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Arvio: Destruction Song II

Örjan Abrahamsson – Dagens Nyheter – 25.11.2008

Destruction Song at Black Box, NorrlandsOperan, Umeå.

Moments of pure happiness. Destruction Song at NorrlandsOperan is well grinded from the start to the end. Örjan Abrahamsson realizes that swedish dance needs Kenneth Kvarnström’s passion and sensuality.

In the darkness you hear four feet marching, on their way to the stage. Soon the marching is drowned by a howling, pure alarm from hell, that could make Dante invent a tenth circle. In the cold light, against a black backdrop, on a floor filled with black ash, two threatening, nightmary figures appear completely covered in black. Only the hands show the skin, that flashes naked human skin in the overall blackness, when Destruction Song had it’s premiere at NorralndsOperan’s (properly black) Black Box.

Accordingly death, purgatory and futuristical dystopian when Kenneth Kvarnström returns to the dance? After a choreography break of five years, hardly any vacation as he was the boss of the House of Dance 2004-08.

As introduction the new work for three dancers seems to be in contrast to the more soft choreographies made in the beginning of 2000. But soon long before the first howling 25 minutes are ending (puh!), the bits and pieces are falling in their places. You recognize yourself. You recognize Kvarnström’s physicalty, playfullness, often humorous movement vocabulary, often spiced up with returning funny gestures like fingers flickering like butterflies. This makes the beginning threat change into the fascinating, nice and familiar. The futuristic, nightmare like warriors remind soon of cartooned superheroes.

Destruction Song (that will be danced in Stockholm in March) is a logical, consequent, very beautiful continuation of an artistic career. Kvarnström is one of the most finest, sensuous and in addition to that one of the more audienceoriented craftsmen of dancedance.

Destruction Song consists of four demarcated parts, where the first and the third parts incarnate the violently brutal, while the second and the fourth parts slow down the tempo (and the soundscape!) and also humanize the bodies. There are three dancers on stage: Cilla Olsen, a kvarnströmdancer since the nineties and the two new dancers Sofia Karlsson and Janne Marja-aho. That proves to be, not only technically with strong stagepresence and charisma, but also surprisingly tightly a la Kvarnström. I guess the veteran Cilla Olsen has brought forward a lot of physical intelligence. It’s funny, touchingly beautifully to watch all three one by one, but most of all, all three together.

The performance is all the way through well grinded in every aspect. The light and setdesign by Jens Sethzman, is tuned in smartly with the choreography, and here and there motivates its own space (when the black backdrop is lifted and white light blinds the audience). Helena Hörsted’s costumes are delicious, but tend to disappear in all the blackness… Last but not least Jukka Rintamäki proves that he is the sharpest dancecomposer of today. Smart, sensitive, sometimes very loud, he travels inbetween hardrockoriented popularmusic and harcore-electronica.

Destruction Song is not a testimony of a new artistic orientation, but more about a newfound freedom, curiosity and vitality. In Umeå I realize what swedish dance has been missing without Kenneth Kvarnström: passion and sensuality. That kind of happiness you can find for a short while in the body, when the dance goes on or when you are making love.