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Kaira is a journey through time

Susanna Leinonen has quickly risen to become one of Finland’s leading choreographers, and her commissioned work Kaira fulfilled its expectations at its world premiere at Kuopio Dance Festival on Thursday. The work was thrilling, polished and, in keeping with its name, which means “drill” in Finnish, it went below the surface.

Kaira, which was interpreted by 6 dancers, deals with relationships, which is always an intriguing topic, but there is more to it – with the music, lights and costumes – it seemed to be talking about the human condition in general. Mikki Kunttu’s pillar-like lights created a space that was reminiscent of ancient temples, in which the dancers performed the rites that keep the world turning. Now and then the lights also brought science-fiction films to mind.

Kasperi Laine’s music intensified the atmosphere of an ancient rite with its oriental disco rhythms and primitiveness. Laine’s music was interesting as a work in its own right. The costumes that were designed by Erika Turunen were dark and minimalist, with appropriate abstractness.

Leinonen’s movement language was an exciting combination of beauty and dynamic force. The couples’ encounters were powerful and radiant.

Leinonen said that in this work she consciously wanted to break with the precisely styled movement language that she has used in the past. The first scene in Kaira ironically depicts imprisonment by technique and expectations, but the movement soon began to open up at the end, and the female dancers successfully used very strong erotic expression. On the other hand the movement at the end became increasingly rational – the conclusion was that all excess should be pruned and only the essential things mattered! The movement never became boring, however, but was rather beautifully polished, in the style of movement series and forms that have been refined through millennia.

Kaira also created a powerful link to the way that life goes on and the supposed movement of the universe, spiralling onwards through time.

First-class dancers realised Leinonen’s ideas and clearly internalized them too – the whole team arrived at the same destination. Apart from Leinonen herself, the stage also featured Sara Kovamäki, Heidi Lehtoranta, Jyrki Karttunen, Jouka Valkama and Jere Nurminen.

Pirjo Nenola
Iisalmi Sanomat 17.6.2006