Classical Beauty by LOCATION X / Taneli Törmä Photo: Jan Vesala

I was one of the lucky ten that were selected for the Springback Academy at Spring Forward Festival 2017. From 28th till 30th of April we saw 20 performances plus a film at the festival in Aarhus, Denmark. We ate, drank, discussed and danced together. Each one of us wrote three reviews and in doing, were mentored by professional dance critics. Below I’ve included my reviews, but you can find the work of my badass colleagues here.

Classical Beauty
by LOCATION X / Taneli Törmä  / April 28

A burly, beardy man stands centre stage, surrounded by a circle of light. He starts running in place, showing us the muscle tension in his bare legs while sweat seeps through his neat, lilac shirt. During the action his blissful smile reveals exaltation; he’s aiming for something to fulfil his longing.

Halfway through the spotlight is replaced by a follow spot, the initial hallucinatory soundscape by Tchaikovsky and his running by ballet steps. Although Taneli Törmä is trained as a classical dancer, his movements are inept. The charm lies in the attempt. This is emphasized by the unexpected appearance of eighteen young girls (unfortunately no boys) that generously support him with youthful dedication. Although it verges on becoming a ballet parody, Classical Beauty is a genuine endeavour to make dreams come true. If you’re longing to be a soloist, create you own corps de ballet.

The Rest is Silence
by Hege Haagenrud  / April 29

When you’re fat and therefore ugly, you’re not entitled to compassion. You’re a natural prey for hunters on the look out to punch and whip you. The woman telling us this is always the voice in her work with other performing artists, and never a body on stage – and neither is she now. Here she is an audio score supported by Hege Haagenrud’s four dancers, dressed in stylish woollen costumes that nevertheless render their appearance chubbier. While the voice-over artist is denied a body, the dancers are denied any say. Although the quartet performs with smooth precision, especially in moments where they sculpturally converge in touchingly fluffy lumps, the audio overpowers the choreography. As the narrative unravels into a traumatic biography, the political aspect concerning the collective ownership of women’s bodies fades away. In impact, as well as in the eloquence of the actual bodies onstage, the maximum potential of this performance isn’t reached.

Vocazione all’Asimmetria
by Francesca Foscarini / April 30

Francesca Foscarini and Andrea Costanzo Martini instruct us in a simple game that makes us accomplices in the work: at the word ‘dark’ we are to close our eyes and when we hear ‘light’ open them again. You listen better with your eyes closed, as the soft sounds of their bodies define the space. In the search for togetherness they respond to each other’s movements, shifting through all corners of the space and connecting with their eyes. Sometimes a light smile flickers through. They come close to the audience, staring at and even almost touching those of us in the first row. Then they drift away again. You’re swept along on an engaging journey culminating in a wild improvisation session that ends with sudden darkness and silence. The lights come back on and we’re left with an empty space, an echo of the gentle yet energetic intimacy we experienced.