Disclosure: Dance Dispatches received complimentary digital admission to write an open and honest review of Welcome to Campfire’s The Pigeon & The Mouse: The Film.
The spoken word in the voice-over leads the movement of two bodies rooting down on earth. This is an intimate dialogue between a couple, built up during smooth transitions and rolls across the floor, with one simple premise: they are never apart.
The sense of touch and fusion invites us close to the scene, but not entirely a part of it – as we watch the piece through a show window, gaining glimpses of people walking on the street and traffic lights occasionally jumping on set. Separate from the motion of the outside world, this dance duet claims an urgency to slow down time and tell a story of love, separation, human connection and its vulnerability.
“Real, raw and vulnerable, [The Pigeon & The Mouse film] is a twenty-minute summation of what it has felt like to weather this pandemic, taking viewers through the swells of love and hate, terror and boredom, intimacy and distance.”– Welcome to Campfire
Welcome to Campfire
The Film is the latest version of The Pigeon & The Mouse performance, created by the New-York based platform Welcome to Campfire. The artistic duo, Tony Bordonaro and Ingrid Kapteyn, met while performing Sleep No More NYC in 2013 and, since then, they have been choreographing, producing and performing original work that invites audiences to rediscover the origins of storytelling. Combining dance and theatre, their productions focus on presenting dystopian futures and stories around human connection.
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The Pigeon & The Mouse: The Film
After a sold-out premiere in January 2020, The Pigeon & The Mouse has been adapted for the screen, as a creative response from Bordonaro and Kapteyn to the Covid-19 lockdown limitations on live performance. Billed as “a love story about leaving home,” the film crosses the disciplines of movement, spoken word and music. Made in collaboration with filmmaker Daniel Robinson, the piece features original work by visual artists Olya Dubatova and Levon Petrosyan, as well as an original song by Daniel Henri Emond.
By embracing the possibilities of screen dance, the movement performance gets reshaped. We see motions at varying speeds reconstruct this love story about two people forced to leave home in the wake of a civil war. Throughout, the narrative oscillates between static, acrobatic positions and speedy moves, which allows the duo to play around the concept of strength on both the male and female body.
Still, we always return to a central question: does love remain in the middle of the chaos?
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As Asaf Avidan’s ‘The Labyrinth Song’ fades out in the background, the duo lays drained on the floor, face-to-face, trying to reach each other’s hands.
When nothing else remains – not even movement – a visceral force continually emerges to bring love back.
Indeed, this performance lies on a duality between ends and restarts, while transitioning between blinks of desperation, euphoria, contemplation, life, death and care. This intense, moving duet culminates with an apocalyptical voice summing up this fable:
Once upon a time, a land creature and a sky creature who are deeply in love learn that the earth is falling out of the sky.
They react to this prophetic voice frenetically amplifying the ferocity of the scene. Facing the impossibility of fighting against their destiny, they find a way to get back together again.
The Pigeon & The Mouse highlights the power of resilience over separation, and love against fate.
Watch Welcome to Campfire’s The Pigeon & The Mouse
The Pigeon & The Mouse film was released publicly on May 4 and it is available to stream for a limited time:
You may currently rent the film for $15.99 USD, which will give you access for 24 hours.
All information correct and up-to-date at time of publication.
Born in Portugal, Inês Carvalho moved to London for a Master’s in Arts Management at Middlesex University. She has been taught contemporary dance at City Academy London and written pieces for Dance Art Journal. She has worked with American dance artist Bianca Paige Smith in Public Relations and is the Coordinator for Social Media and Content Creation at IRIE! dance theatre. Inês also launched diagonal, a communications agency that rethinks contemporary dance as an accessible language for everyone.