Arvio: (play)

Mirjami Pullinen – – 20111124

(play) is a play on the noble and the humble

The impressive work of modern dance met all expectations.

I had the pleasure of being a fly on the wall when the modern dance work (play) was being created this fall. Namely the work, created by Kenneth Kvarnström and performed by the Helsinki Dance Company, took fashion to places where it is rarely seen: the costumes were made by three talented fashion designers. Esteemed Swedish fashion designers Martin Bergström and Helena Hörstedt created costumes for some scenes and the go-to designer of Finnish opera, modern dance and ballet, Erika Turunen for some scenes. 24. The opening night on November 24th showed what rehearsals full of laughter, tomato red fabric, and black masks can create.
And create they did.

The hour and a half extravaganza left the spectator with a pleasant buzz. The work had fitting surroundings on the large stage of the Helsinki City Theatre. (play) was comprised of parts differing in mood, of which the first saw an exercise of warming up with sweatpants aflutter. In the second part, Swedish dancer Cilla Olsen performed a strong, animalistic solo struggling on a black wool rug. Hörstedt’s black costume emphasized the stark mood in the scene elegantly. Later Bergström’s professional army of red suits took the stage. Their faces covered with masks conflicted intensely with Bach’s merry music. Turunen’s glowing, silky costumes followed the carousel-like movement beautifully and complemented the work, as well. In this scene in particular, the union of movement and costume seemed to rise to new heights: the choreographer respected the fabric and gave it life very elegantly.

Even though (play) is naturally a show of strength in dance, it also demonstrates that modern dance does not have to be too serious. The audience chuckled as the dancers commented on their own performances between scenes, gave a little song, or teased each other about who really is doing all the work in the performance. Choreographer Kvarnström is also a master of switching tempo: just as the audience was sinking into solemn, deep moods, it was awakened by a tongue-in-cheek cavalcade of kilts and naked skin. The humour in the final scene was welcome, as it balanced the more tragic moods in the work.

(Translation: Multiprint Oy / Multidoc)