Arvio: Destruction Song II

Jenny Jägerhorn – Hufvudstadsbladet – 25.11.2010

Enchanting dystopian dance

Blackness in endless infinity, both seductive and frightening. It is as if all colour has been stripped away in Kenneth Kvarnström’s dystopian world Destruction Song II.

The public hardly find their seats before they are surprised by an ear-splitting sound shock. Three faceless, black masked angels of death take the stage in a world where black ash covers the ground and a shiny dark light falls softly on hanging metal prisms.

The only glimpse of a human presence is the dancers’ naked flickering figures that, like the chirping of birds, witness life amid the enveloping deadly blackness.

At the start, the timing is somewhat uneven between the dancers Kenneth Bruun Carlson, Jenni-Elina Lehto, and Valtteri Raekallio, but they quickly find a common rhythm and dance with certainty and expressively both in unison as well as when the choreography cleaves into duets and solos.

In Janne Marja-aho’s following expressive solo, the naked back is in focus. He is alone and desperate, a survivor after a catastrophe.

The black is broken and light floods in through an opening at the back of the stage. The dancers dressed in black resemble their own silhouettes against the light and move at an increasingly accelerating tempo. The rhythm is like a pulsating heart and, in the dance’s seamless waves of movement, it appears as if one single organism is moving – billowing, powerful, and meticulous.

Kvarnström’s brilliant body language with interesting details, and the intensive meeting that dissolves in slow meditative frequencies, make it all hypnotically intensive.

The pressure increases and one feels an approaching explosion. Nevertheless, after chaos arrives, order and the rumbling music is replaced by an acoustic guitar solo from which humanity emerges. Marja-aho and Sofia Karlsson, who also danced in the original version 2008, unite in a final duet in a strangely beautiful farewell. Karlsson remains and is united with the angels of death.

Jukka Rintamäki’s minimalist, electronic sound world and the scenographer Jens Sethzman’s stripped aesthetic perfect Destruction Song II into an incomparably excellent interplay, where the whole seduces and all one wants is to remain seated and to be absorbed by the beauty and melancholy. It is alleged sometimes that it is difficult for the uninitiated to understand modern dance.

However, you do not need to understand Destruction Song II – just enjoy.