Feature: Nordic dance in the spotlight

Tuesday 16 September 2014 by Carmel Smith

Cullberg Ballet 'The Plateau Effect' Photo: Urban Jörén.

Northern Light is a celebration of Nordic dance, showcasing a range of artists from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway performing across Sadler’s Wells, the Lilian Baylis Studio and the Platform Theatre in Kings Cross, which opens this week and runs until 14 November.

“We felt like it was timely to put together companies from the Nordic region given that so much Scandinavian culture is so popular at the moment, including TV shows, thrillers, and of course design,” says Katy Arnander, Director of Artistic Programme at Sadler’s Wells. “There’s some great dance work coming from the region. Sweden in particular has had a very long tradition of ballet – in fact they have the fourth oldest ballet company in the world.” Whilst there might not be a defined ‘Nordic style’, “there are definitely some threads that I’ve observed that comes through the work,” says Arnander. “There’s a sense of individualism, it’s often quite abstract, possibly a little bit eccentric and it’s very close to the natural world –some of the pieces have quite strong threads running through them about nature and the environment. Another strong thread we’ve noticed is an interest in society, people working together for the common good.”

Eva Martinez, Artistic Progammer at Sadler’s Wells introduces two of the emerging artists who are presenting their work in the Northern Light season – Mette Ingvartsen (Denmark) who opens the season at the Platform Theatre on 18 September and Maija Hirvanen (Finland) who will be in the Lilian Baylis Studio on 10 & 11 October:

In an article for the Evening Standard, Lyndsey Winship talks to Dutch born, Sweden based choreographer Jefta van Dinther, who made Cullberg Ballet’s Plateau Effect , which features in the series and Maija Hirvanen. “In Finland we always say we’re on the edge of the map,” she says. Being part of a small population, speaking a minority language “puts you in a place where you always have to be quite curious as to what’s going on outside”.
Read more in the Evening Standard, September 2014

Northern Light full programme:

Cullberg Ballet ‘The Plateau Effect’ Photo: Urban Jörén.

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