Concept, direction and choreography
Creation and performance (alternating)
Raul Aranha, Simon Chatelain, Fanny Didelot, Milla Koistinen, Jin Lee, Elise Ludinard, Nitsan Margaliot, Angelo Petracca
Grégoire Simon, Paul Valikoski
Space and light
Sandra E. Blatterer
Birke Van Maartens
Dance House Helsinki
Szene Salzburg and apap – FEMINIST FUTURES, a project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union
Radialsystem and Tanzfabrik Berlin
NATIONALES PERFORMANCE NETZ Coproduction Fund for Dance, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Finnish Cultural Foundation and TelepART Mobility Support
In the new creation of Milla Koistinen audiences are invited to be in the space and observe the intrinsic choreography arising from the performers’ play with large brightly coloured objects. Created by visual artist Sandra E. Blatterer, the air-filled objects take on different shapes, meanings and associations as the performers explore their materiality, tactility and aural qualities.
With Magenta Haze Koistinen continues her exploration of crowd behavior, the individual within the collective, communal joy and ecstasy. Inspired by the idea that ecstasy is a state where we are taken outside of ourselves and transcend to an ‘elsewhere’ place, Magenta Haze invites the spectator to observe a choreography of subtle tipping points between distance and closeness, togetherness and estrangement; fragility and strength; group and individual.
Choreography by Milla Koistinen together with the performers, sound by composers Paul Valikoski and Grégoire Simon and space and light design by Sandra E. Blatterer.
The work is part of Dance House Helsinki’s SPARKS project. Supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, SPARKS is an artistic development project which is carried out in 2020–2023. The project will produce three premieres for both the Erkko Hall and Pannuhall.
INTERVIEW WITH CHOREOGRAPHER MILLA KOISTINEN
Synne Behrndt: Magenta Haze has been some time in development and was preceded by a solo around the same themes. Could you talk a bit about what inspired the piece and how you developed it?
Milla Koistinen: When I started to work on this new creation in early 2020 I had been intrigued by the themes of euphoria, ecstasy and collective joy, as well as the question of whether these were diminishing in our society. As collective gatherings were put on hold for quite some time and still perhaps aren’t the same, at least not for everyone, I delved into the first part of the research; a solo titled Breathe, which premiered in Tanz Im August in Berlin in the summer 2021. I was curious to study what a collective gathering or collective joy could entail at this moment or what had it been in the past. I landed on something more internal and reduced yet something which would be experienced at the same time in the same place and hopefully would trigger memories and sensations of collective joy. Minimalism and a search for something more private; internal yet shared, are very characteristic to my work in general.
SB: Breathe was an outdoor piece which was devised on a football field in Berlin, and your interaction with two air filled 'balloons' really shaped the choreography and piece. Was this a new challenge for you?
MK: Breathe was my first collaboration with Sandra E. Blatterer who created massive, air-filled fabrics for me to play with on the football field where the performance took place. It was a long journey to understand how to interact with the objects, what they were and how to relate to them. In the end it was a magnificent idea of Sandra’s to bring them on, as they became not only a landscape or a set but equal partners with whom to play. They were also tools with which to relate the physical sense of distance and closeness to the spectators.
SB: And the weather became an important factor when shaping the choreography, it was interesting to see how much the outdoor conditions would affect the piece. But you wanted to continue the exploration with the fabrics and proximity to the audience with Magenta Haze where you decided to turn the solo into an ensemble piece?
MK: It was clear to us that we would want to continue with a similar set in Magenta Haze even if we knew the fabrics would behave in a totally different manner in an indoor venue. In Magenta Haze we need to create more movement with a bigger cast of dancers since we don’t have the outdoor conditions to rely on. And this is what the dancers do; they play with the fabrics, they manipulate them and make them move in the big space without the audience tribune. Indoors we will have a closer intimacy with the audience since even if the space is big, it is not an outdoor football field. The solo and the group work share similarities yet they are two different pieces, which look at the themes from different angles. Crowd and individual are present in both, so is the absence of crowd but in Magenta Haze we now let go, surrender to the crowd and look for the joy of dancing together. The sense of melancholia, vulnerability and fragility, as well as being an observer in a crowd haven’t disappeared even if we do meet this time.
SB: The sound plays an important part in shaping the structure and dramaturgy of the piece, how would you describe the exchanges or conversations with the composers?
MK: With the composers Paul Valikoski and Grégoire Simon we had lengthy talks about colours of the tonality, how to build tension and open the space with the sound. We kept asking ourselves when the music might be too dark or too light and what kinds of associations it might provoke. The set up of the sound in the room is designed to embrace the spectators and possibly also encourage movement since the sound keeps traveling.
SB: And speaking of structure, it is left deliberately open enough for the performers to be able to improvise or respond to what happens in the room, and this includes the audience?
MK: With the performers we form an alternating cast of six to eight people so every performance is different. This has left openness to the score of the choreography even if the structure of the piece remains the same. The performers react to each other as they also react to the fabrics, which never make the same movement twice. I would like to think of Magenta Haze to be a soft invitation for the audience to join us on stage, to observe, to move and be part of the performance by occupying the room together with us and the fabric objects. The piece will be complete only when the audience is sharing the space with us and we are looking forward to seeing how the presence of the spectators will affect the performance and the sensation of a crowd.
SB: This sounds like an invitation for the audience to participate - or do what feels right to them. So the audience, just like the performers, have to make active decisions about how they want to experience the work?
MK: Yes, the audience can make their own decisions and we try to facilitate some choices in the room in a very gentle manner. As a spectator myself I am pretty shy and wish to have my space. Having that sensation in mind I try to create an environment where people don’t feel the need to do anything or that nothing is expected of them, yet if they feel safe to take our lead and follow us, they are welcome to do so. I am just curious what the audience as a crowd could do and how they might follow one another as it happened in Breathe almost unexpectedly.
Milla Koistinen is a Finnish choreographer based in Berlin. She has graduated from the Theatre Academy in Helsinki with MA in dance and from HZT Berlin with MA in choreography. She has worked among others with Kristian Smeds, Hiroaki Umeda, Peter Verhelst, Christine Gaigg and Cie Heddy Maalem. Since 2008 she tours her own work internationally and teaches in various contexts. In 2020-2024 Koistinen’s work is supported by apap – FEMINIST FUTURES – a project co-founded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union
Paul Valikoski studied violin at the Glenn Gould Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Since 2006 he lives and works in Berlin as an instrumentalist and composer. Interested in collaborative performance settings, Valikoski plays as a member of Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, and as a guest with Ensemble Resonanz in Hamburg. He has collaborated among others with Susanne Kennedy, Martin Eder, Sasha Waltz & Guests, FC Bergman, Sabrina Hölzer, Mouse on Mars and Georg Nussbaumer. Since 2017 he has worked closely together with Milla Koistinen as a sound designer.
Grégoire Simon lives and works between Berlin and Paris. He studied classical violin and viola in Paris National Conservatory (CNSMSP ) and in Berlin University of Arts (UdK). Besides his activities as an interpret he produces as Yes Soeur! together with Alexandre Bouvier electronic compositions for stage productions, in particular for contemporary dance with creations in Lyon National Opera, Marseille National Ballet, Tanzhaus NRW with compagnies such as Shonen, Alessandro Sciarroni, Cie2minimum, CieBurnOut / Jann Gallois among others.
Sandra E. Blatterer lives in Berlin, works throughout Europe. In her artistic praxis she connects a range of different methods from draft sketches to video mapping, installations and above all performances in context. Her multi-level works take their lead from different genres of media studies, music, photography, graphic design and interior architecture in order to extend the parameters of performance art.
Synne Behrndt is a dramaturg, researcher and currently Assistant Professor in Performing Arts at Stockholm University of the Arts. She is the co-writer of Dramaturgy and Performance (2008/2016) and co-editor of Palgrave's New Dramaturgies book series. She has worked with directors andcompanies in Denmark and the UK.
Fanny Didelot started dancing in Rennes conservatory while studying music. In 2011, after obtaining the diploma of dance department, she moved to Lille to pursue her training at the CCN Carolyn Carlson’s school for two years where she was attending the company classes and worked with choreographers such as Bertrand d’At and Nina Dipla. Since 2013 she followed the performance undergraduate program in Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD). Currently she is working with Christian Rizzo and Eric Minh Cuong Castaing.
Elise Ludinard was born in Brussels and graduated in 2018 from Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD). Ludinard joined the bodhi project company and worked among others with Lisi Estaras, Jose Agudo, Francesco Scavetta and Guy Nader and Maria Campos. Currently shedances with Himherandit Company, Marinette Dozeville, Milla Koistinen and collaborates with artist Rudyard Schmidt. She also performs and facilitates workshops regularly with the HOEK Collective.
Jin Lee was born in South Korea and works as a dancer and a choreographer. She received a diploma in dance from Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD) and a Bachelor of Dance from Dongduck Women's University. She has worked among others with Julyen Hamilton, Ceren Oran, Eulalia Ayguade Farro, Jasmine Ellis, Georges Maikel, Ingri Fiksdal, Heidi Weiss and Rotem Weissmann.
Angelo Petracca is an Italian Berlin based dancer- choreographer. He performed for Dino Verga, Antonello Tudisco, Fabrizio Favale, Matan Zamir, Leonard Engels, Milla Koistinen, Arno Schuitemaker, Ben J.Riepe, Przemek Kaminski. Petracca won DNAppuntiCoreografici and was selected for Vetrina AnticorpiXL and NAOcrea. He created a Performance Project for Tanzfabrik and teaches regular classes at Marameo and Tanzfabrik. In 2022 he is a recipient of the DaKu Fonds for Research.
Nitsan Margaliot is an Israeli Berlin-based choreographer, dancer and curator entangled with queer archives, fabulation, and impossible encounters. He danced in the Batsheva Ensemble and Vertigo Dance Company. He has worked with choreographers such as Laurent Chétouane, Maud Le Pladec, Kat Válastur, Aoife McAtamney, Moritz Majce, and Anne Collod. Nitsan holds an MFA from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. His work has been presented in festivals and venues in Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Israel, and the U.S. Simon Chatelain is a French performer based in Berlin. He graduated in dance performance at Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD) in 2022. Before becoming a dancer Chatelain studied circus and theatre for six years in a professionals school in France.
Simon Chatelain is a French performer based in Berlin. He graduated in dance performance at Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD) in 2022. Before becoming a dancer Chatelain studied circus and theatre for six years in a professionals school in France.
Raul Aranha was born in India and is now based in Europe. He started with breakdance growing up and moved on to study contemporary dance for two years in Bangalore, India before arriving to Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD) and graduating with a diploma in 2022. His interests lie in the mechanics of multiples things from the human body to music to cooking.
Jana Lüthje is curator of "Moving the Forum – our bodies – our positions – our dance", a dance project at Humboldt Forum combining physical research, critical discourse and performative practice. She works as dramaturge for the European Cultural Capital 2024 and as artistic producer for Thalia Theater, was the co-director of the Tanzbüro Berlin and led the information center of Performing Arts Programm Berlin. Since 2006 she has been working in the field of production management, distribution & public relations for contemporary dance and theater with artists and institutions – for Tanzfabrik Berlin/EU-project apap - advancing performing arts project, Milla Koistinen, WILHELM GROENER and Paula Rosolen/Haptic Hide as well as for the platform of the independent performing arts Berlin Diagonale. Distribution and Company Development for Antje Pfundtner in Gesellschaft.
Birke van Maartens studied classical music, followed by studies in arts and design at the ABKM Academy of Fine Arts Maastricht at the Dutch State University Hogeschool ZUYD. She then attended the Danceworks Academy for Contemporary Dance Berlin in Germany, from where she continued her studies in dance and choreography at Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD). Based in Berlin she is part of the dance collective CORPOREAL FLUMMOX and works as a choreographer and multidisciplinary artist. Since 2022 she is also working as cultural manager, and production manager for the choreographic center SQFARM. Fallbach Art Research Movement, SEAD Salzburg, and independent artists in the field of performative arts.