Arvio: no-no

Marjo Haapaniemi – Ylioppilaslehti – 15.11.1996

no-no pushes feelings to the surface.

Kenneth Kvarnström has begun his term as choreographer of the Helsinki City Theatre Dance Company handsomely, offering at the autumn’s most eagerly awaited first night an intense and strong work. In no-no, people encounter one another in a minimalist space and are left on the playing-field of their emotions among the twists and turnes of human relationships. An old and well-worn theme, but in Kavrnström’s hands not in the least a threadbare one.

Kvarnström’s language of movement is accurate and precise: each detail has its meaning. Human encounters become a continual surge of expressed emotions, of which each in turn is hard, tender, loving and angry. In the same breath, the dancers throw themselves on one others’ mercy and exploit one another.

Kvarnström, who is known for his violence, does not this time emphasise harshness only. Nevertheless, human intercourse strengthens from sensitive communication to wild physical contact, which climaxes in a hypnotic rite of power. The work’s air-thickening intensity feels, at the end,literally breathtaking.

no-no’s Eastern and African music and its ascetic visual qualities condense the message of the choreography, while the suspense-inducing soundscape is a perfect support for the charge conveyed by the dancers. The lighting, with its magnificent rythmical division of the space, articulates the white arena used by the dancers, to whose bareness the technical details in the side rostra bring new dimensions.

The strong spiritual charge and coherence of no-no’s dancers give vitality to the choreography. Kvarnström’s movement material begins to breathe and changes from abstract movement to feelings and words. no-no is easy to watch, for the emotions it produces are so real that one can empathise with them.