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Dreams of Replay fit to become a star export product of Finnish dance theatre

Perfect movement is always central in Susanna Leinonen’s works, and so it is this time around too.

Dreams of Replay is a stunning experience, as Susanna Leinonen’s works usually are. The piece reaches into the choreographer’s own dance past, but it isn’t a retrospective: all that she’s seen and experienced gives birth to a new whole. It’s not about repeating material, but rather reworking and polishing it to a diamond.

Refining dance movement has always been central to Leinonen’s work. There is nothing unnecessary. Each moment, each gesture of hand has been so thought out, it resembles the unique craftmanship of an ambitious clockmaker.

DREAMS OF REPLAY is a collection of scenes, of which each one could be a whole performance unto itself. And yet they overlap and interlace like a puzzle that revels its picture only at the very end. The performance advances with a dream-like logic from one moment to another, and from instants of happiness to the world of nightmares.

Leinonen’s pieces are never just showcases of her own sense of choreography, but rather they are complete art works that are created as a collaboration between several authors. The soundscape that hits to the bone, created by Kasperi Laine, is crucial in creating worlds full of tensions that disrupt and disturb the viewing experience. This is achieved in a way that doesn’t put the music in a lead role, but integrates it as an inseparable part of the process.

The dance is not there to illustrate the music, and the music is not made to be danced. They move together, and neither could be imagined without the other. The lighting by Kalle Ropponen lifts, connects and separates the different scenes into cinematic collages.

Sometimes it can feel like there is more than enough of elements. But ultimately nothing is unnecessary. For once I can say: leave nothing out. Even the hilarious duel of the music boxes defends its place. The absurd subconscious challenging everyday thinking.

The dancers are of course an important part of the whole, capable of interpreting the meticulous precision of Susanna Leinonen’s movement language not only on a technical level, but also thoughtfully. There is no room for happenstance or gratuitous being in the choreography.

As a lover of dance, I am naturally pleased by the fact that the power and purity of dance are so strongly in the focus. Here we have an ensemble that could be from any world-class dance company. The technique of classical ballet meets the surprising nature of contemporary dance and brings out the best in both.

I would be surprised if this piece didn’t become an international hit product for the Finnish know-how in the field of dance theatre.

I hate to give stars to a performance, but this one would get all five. One would be deducted because of a lack of paper program. You must potter around with a mobile device.

Jussi Tossavainen / Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, 09/07/2017