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Immensely skilful multidisciplinarity

SEE | OBEY BY SUSANNA LEINONEN COMPANY IS AN IMMENSELY SKILFUL COMBINATION OF DANCE, MUSIC, TEXT AND FILM.

Bringing together different art forms, Susanna Leinonen Company’s SEE | OBEYE is an experience that both soothes the senses and provokes thought.

The narrative between each art form is brought together by the shared themes that include, amongst others, the absurdity of life, the sense of time and travelling.

Various forms of expression create surprising connections between each other, merging into one whilst also maintaining their uniqueness. These expressions work wonderfully as one but remain equally strong as individual entities.

Susanna Leinonen’s choreography, with its graceful movement rich in detail, creates its own fascinatingly surreal reality. The abstract expression of the dance is combined with the narrative strength of a moving body. With dizzying skill and accent the dancers execute the demanding sequences in their full scope.

The unyielding intensity makes a deep impression. Dancer-choreographer Jouka Valkama’s dance film that moves on two screens is suspended between visually hyperrealistic and abstract narration.

The stories of the film emerge from a family drama filled with repressed and bursting emotion, from road movie elements and a panorama projection mapping out a life cycle.

Through closeups, slow-motion and editing the film brings some creatively unique ways of expression into the dance. As a part of a staged performance the moving image highlights things one cant’s see during the live performance. The white dance mat and the silver screen become merged as staging elements.

The text by writer-dramaturge Jukka Viikkilä consists of absurd anecdotes. The dialogue, resembling an inner monologue, reflects on the ruthlessness as well as comical value of life. The words fear, Paris and bomb rise unwittingly from the text triggering topical associations. As a stage adaptation the text expands into a visual, bodily, spacial and danced experience.

Composer and rap/hip hop-artist Kasperi Laine’s suggestive soundscape combines classical, electronic and ethnic musical elements. The suggestive sounds of the space and the sounds mixed from the written text create intriguing happenings. In the minimalistic and sharp costume design by Erika Turunen there are subtle hints of history and different cultures. Joonas Tikkanen’s lighting design accents the intense atmosphere in which the bodies and movement of the dancers appear as absolutely magical.

I interpret the title as a combination of the thematics of seeing and stretching the gaze, imagination and comprehension, of their preconditions and transcendences. The form shapes the story being told. SEE | OBEY offers a holistic experience where expressions and interpretations open up to various directions. The audience gets to weave all the meanings together.

Mia Hannula / Turun Sanomat, 16/11/2015