If you saw Inception a few years back, chances are you marveled at the film's spinning, zero-gravity hallway scene. BodyVox didn't stop at admiration—the 17-year-old dance company decided to re-create the effect onstage, by projecting a live video feed behind performers. The goal, according to co-artistic director Jamey Hampton, is to mess with the audience's perception of what's right-side up.
"We're filming it, but we're turning the camera and we're shooting from multiple angles and from above," Hampton says. "After a while, you're looking at it, and you're also watching the projection, and it messes with your mind about gravity."
That piece, "The Third Floor," is one of six in BodyVox's newest evening-length show, Firewall. Choreographed by Hampton and co-artistic director Ashley Roland, the works strive to bring down the wall that usually separates performers from the audience. To do so, BodyVox is revealing a bit of the process—like a magician revealing his tricks—behind the technological effects, which range from video projections and lasers to green screens and iPad apps.
"We thought rather than do a show where people are like, 'I don't know how you did it,' we're going to show them," Hampton says. "They're going to see us set the camera up, they're going to see the green screen over here and then the projection over there simultaneously."
Inception wasn't the only film to inspire one of the numbers. Another piece, "Laissez Faire," spoofs '60s spy thrillers. It starts off on a humorously campy foot, with nods to the fancy suits and tinkling, cheesy jazz of early James Bond films. But things turn serious when the future of the couple—modeled after Brangelina in the Mr. & Mrs. Smith remake—becomes uncertain. For the piece, the dancers don laser gloves—accessories more commonly seen at EDM shows—and move through the dark and fog, creating what Hampton calls "spontaneous architecture."
"Firewall is more of an attitude than anything," he says. "It's about making a show that feels like it comes from a place of freedom. I don't think we've crammed as many technological ideas simultaneously into one show, ever."
SEE IT: Firewall is at BodyVox, 1201 NW 17th Ave., 229-0627. 7:30 pm Thursdays through Saturdays, Dec. 4-20, and 2 pm Saturdays, Dec. 13 and 20. $25-$59.