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How does the dancer’s story end?

Susanna Leinonen’s Grain is a total art work in the familiar style.

Those who are expecting a breathtaking avalanche of dance movement from Susanna Leinonen’s new work will be disappointed. The solo Grain is structured above all as a story, in which the dancer has her own narrative role.

Typically for Leinonen this is a total art work in which the music, costumes, scenography and lighting are combined extremely precisely with the dance expression.

The first dreamlike glimpses at the beginning, then a long wait before a creature, peeling off its fan-like headgear, steps onto the white platform: a thin red ribbon around her breasts, a white knee-pad on one leg and a plaster cast winged construction on the other, and a single black shoe. It all makes sense when the large video screen shows an empty hospital bed, a deserted corridor and a white-tiled toilet wall, in which the only splash of colour is a human shadow. A patient.

There is a projection of a clock with no hand, and a drive from a tunnel into the dark night. We follow the journey as passive observers.

The dance gradually grows from mechanical movement into a strong dialogue between the movement and the scenography. It begins to rain in front of the dancer. The figure slowly moves stylistically through the wall of water. What follows is a symbolic dance of purification, which gets extra effects from the drops of water and stop-go music. At the same time the clock that is flashing on the video begins to fade out of view. Time is transformed.

Leinonen’s postures and flowing movement series that are repeated with different levels of intensity construct an expression that is once again unique. The dancing takes place as if it’s only an arm’s length away – free of excessive sentimentality, on a universal level, perhaps internal.

The interested spectator waits to see how the journey will end. The dancer turns her back, the video wall turns to silent white noise and the lights go off. Everything in the work seems to be trying to say the same thing: we can never know what time it is.

Hannele Jyrkkä
Helsingin Sanomat 3.6.2008