"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

sunnuntai 15. elokuuta 2010

Greetings from the Shanghai Expo part 4

Photos: Samuli Roininen, Copyrights: Moomin Characters Ltd

Hallo again.

Beeing now back in Tampere the whole Expo week seems like an awfully big adventure. I am still a bit in doubt whether it actually happend or not. - Well, there happend alot. My reporting here is more of a diary put together afterwards. Fragmented and without a proper cronological order. A bit like Expo itself.

Looking back into the fotos here above I would reckon we managed to fit well into this carefully-thought picture of Finnish high-tech, culture and design. Making images and appearances seems to be an important task when it comes both to selling products or making people to come to see your show. - Or when trying to describe what beeing Finnish is all about. All those nationalities showing off. Showing off their best. I realized once more how the Moomin phenomenon has become one of the few truly big Finnish brands also known oversees. And how differently it all started.

Walking around the well-air-conditioned Finnish pavilion (for it actually forms a circle)Kirnu made me asking myself whether an actual dance performance could be seen as a designed object as is a well-known Finnish rocking chair. - I thought about the rocking chair and dance: If the idea of chairs success comes from fact that we see it everywhere (and in many different colours) how much of a 'value' of a choreography is coming from its repetition. Is a single performance less valuable than a piece that sells hunderds? Can you build a strong brand without a repetition? A 'successful'choreographer has to create repetitiosly pieces that reclaim their promise. So then eventually, if it works, a strong brand becomes a promise of high quality, what ever that means in arts.

Naturally, a well designed choreography differs from a well-designed rockings chair in many ways. The most relevant difference might be the fact that we cannot own a performance the way we can own a chair. Though, we seem to enjoy sitting in a rocking chair a bit same way than we enjoy a dance performance. We experience it. How it moves. It involves us.

But back to the original question of making brands and products. It's clear that a true value in dance has to be elsewhere, not in its repetition. But could we learn something about commercial image building and marketing? Would we eventually know how to apply it into dance without loosing its 'artistic integrity'(and why does this sound so easily a bit phony?) Would 'better' marketing make dance easier approachable? Or just better dance? Better dancers? Better audience? And better how? That's a bit of a downer.

To sum it up I admit that Moomins meeting contemporary dance might be here a bit of an extreme example. And an Expo World Exhibition an extreme environment.

But there could be also a lesson to be learned in there.

Samuli Roininen, Choreographer, Dance Theatre MD
from the Shanghai World Exhibition 2010

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