Modul-dance experience. By Helena Franzén

In 2011 I was privileged to be selected by modul-dance to create the performance Slipping Through My Fingers which premiered at Dansens Hus in Stockholm in September 2012.

In this project I deepened my collaboration with three dancers I have worked with for some years now; Katarina Eriksson, Moa Westerlund and Aleksandra Sende, but I also introduced a new dancer to the group; Elizaveta Penkova.

By my side was also Jukka Rintamäki, the composer I have worked closely together with for the last nine years. This time we were happy to invite Johan Skugge, a composer collaborating with Jukka. The duo performed live on stage, playing lap steel guitar and piano, combined with pre-recorded sound.

Being a modul-dance artist enabled me to – for the first time – work together with my dancers and musicians outside Sweden creating the piece. The possibility of making new contacts with other artists and of course meeting a new audience is very valuable and supported me to grow as a chorographer.

My collaborators in the different “modules” has so far been two residencies at deVIR/ CAPa in Faro, Duncan Dance Research Center and presentation at Dansens Hus, Stockholm and Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona.

In Faro we started off the creative process. It was a great experience to begin the work in a new surrounding. This week in March we somehow got the chance to meet each other from scratch, since we were all there together under the same circumstances. We became our own masters of our time and the space. We realized how important the atmosphere of the space is and how it affects the qualities of the movements: the quiet, grey light created a strong, contrast to the intense light on the outside. This was a source of inspiration for the light design that I passed on to my light designer, Markus Granqvist. The calm surrounding and the friendly atmosphere in Faro made our group tighter and made us work very concentrated. Jukka Rintamäki found some new sounds on his lap steel guitar and recorded some improvisations that we also used later in the piece, the sounds transformed during the process and got deconstructed and manipulated many times during the process.

In April I had a week of residency in Athens, at The Isadora & Raymond Duncan Dance Research Center. This time I went on my own. It was a very intense week and I had the time to rehearse the solo I created for myself that was a part of Slipping Through My Fingers. I also had the great opportunity to give two classes to professional dancers and got to meet some of the local dancers and choreographers. The last day of my stay I presented a part of the solo work and talked generally about my work in an open showing. It’s very important to continue the discussions about the working conditions in the dance field and how we can survive in the profession.

Dansens Hus in Stockholm was my partner of production and presentation and offered a very generous period in their rehearsal studio and also a longer time on stage, preparing for the premiere. Their support was genuine and important.

Slipping Through My Fingers opened in 28th September, and I was very happy to receive a very positive feedback from both the press and the audience at Dansens Hus.

In November we took part of the SÂLMON< festival at Mercat de les Flors in Barcelona. This was a great experience to us all. It was my first time to perform in the south of Europe and we got a very good feeling coming from the audience. My work is probably different from the work that is created outside Scandinavia in the sense that it’s visually strong and maybe more quiet in the expression. It would have been interesting to have a talk with the audience afterwards and actually discuss the work and listen to the reactions and raise even more thoughts about what is defining us as choreographers. Do we have some recognizable qualities because of our nationality that define us as artists? Do I belong to some Scandinavian tradition in my way of creating and in my aesthetic choices? All those questions actually have grown during my experience with modul-dance.

I’m very happy to hear that the collaboration within modul-dance continues also after the year has finished, that I am still a modul-dance artist and can continue to network and work on new contacts. One year is very short to develop a network and I’m looking forward to seeing all modul-dance people soon again!

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