Off/Balance: “Crystal pieces: human beings” – Interview / Off/Balance: “Crystal pieces: human beings”- Intervista

“We were curious to try a different approach,

so the crowd could also involve in the movement.

It´s a lot about us three

but also about everyone who comes in the space.”

(Mikko Hyvönen)

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On the 29th November, we had the great opportunity to assist in the contemporary dance performance “Crystal pieces: human beings” by the Finnish Off/Balance dance company in the art gallery Helsinki Contemporary. The choreographer and performer Mikko Hyvönen with Terhi Kuokkanen and Jaakko Nieminen made a show surrounded by the paintings of Heidi Lampenius, current exhibited in the gallery. The public was free to move and walk; the experience was absorbing and profound, since “we spectators” were involved in the show itself. After the performance, we had the chance to interview the dancers and to understand better their work.

 

On the 29th November, we had the great opportunity to assist in the contemporary dance performance “Crystal pieces: human beings” by the Finnish Off/Balance dance company in the art gallery Helsinki Contemporary. The choreographer and performer Mikko Hyvönen with Terhi Kuokkanen and Jaakko Nieminen made a show surrounded by the paintings of Heidi Lampenius, current exhibited in the gallery. The public was free to move and walk; the experience was absorbing and profound, since “we spectators” were involved in the show itself. After the performance, we had the chance to interview the dancers and to understand better their work.

 

On the 29th November, we had the great opportunity to assist in the contemporary dance performance “Crystal pieces: human beings” by the Finnish Off/Balance dance company in the art gallery Helsinki Contemporary. The choreographer and performer Mikko Hyvönen with Terhi Kuokkanen and Jaakko Nieminen made a show surrounded by the paintings of Heidi Lampenius, current exhibited in the gallery. The public was free to move and walk; the experience was absorbing and profound, since “we spectators” were involved in the show itself. After the performance, we had the chance to interview the dancers and to understand better their work.

 

On the 29th November, we had the great opportunity to assist in the contemporary dance performance “Crystal pieces: human beings” by the Finnish Off/Balance dance company in the art gallery Helsinki Contemporary. The choreographer and performer Mikko Hyvönen with Terhi Kuokkanen and Jaakko Nieminen made a show surrounded by the paintings of Heidi Lampenius, current exhibited in the gallery. The public was free to move and walk; the experience was absorbing and profound, since “we spectators” were involved in the show itself. After the performance, we had the chance to interview the dancers and to understand better their work.

Is this choreography made for this space or it has been adapted to other spaces?

Mikko: We performed in Museum in Jyväskylä first, and then this is the second place that we showed it. We would like to do it in Museum and Galleries. It could also be in some other spaces, for example, some area outside and other unconventional spaces beyond the theater where the audience is sitting in front of the stage. I want to break up the fourth wall to let the audience be with us during the performance.

SONY DSCAt the beginning of the performance, you three allocated yourselves at three separate spots, and the audience can´t see all the performers at the same time. Was it on purpose?

Mikko: It was designed for today’s venue only; in Jyvaskyla, we had a bigger space so the audience can see all of us. We were curious to try a different approach, so the crowd could also involve in the movement. It´s a lot about us three but also about everyone who comes in the space. I´m interested in the perspective when YOU (the audience) come there, how you start to change, because you are free to make decisions, to stay or go, and we are affected in some ways. It´s a lot about how the audience reacts.

You had many performances related to this work, and in public, they were people who know you and who don´t. When you get closer and interact with them, how the strangers react to you? Have you noticed some differences?

Jaakko:  With the people we know, there is no kind of hesitation about what is going to happen. But with people that don´t know who we are, the first contact is always from us which makes the interaction seems secure and safe enough. The connection warms up the stranger, so their fear goes away which then opens up a spectrum of different ways of engagements. When the participants are secure enough, we would recognize a sign that expressing “ok this is going to be fine.” Soon after we see the sign,  we can even “press” or “twist” the person (‘s wrist/arm) a bit. With body language, we express that” I might touch you, and nothing bad is going to happen. ”

At the beginning, you three were in different spots with different movements something like meditations. Is that connotes to some spirituality-searching things?

Mikko: I’m not intended to make us seeking spirituality like monks. We perform these practices for its health benefits. We need this preparation often before the performance, but we just did it in the show as a part of the play.

So, it´s a sort of warmup?

Mikko: In a way, yeah, but not only that. It’s also about concentration.  Repetitive movement brings us into a different state (i.e a mood for performance).  In the beginning, time and space naturally cast the impact on the audience, they interpreted the meaning of the context, even if we didn’t move so much.

SONY DSCIs that the reason why you select gallery as performance spaces? Is that somehow related to the topic that you want to express?

Mikko: It´s a little bit by chance as well, but we always want to perform in a space that allows the audience to move with us. We want spaces that provoke concentration. So we haven’t make the show on the street, at least for now. Additionally,  a Gallery is also an art space, so it frames our movement in the context of art expressions.

Was the costumes somehow designed?

Terhi: We didn´t have costume designers. Mikko asked us to bring some grey, white and black clothes.

Mikko: There are some ideas behind it. It´s not super deep. Partly I want to make quite a dark situation, a little bit like dusk. There could be some connotation of the shaman symbols – like we came from a tribe – and animal symbols. I didn´t want the costumes too shaman alike, you know. It should create that feeling with to-date clothes.

At some points, there were some animal elements in your movements…

Mikko: We didn´t mean to imitate any particular animal, we were just working a lot with our spines.

Jaakko: Our movement could give hints to the audience that we were acting like animals. Apparently, in these moves, we outthink the superficial reflection and they most on. A lot of animals often have a sturdy spine, and therefore, our spine movements can remind people something animal alike.

Why Spine particularly?

Mikko: I have a lot of interests towards the spine. One choreographer from the States, Steve Packston, has created a genre called “Material from the spine”. I was in his workshop once. Additionally, I just think the spine is of great importance because it connects every body parts.

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What are the key things that you want to experiment and what is the key scene that you want to express?

Mikko: Human Connection between people. I´m not necessary keen of expressing something but more asking questions and experimenting. I want to leave freedom of my movements because there are always different people and different reaction.

Article: Gloria De Felice – gloria@nur.fi

Interview: Jiakun Wang

Photos: Gloria De Felice

Helsinki Contemporary: https://helsinkicontemporary.com/

Off/Balance Dance Company: http://www.offbalance.fi/


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Il giorno 29 novembre, abbiamo avuto l´opportunità di assistere alla performance di danza contemporanea “Crystal Pièce: Human Being” della compagnia finlandese “Off/Balance”. Essa ha avuto sede nella galleria d´arte Helsinki Contemperary nel centro storico della capitale finlandese. Il ballerino e coreografo Mikko Hyvönen, insieme a Terhi Kuokkanen e Jaakko Nieminen si sono esibiti circondati dai dipinti di Heidi Lampenius, appesi alle pareti della galleria.  Il pubblico era libero di muoversi e di camminare durante lo show; l´esperienza é stata intensa e profonda in quanto noi spettatori eravamo coinvolti direttamente nello spettacolo stesso. A fine performance, abbiamo avuto l´occasione di intervistare I ballerini e di approfondire insieme il loro lavoro.

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Questa coreografia è stata pensata per questo spazio o è stata adattata in altri spazi?

Mikko: Precedentemente, ci siamo esibiti al museo di Jyväskylä, questo è il secondo luogo il cui mostriamo questa coreografia. Ci piacerebbe portarla specialmente nei Musei e nelle gallerie. Potrebbe funzionare anche in altri spazi, ma non in quelli come un teatro poiché il pubblico è seduto di fronte al palco. Vogliamo, infatti, “rompere quella barriera tra pubblico e artista” e invitarlo al  nostro spettacolo.

All´inizio dello spettacolo, voi tre eravate posizionati In 3 spazi diversi e il pubblico non poteva vedervi nello stesso istante. È stato pensato apposta?

Mikko: È stato scelto  per lo spazio di oggi soltanto; a Jyvaskyla, avevamo una sala più grande e il pubblico poteva vederci nello stesso instante. Siamo curiosi di provare approcci diversi, in modo che lo spettatore possa essere coinvolto nel movimento, cosa altrettanto importante per lo show. Sono infatti interessato nella percezione di quando “tu audience arrivi in scena”, come “tu inizi a cambiare”, in quanto “libero di scegliere, di stare o di andartene” e noi siamo condizionati in qualche modo alla tua scelta. Infatti, la reazione del pubblico è fondamentale.

 Avete fatto molte performances relative a questo tipo di lavoro e al suo rapporto con il pubblico con persone che vi conoscono e che non vi conoscono. Quando vi avvicinate e interagite con loro, come reagiscono a voi le persone che non sanno chi siete? Avete notato alcune differenze? 

Jaakko: Con le persone che conosciamo, non c´è nessuna esitazione su cosa accadrà da parte loro. Ma con le persone che non conosciamo, il primo contatto inizia sempre da noi, quel contatto che rivela sicurezza e fiducia,  che scalda il non conoscente. Quando i partecipanti sono abbastanza sicuri, possiamo riconoscere un segnale di “ok, andrà tutto bene”. Infatti dopo quel segnale, possiamo toccare o muovere un po’ quella persona. Attraverso il linguaggio del corpo, noi esprimiamo il  “potremmo toccarvi e non accadrà niente di brutto”.

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All´inizio, voi 3 eravate posizionati in luoghi diversi facendo movimenti diversi, sembrava quasi voi stesse meditando. Per caso è connesso ad una ricerca spirituale?

Mikko: Non intendevamo ricercare la spiritualità come se fossimo monaci. Noi ci esibiamo in queste parti per i loro benefici. Inoltre, abbiamo bisogno di questo riscaldamento prima dello spettacolo e ci si è sembrato opportuno aggiungerlo come parte della performance.

Quindi è una sorta di riscaldamento?

Mikko: Sì, circa, ma non è soltanto quello. È anche concentrazione, movimenti ripetitivi che ci trasportano dentro a una condizione diversa.

I costumi erano in qualche modo stati progettati?

Terhi: Non avevamo costume designers. Mikko ci ha chiesto di portare dei vestiti di colore grigio, bianco e nero.

Mikko: Ci sono alcune idee dietro la scelta, ma non sono molto profonde. Da una parte, volevo creare una situazione abbastanza tetra, ma anche fosca. Ci potrebbero essere connotazioni con simboli sciamani e animali. Ma non voglio costumi che siano troppo sciamani; dev´esserci quella sensazione con vestiti odierni.

Infatti, ad un certo punto c´erano alcuni elementi animali…

Mikko: Non avevamo intenzione di imitare nessun animale in particolare, stavamo soltanto lavorando molto con la spina dorsale.

SONY DSCPerché la spina dorsale in particolare?

Mikko: Ho un grande interesse per la spina dorsale. Un coreografo statunitense, Steve Packston, ha creato un genere chiamato “Materiale relativo alla spina dorsale”. Sono stato ad un suo workshop. In aggiunta, ritengo che questa parte corporea sia di grande importanza perché è connessa con ogni parte del corpo.

Quali sono gli elementi chiave che volevate esprimere e qual è la scena chiave che volete esprimere?

Mikko: Vogliamo esprimere la relazione umana tra le persone. Non c´è necessariamente un´idea di esprimere qualcosa di più, di domandare e di sperimentare. Io voglio lasciare libertà nei miei movimenti perché ci sono sempre persone e reazioni diverse.

 

 

Articolo: Gloria De Felice – gloria@nur.fi

Intervista: Jiakun Wang

Fotografia: Gloria De Felice

Helsinki Contemporary: https://helsinkicontemporary.com/

Off/Balance Dance Company: http://www.offbalance.fi/

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