Thursday, 27 March 2014

Dance Theatre Triumph

Thursday the 27th of March. The (new) day began (after having slept 5h) with a phone call at around 11 in the morning “Hey, you don’t seem to have transposed the clarinet part in Dagbok, have you?” Yep, right he was! So as quickly as possible I transposed the clarinet part and sent if off once again.

The best thing about this morning was that I THOUGHT I had to go to a pedagogic seminar, but then noticed I have done that course already, so I had all afternoon FREE! But I was so exhausted by yesterday’s achievements so I actually didn’t get much done the whole afternoon.

At 18.00 there was a meeting for the upcoming  Korvat Auki happening RRR!!! on the 17th of May in Helsinki. I will have my piece Loco for solo viola in that concert, together with a dance choreography made by my friend Liisa Oikkonen. But todays meeting was in Helsinki, so Liisa was attending it (live) while I only attended the first 40 min via skype.

I left the meeting (skype) early because I wanted to make it to the last performance of the dance theatre Triumph starting at 19.00, and running together with my cellist friend Bella we made it just on time. (Luckily everything in Tampere is close!)

Triumph is a wonderful piece of dance-drama, choreographed by Ari Numminen to the music of our teacher Jouni Kaipainen. In the production there are four dancers on stage and also a string quartet playing live all music, Kaipainens string quartets. The piece is very fascinating, touching, beautiful yet raw and provocative. Numminen held a seminar for us in November where he told that he was asked to make a choreography saluting “old” dancers going in pension. He told us that his choreography is much about the relationship between art and prostitution. What he means is that being an artist is about giving something very personal of your self to the audience, and the line between art and psychological prostitution is very fine.

I simply love Ari Numminens choreography, his way of using the dancers and his way of visual thinking! I found his choice of theme extremely interesting and moreover it is something my friend Matilda and I have been discussing a lot lately. For me the piece also was against gender rolls and about feminism, or let me say, against chauvinism. In general, it’s a performance that makes you think, which I kind of think is one of the most important things with art. “I think, therefore I am”.

The performance is also very raw. In the show there is one woman (danced by Elina Jakowleva), who doesn’t start bowing to the audience and refuses to go with the flow and please the audience. That annoys the other dancers, and the male figure (by Samuli Roininen) forces her to bow for the audience. Elina at once straightens up again. But he enjoys suppressing her and forces her to bow again, and again. The other two dancers (by Mari Rosendahl and Anniina Kumpuniemi) find it amusing and cheer Samuli on. Elina keeps straightening up after every time she has been forced to bow. Samuli changes position and stands behind Elina instead and pretends like if he was taking her from behind, suppressing her even more and the other two dancers jeer on. Then they force Elina to walk of stage with them. At the stairs they push her very harshly down the stairs so that she almost falls and breaks her nose. Then Samuli hits her and throws her out through a side door and you hear her fall down a flight of stairs while screaming. Other dancers continue smiling to the audience.

At this point I was crying, both times I saw the show. For me this is exactly what our society today is about. Society doesn’t like strong women, and sexual assault and suppression is used for humiliation and decreasing any higher status a woman has achieved. And then we have of course also general humiliation of women by sexual assault, like all the gang rape cases in the past years (in India and New Zealand etc). Even though I was crying during the show I was happy about the scene, happy about someone standing up and showing us, the audience, what is happening in the world. And I have to say; I was even happier that it was a male choreographer who stood up for us women. Because that is where the change begins; it’s not about us women having to “win” our selves our rights, society has to change so that everyone, both men and women, believe and understand that we all have the same rights.

Dance choreographer Ari Numminen after the show.
© Cecilia Damström

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