The two dancers, Cohdi Harrell and Laura Stokes, use acrobatic structures as vehicles for a subtle kind of poetry that feels more like a dream than a circus. Working in solo and duet, they lead us from the day-to-day grind of business and politics, beneath several layers until they are entirely bare. Piece by piece they lay open the poetry of politics – a done up business of showmanship that hides our nakedness, our humanness, and our poetic limbs.
Highlighted by a duo ropes section that brings circus arts into the realm of literature through its graceful reaching toward a sense that speaks more to prose than circus, I sat happily stunned for the better part of an hour. Smoke and Mirrors, which was a last-minute replacement at Assembly Checkpoint after a show had to pull out due to injury, has blissfully emerged as one of the must-see circus performances in Edinburgh this August.
The setting is as bare as the dancers’ bodies as they weave more complex, layered images than many of the much more highly produced spectacles on hand this month. This acrobatic dance duo from northern New Mexico in the United States offers an extraordinary glimmer of courage that is both unique and needed.