Kvarnström On New Ground
In his new work YOUMAKEME, the choreographer Kenneth Kvarnström has started by interpreting through dance how we mirror ourselves through others. He plays with the dancers’ roles as dancers/actors and stretches the definition of what is dance. Can dance exist without music? Is dance without movement dance? Is dance by definition an interpretation of something else?
Five dancers, Kenneth Bruun Carlson, Sofia Karlsson, Kai Lähdesmäki, Janne-Marja-aho and Valtteri Raekallio saunter around and warm up on the stage in training clothes. The lights dim and we’re taken to an absurd, dreamy inner-world with two faceless dancers completely dressed in leotards with spiky pants and cylinder hats. The steps are typical of Kvarnström and represent the fantastic, expressive ’dance dance’ that has made him world-known: tensions and resolutions, an organisational and expressive language of movement and an ability to create magic on the stage.
The magic disappears; the dancers change costumes on stage and explain to the audience what we are going to see next: different interpretations of covers, including Feeling Good by Nina Simone and Gloomy Sunday by Billie Holiday. They include sequences of crazy humour, sensual sensitivity, normality and inner dream worlds, and follow a repetitive circle pattern.
The choreographer stretches the boundary between what is happening on stage and what is happening off stage. He lets the dancers pull masks on and off, shed skin to go, in the next moment, into the next role. At times they are themselves, at times they interpret roles.
A Pile of Jigsaw Pieces
Kvarnström has cut and pasted different pieces together, while leaving the taped joins as part of the collage. He wants to show the joins – the question is, will they hold. Perhaps the purpose is to demystify the dance but at the same time this involves breaking the rhythm and pulse in the performance and part of the magic disappears.
Kvarnström’s aim with the performance is to show the process behind what we see; the end product is not the goal. Kvarnström throws himself into unchartered grounds. Nevertheless, it seems he is not quite sure himself where he wants to go. He offers the audience a pile of jigsaw pieces, but leaves it to them to interpret and assemble the end product.
In the last scene, Kvarnström returns to his strong side and once again offers a powerful dance number, where the dance and interpretation themselves are sufficient to create magic. Remaining in the memory is the dancer Kenneth Bruun Carlson’s magnificent frog figure, an odd bird amongst the black four-hoofed feathered garb.
(Translation: Multiprint Oy / Multidoc)