Morphed by Tero Saarinen Company (Finland)

Dates and Venue October 27 & 28, 2017, 8pm | Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton Street

Choreography Tero Saarinen Music Esa-Pekka Salonen Lighting and Set Design Mikki Kunttu Costume Design Teemu Muurimaki Sound Design Marco Melchior

Reviewer Nancie Ottem

DanceHouse opened its 10th season last night with Morphed, a powerful, tightly controlled yet very energetic exploration into the stereotypes of male dance. Choreographed by Tero Saarinen the founder of the Finnish Tero Saarinen Company, Morphed is a mesmerizing one hour piece that holds the audience in a trance like state.

From the opening haunting strains of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s music, Concert etude for solo horn, 2000, the seven male dancers take the audience on a journey. The dancers work within a minimalist set that provides surprising variety for innovation and interpretation. Morphed builds in tension throughout the course of the hour performance as the dancers break from very controlled movement towards free form expression. The engaging genius of the piece is that the audience must interpret the meaning of the movements and interactions of the 7 male dancers while coming to terms with expectations of male dance that are shifted with Saarinen’s choreography. Lighting and the use of heavy vertical rope on three sides of the set frame the intellectual dialogue that is inherent to the meaning Saarinen is exploring in Morphed.

Coupled with the lighting and set design, costume designer, Teemu Muurimaki’s pieces augment the dialogue that unfolds. Dancers use the clothing as a visual representation of expected strictures or as a visual release from cultural expectations. Esa-Pekka Salonen’s music, Concert etude for solo horn, 2000; Foreign Bodies 2001; Violin Concerto, 2009, wrap the hour in a mesmerizing flow. Morphed is performed by Ima Iduozee, Leo Kirjonen, Mikko Lampinen, Jarkko Lehmus, David Scarantino, Eero Vesterinen and Heikki Vienola.

© 2017 Nancie Ottem