”IDÄN OTTEESSA”: Four Dance Artists, Three Dance Pieces

”IDÄN OTTEESSA” – the  Evening for Three Dance Pieces was organized by four dance artists, educated in  North Karelia college Outukumpu: Mari Kortelainen, Nadja Pärssinen, Sari Tuunanen and Anna Venäläinen . The event took place in Tampere theatre ”SIPERIA” with the coldest lobby ever, remarkably corresponding to theatre’s name.

From the common school background the dance artists point out a strong educational base for own courageous artistic search. Their works – a solo, duet  and another solo, performed in ”IDÄN OTTEESSA”  –  composed the interesting evening, revealing three different choreographic aproaches to dance making.

Mari Kortelainen in her solo ”LINNUNLUISET SAAPPAAT”,  inspired with Saila Susiluoto’s poem, plunges into a journey of  self-discovery.

The solo work happens to show an example of successful cooperation between dance and design: set, costume and graffic. The focus of attention is on four mannequins. The mannequins are dressed up in chic grey jackets and the skirts, made out of the same piece of bright red fabric, which is spread out on the floor forming one common bottom along the arc. The dancer shows up wearing a white slip, imitating bird movements. She climbs under the red fabric from one end of the arc and creeps all the way torwards the other end. In a moment there comes out the fifth Lady in a red skirt.

Kuva: Pekka Hartikainen.
Kuva: Pekka Hartikainen.

Such visual effect of intellegently designed transformation catches the spectator’s eye and enlivenes the intriguing image of the static mannequins. It creates the exitement to see more of those interesting choreographic desicions, that will fully justify all the Ladies in the red skirts on the stage.

Admitting the strong visual perception of ”LINNUNLUISET SAAPPAAT”, I felt a pity, that Kortelainen left some of my spectator’s expectations towards her vivid scenography not exceeded. Choreographer directed  the rest of the energy into the dance in its usual contemporary understanding: full of movements and smooth shifts in the space.

The movement qualities changes from low and sliding along the floor to upright whirling, accompanied with flamenco music. The restless dancer addresses to the mannequins again, skilfully undressing one of them, and  gets rid of own costume as well.

After all the cycle of transformation Bird – Lady in a red skirt – Bird gets completed.

”IDÄN OTTEESSA” evening  continued with Nadja Pärssinen and Sari Tuunanen duet ”NÄKYVÄ?”. ”NÄKYVÄ?” was born from the artists’ interest in the movement research: going deeper into the movement with certain chosen possibilies for such research.

The duet consists of two parts: movement flow changing into funny interaction with the audience.

…again and again repeated phrase… waving hip movement, expressive hands, light feet tapping and turns…the dancers move side by side in a cannon… following own tempo… catching up each other’s rythm…breaking the unison again..the distance between the two widenes and  squezzes…the dialog continues all the time…the phrase looses its initital outlines and develops into two organic independent movement flows…Pärssinen’s nimble playfullness and Tuunanen’s soft coolness…pure movement without emotional coloring…thorough reseach process behind…listening and hearing…

Seeing ”NÄKYVÄ?” for the second time now in the theatre space, a lot different from the prevoius white dance studio, I divide this duet to myself into two different accomplished versions: a stage and a laboratory. Here I happen to think what both of them oblige the performer and the audience for.

Kuva: Pekka Hartikainen.
Kuva: Pekka Hartikainen.

The laboratory version gained a quality of an open space for an ongoing search. Somehow it was granted with a privillige for questions without answers and answers without questions, for fluctuations of the meanings, which come and go. It provided an open dialog between the performers’ intention and the audience’s pure observation.

This space, equipped with the theatre lightning, bothers my pure observation with new layers. Adorning the pictures, revealing  and emphisizing something new, making me more distant from the open dialog, the stage version obliges me for stronger critical thinking and at the same time bores with that. My spectator’s judgemental monologe competes with the artists’ intention to keep the dialog after all.

…the stage version somehow looses a bet….

Insisting on the dialoge though, Pärssinen and Tuunanen continue the duet, politely gathering audience’s belongings. Enthusiasticly entrust scarves, glasses, shoes, hats and even bags are laid out diagonally on the floor or put on the performers. The partner dance continues along the diagonal, challenging the audience with passive observing a gambling game with a high risk of damaging their beloved stuff.

So unpretentiously disturbing others’ privacy on the stage, Pärssinen’s nimble playfullness and Tuunanen’s soft coolness create a unique phenomenon in the overpolite finnish culture.

”FOLHA SECA” by Anna Venäläinen completes ”IDÄN OTTEESSA” evening. Venäläinen’s dance solo is accompanied with quartet of clarinet musicians Henry Niemi, Katri Pienipaavola, Samuli Turunen and Konstamikko Korhonen.

Folha Seca, litteraly meaning dry leaf, is inherent in afrobrasilian cultures and represented, for example, in the martial art of capoeira and religion Candomble.  This reference has become an inspiration for a dance material in ”FOLHA SECA” solo. Along with recognizable cartwheels, the dancer executes the movement, apparently embodying the elements of mentioned afrobrasilian religion. Rapid and directed as a struck cueball on the billiard table she rushes around, occupying the whole space.

Kuva: Pekka Hartikainen.
Kuva: Pekka Hartikainen.

Live music is always a strong partner and support for dance on the stage.  In ”FOLHA SECA” dance together with  the music intend to compose recurring whirlpool, which keeps on transforming into something else.

Indeed I find myself drawn into such whirlpool, produced by movement and sound currents. The whole perception of ”FOLHA SECA”  becomes contemplative and meditative, loosening my concern to be analitical for coming reviewing. At times the dance confuses me with its excessive mimic theatricality: line up the sights – gesture,  literal door opening and stepping inside, carrying a ball…But the music’s powerful  live presence on the stage does not let me out. It smoothly fullfils the gaps and takes me back into the meditative flow.

”LINNUNLAISET SAAPPAAT”, ”NÄKYVÄ?” and ”FOLHA SECA” – three independent works – happened to meet in modestly organised ”IDÄN OTTEESSA” evening and all together manifested dance as a diverse field for artistic research. Equally complementing the impression from the whole event, all three shared the live search of personal links to dance, the excitement in travelling through own artistic journey and the importance of ”keep on going” in it.

Maria Prokhorova

Writer is a dancer who tries out different ways of viewing and reviewing dance.


IDÄN OTTEESSA – kolmen nykytanssiteoksen ilta


Choreography and dance: Mari Kortelainen

Sound design and music: Yrjö Vähäkallio

Light design: Tatu Vuori

Set and costume design: Reija Stenius

Graffic design: Lauri Merisaari


Choreography and dance: Nadja Pärssinen, Sari Tuunanen

Light design: Kari Kola


Choreography and dance: Anna Venäläinen

Music composition and live-effects: Juhana Venäläinen

Clarinet: Henry Niemi and Katri Pienipaavola, Samuli Turunen, Konstamikko Korhonen

Light design: Kari Kola

Premiered 1.2.2014, Teatteri ”Siperia”, Tampere