"The multimedia dance play adapts Tove Jansson’s The Tales from the Moominvalley. The Finnish classic is given a family friendly contemporary dance makeover and won a Shanghai EXPO 2010 Culture Award." thatsmags.com

maanantai 26. huhtikuuta 2010

Letters Part 1: Dear Leona

Kuva: Ari Ijäs, ©Moomin Characters™

Hallo everybody!

About the importance of corresponding.

Thus, this is about the e-mail I send to Leona Wisoker, an author of a recently published novel, "Secrets of the Sands".


I read Leonas book review on Toves "Tales from Moominvalley", the new English translation of it (Tove Jansson, Tales from Moominvalley, Sunburst, 1995), and were so charmed by her lanquage and its astounding warmth that I wanted to share some of these thoughts came up in these recent months while making the Dancing Moominvalley.

This is more or less what I wrote.

Dear Leona Wisoker,

Warm greetings from Finland.

My name is Samuli Roininen, and I write this e-mail from far away north, after reading some your outstandingly perceptive, yet touching, and humorous book reviews on Tove Janssons books. I was very taken by your way of saying how much these books have personally ment to you.

I work as a choreographer here in Finland with the company called Dance Theatre MD. We have just recently premiered a contemporary dance adaptation based on Toves Tales from Moominvalley. And we are thrilled about it.

As a writer You might be at first shocked by the very idea of turning Toves extraordinary beautiful tales into the contemporary dance theatre.
But I resure You we have managed, I trust, to bring up something very profound and relevant at Toves work. The very fysicality of these characters. The way they move. The dances they dance. The individual body languages. This all has been an enormous adventure and a great pleasure for the whole Dancing Moominvalley team. Eventually we found out that Moomins are quite excellent and versatile dancers.

The project, being rather colossal, for such a small company, took us some two to three years, and is also a part of the project "Dancing Moominvalley, Shanghai Expo Moomin Cluster" featured in the Finnish cultural program at EXPO 2010.

We also visited the U.S.A with the serie of conserts called "Musical Landscapes from Moominvalley". You might quess what happened when Snufkin played his harmonica and his best friend Moomintroll played the double bass in Washington DC. That was a great fun.

You wrote a review on Tales from Moominvalley for the Greenman for years ago. I quote:

"I am profoundly grateful to my cousin for (reluctantly) allowing me to kidnap the book years ago. I believe there was a promise made, somewhere along the line, that I would return it. Liz, if you're reading this review, and you really want your book back.... well..."

..I'll buy you another copy. I've grown rather attached to this one."

(Leona Wisoker, Green Man Review)

I loved that. Books are bound to get very valuable to us, aren't they.

And already earlier in another review you had writen:

"The artwork shows Fillyjonk, a beloved character to anyone who has read Tales from Moominvalley, running along the dock towards the Moomin's boathouse, looking back fearfully over her shoulder, while Snufkin (instantly recognizable by hat and perpetual pipe) sits in the foreground, talking to a young boy we've never met before.

The grass Snufkin and his friend sit on is sketched in with browns and greens, allowing the bluish, textured watercolor paper to set the edge lines. A single large orange-gold leaf is falling just past Fillyjonk's frightened nose.

It's a very simple but evocative cover; you get the feeling immediately that it's late fall, that there's something to be afraid of if you're easily scared (like Fillyjonk) but that everything is just fine if you're a calm type of person to begin with (like Snufkin)."

"Perhaps one day I shall learn to read Finnish after all. . . "

What I wanted to ask You here, plumbly and shortly, is, whether I was allowed to quote your reviews with a view lines in our blog following the journey of Dancing Moominvalley.

I would appreciate it alot.

The Moomins spin into the world of modern dance. They have spinned themselves into the hearts of several genaration of people, and they keep doing that.

I would be delighted hearing your comments on this. And furthermore, are you still having your precious moomin books with you?

Are you still interested in learning Finnish? That could be arranged.

And congratulation for the recent book launch. I would love to read it.

Sincerely Yours,

Samuli Roininen
Dancer-Choreographer, Dance Theatre MD, Finland

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