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Images of women and wretched friendship

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The second work of the evening was Susanna Leinonen’s No One, Just Your Friend. It received its first premiere earlier on in the spring at the Finnish Bagnolet platform, where it was greeted by a particularly enthusiastic reception. Leinonen is capable of springing a surprise in the contemporary dance world.

The name of the work says it all. A trio of women explore their friendship, which can get pretty stormy. The work begins with an almost clichéd scene in which two women are going along their own corridors of light, but this changes totally when the third enters the scene. The two original friends gang up against the new arrival. Leinonen introduces the cruel sides of friendship too, the gossiping and spite. The work is about competition and the expectation of reciprocity.

The best thing about the work is the movement. No One, Just Your Friend is packed full of continuous, seamless movement energy. It is bursting with original, expressive movement material. The narrative of the story is movement, even though it isn’t demonstrative. Rare scenes in unison feel like a refreshing brew in this work in which three dancers make jerky and angular movement on their own.

Kaisu Hölttä and Virpi Juntti have absorbed the movement material wonderfully. The best part is however Susanna Leinonen’s own plastic and expressively powerful dance, which enchants the viewer with its intensity.

Tapani Rinne’s heavy ambience is a powerful background for the work, even if it is in places quite full-on and oppressive. It underlines the dark side of the work: hysterical women in a sinking quagmire of friendship. Someone is always excluded.

Jussi Tossavainen
Helsingin Sanomat 23.3.2000