In Sessions choreographer-director Carl Knif begs the question of whether a performance setting can induce the same level of trust as that of a relationship of care. Could dance and performance be seen as a ritual with healing powers? The piece also dives into the connection between music with movement, something that Knif was already beginning to work on in the piece Fugue in Two Colours (2020).

The musical starting point of Sessions is Franz Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major. In addition to the relationship between music and movement, the performance also examines the relationship between the performers and the audience.

Sessions discusses the contemporary human in their longings, shortcomings, needs, fears and hopes. The performance addresses the encounter and the non-encounter, as well as the human and societal implications of these.

Ideas for the work arose from a range of both physical and cognitive treatment methods, as is also implied by the title: Sessions.

In which ways could a performance enhance the life of its spectator? Can moving into the space of a gaze be an empowering experience? And how could a performance find more vitality, how could it inch closer towards its audience? The performance assumes the form of a dreamlike wandering, where the stage is not reserved for the performer nor is the seating assigned only to the audience.

For the work Sessions, Carl Knif also returns to the roots of his own method: collaboration with dancers. Central elements in the piece are the interaction between dancers, kinetic communication, and kinetic empathy.

The performance format hosts both actors and dancers. Sessions is realised as a collaboration of three organisations: Carl Knif Company, Zodiak – Center for New Dance, and West Kowloon Cultural District.

The performance is partly participatory, but such parts are gentle, fully voluntary, and only a small part of the performance. There is no pressure on the audience to take part – you can enjoy the performance just as much whether you participate or not.

Choreography Carl Knif
Performers Jonna Aaltonen, Olli Lautiola, Riku Lehtopolku, Anne Pajunen, Anna Stenberg, Terhi Vaimala
Assistant choreographer Jonna Aaltonen
Costume design Karoliina Koiso-Kanttila
Set and lighting design Jukka Huitila
Sound design Janne Hast
Shoes Terhi Pölkki
Photos Yoshi Omori
Production Carl Knif Company and Zodiak – Center for New Dance
In collaboration with Freespace / West Kowloon Cultural District Hong Kong, Terhi Pölkki

The research and development of this work was supported by Freespace (West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong), Dance Info Finland, Zodiak, and Dance House Helsinki through the residency exchange project Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland (2016–2018).

Performances in Dance House Helsinki:
5.5.2022 at 19, premiere
6.5.2022 at 19
7.5.2022 at 15

Language: English
Duration: 1 h 15 min.

Yoshi Omori

”The improvised parts turn flexibly into a soft and beautiful choreography, and the solos likewise into a shared movement.”

– Merja Kellokoski, HS 6.5.2022

”The movement language is flowingly airy and free, but still perfected. Softness and sharpness alternate and intertwine, both in perfect balance. Things happen all the time, but there’s no sense of hurry or speed. Neither are there any empty moments. The performance’s structure and timing work perfectly.”

– Annikki Alku, Demokraatti 6.5.2022

“The dance language is down-to-earth and stable with impulsive outbreaks and clear poses in an unconstrained whole. — The interaction is welcoming and thoughtful throughout the performance, meant to create trust. As a whole, the well-thought out performance is even like play – or a play situation whose rules one can easily understand and feel safe in.”

– Jan-Peter Kaiku, HBL 6.5.2022

See also

Carl Knif’s choreography on the Main Stage of Svenska Teatern

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At Once, in Helsinki at OuDance Festival and Factory festival Manifest

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Carl Knif Company’s Sessions premieres on 5th May 2022 at Tanssin talo

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