Woman in white shirt and red trousers, arms outstretched and face lifted. Behind her, blurry figures of other dances in multicoloured costumes, and behind them the figures of a baroque orchestra


Marianna Henriksson & Anna Mustonen: Eros

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Attempts to reach out… Eros by Marianna Henriksson and Anna Mustonen. Photo © Sinem Kayacan
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A singers, dancers and orchestra reach out in a meditation on the unreachability of desire

What is incessant in desire? This quest is the starting point of Eros, a collaboration by musician Marianna Henriksson and choreographer Anna Mustonen produced by Helsinki’s Zodiak – Centre for New Dance. Five dancers, five singers and eight musicians step into the scene to intersect their practices to explore the Greek concept of eros as unreachable touch. This premise leads the first part of the piece with a frustrating task: the dancers stretch their heavy arms, attempting – but constantly failing – to reach something.

As members of the Finnish Baroque Orchestra prepare to play the next piece, singers and dancers align and wait for a synchronised restart. The lifeless, weighty gestures are now replaced by baroque’s ample pas de bourrée, pivots and skips. A white-shirted figure invades the scene with frenetic turns and hip movements. Is it the image of Isadora Duncan, fluctuating through space and time? It becomes impossible to understand who is who: singers dance, and dancers lie motionless. They roll towards each other in post-blissful pose until touch finally occurs. Soft face fondles, two hands held, standing bodies hugging each other – climax is not the goal here, but rather a journey of reaching, exploring and continuing.

The ongoing lullaby of tenors and sopranos is only interrupted when the performers carry around the organ, violins, dulcian and lute, a readjustment as smooth as the piece itself. Suddenly, something else happens: an intimate duo illuminated by foggy blue and orange lights. Performers contemplate in quietude the smooth transition between solos and duets. Only the melody shapes the trajectory of these two figures longing to meet each other. A vocal soloist faces the audience while lanterns awaken the audience with a whitish projection to the seating area. As the fadeout empties the space, only the sound of a lute remains. It takes a while before the applause starts, in the desire not to lose the meditative dimension of what was there before us, but is no longer present.

The bottom line: Singers, dancers and baroque musicians merge on stage to explore the desire of touch
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Zodiak - Centre for New Dance, Helsinki, Finland
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Assembling and concept: Marianna Henriksson, Anna Mustonen
Choreography: Anna Mustonen
Musical director, harpsichord & organ: Marianna Henriksson
Performers (dancers): Hanna Ahti, Mikko Hyvönen, Anna Kupari, Pie Kär, Eleni Pierides,
Performers (song): Tuuli Lindeberg, Sirkku Rintamäki, Teppo Lampela, Juho Punkeri, Jussi Lehtipuu
Finnish Baroque Orchestra: Anne Pekkala, Hannu Vasara, Hanna Pakkala, Louna Hosia, Anna Rinta-Rahko, Jani Sunnarborg, Eero Palviainen
Dramaturge: Masi Tiitta
Costume design: Piia Rinne
Lighting design: Heikki Paasonen
Sound design: Timo Kurkikangas
Producer: Riikka Thitz / i dolci

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