace Chapter and renowned documentary photographer Alan Pogue will participate in a post show discussion following the September 11 performance, speaking to the relevance of art as one of many ways to work for peace. Leading by example, ARCOS company members will volunteer for ECHO in their efforts to end veteran homelessness by the end of this year. Representatives of this campaign, which includes ECHO and the City of Austin, will also participate in the September 11 post-show discussion.
Established in 2011 in Santa Fe, NM, ARCOS Dance and its Creative Directors Curtis Uhlemann, Erica Gionfriddo, and Eliot Gray Fisher, relocated to Austin in 2013. In a span of less than two years the company has garnered a presence and reputation bringing to the local scene a cutting edge, contemporary performance aesthetic and rigorous work ethic. Pushing traditional boundaries not only through performative practice, ARCOS and its directors generously share their process of experimentation, offering emerging and established artists opportunities to cultivate a broad set of essential skills. ARCOS provides the local community with classes in dance technique, repertoire, composition, and relevant cross training, as well as workshops in constructive feedback methods, professional development, and harnessing accessible technologies. In March, ARCOS granted its first annual Dance Artist Development Award, a grant designed to provide financial support to dance professionals to enhance their personal practice. While the company has performed extensively in the Southwest and abroad, this will mark ARCOS' first full-length production presented in Austin.
ABOUT J. GLENN AND URSULA GRAY: Ursula was a dancer in Dresden, Germany who studied with early modern dance pioneers (including Grett Palucca and Hanya Holm) before the war and survived the 1945 Allied bombing of Dresden. Glenn grew up in rural Pennsylvania and received his doctorate in Philosophy from Columbia University on the same day as his draft notice. After fleeing her home and escaping to Munich, then under American military occupation, Ursula met Glenn. In Munich, they both exerted efforts to revive the university system. In 1948, the newly married couple relocated to Colorado Springs, where Glenn was hired as the chair of Philosophy at Colorado College. To Glenn's credit, the Colorado College Philosophy program is recognized as one of the earliest to incorporate modern European Philosophy into its curriculum. Glenn brought the department to national prominence while Ursula danced and taught, developing her own creative movement program that was beloved by the local community for decades. The couple raised two daughters, Lisa and Sherry. Glenn died in 1977, leaving behind a multitude of essays and books, including The Promise of Wisdom and his philosophical memoir, The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle, which features excerpts from his journal entries written during the war and remains on the official Marine Corps reading list. Ursula passed away in 2009 and her memorial in Colorado Springs was attended by dozens of former students who danced in her honor.ABOUT ARCOS DANCE: ARCOS Dance is a multimedia performance company based in Austin that experiments rigorously to discover adventurous new forms and venues for contemporary performance. Curtis Uhlemann and Erica Gionfriddo co-choreograph in a process forged by years of partnership and a shared passion for intricate, athletic movement. They collaborate dynamically with media artist Eliot Gray Fisher to create a profoundly interdisciplinary experience. ARCOS was selected as a finalist in the 2012 MacCallum Choreography Festival in Palm Desert, California, was commissioned by contemporary art museum SITE Santa Fe to create an interactive performance in conjunction with its installation The Pearl, and was invited to present work at the 2014 CURRENTS International New Media Festival. The company's multimedia production, The Warriors: A Love Story, received Mervyn Stutter's "Spirit of the Fringe" award at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Uhlemann, Gionfriddo, and Fisher were awarded artistic residency at prestigious programs in Oregon, Wyoming, and Nebraska, and been invited as guest artists to Colorado College (CO) and Texas State University (TX). ARCOS has been awarded grants for its interdisciplinary performance work from the Rea Charitable Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, Donors Trust, Hatchfund, and New Mexico Arts. Under the umbrella of ARCOS Foundation for the Arts, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, ARCOS offers dynamic, professional-level training and development workshops for independent artists, ongoing community dance technique classes, and performance intensives for established and emerging professionals. ARCOS recently awarded its inaugural "Dance Artist Development Award," a professional development grant for dancers in all stages of their career.
IF YOU GO:
The Warriors: A Love Story
ARCOS Dance (arcosdance.com)
The Rollins Studio Theater
701 W. Riverside Drive, Austin TX,
Friday and Saturday, September 11 and 12 at 8pm
August 19th at 8pm
Step Off at San Jacinto and 11th.The Warriors: A Love Story at Colorado College
September 4 - 5 at 7:30pm
Celeste Theater, FREE
Click here for ticket reservationsThe Warriors: A Love Story in Austin, TX
September 11 - 12 at 8pm
Rollins Studio Theater, $12-$18
Click here for ticket reservationsMaster Class on Stage with The Warriors
Saturday, September 12, 4-5:30pm
The Rollins Studio Theater
$5 in advance, $10 at the door
Join ARCOS and the cast of The Warriors on stage for the
kick off of their fall class series.
Limited capacity, reservation required.ARCOS Class and Coffee
September 15 - December 15
Austin School of Classical Ballet, $10
Open company class, advanced modern technique specializing in ARCOS repertoire and methods. Special workshops in GYROKINESIS , Multimedia Lab, and Professional Development to be announced throughout the season. ARCOS Dance in Residence at Texas State University
October 26 - November 1
ARCOS will lead master classes, lectures, seminars, and create a multimedia work on Merge, the BFA performance ensemble to premiere in their
spring 2016 repertory concert.
Pictured: The Cast of THE WARRIORS: A LOVE STORY (clockwise from left): Erica Gionfriddo, Katie Hopkins, Alexa Capareda, Clay Moore, and Jimi Loc Nguyen.