OPIA – n. the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable–their pupils glittering, bottomless and opaque–as if you were peering through a hole in the door of a house, able to tell that there’s someone standing there, but unable to tell if you’re looking in or looking out.
Choreographer Johanna Nuutinen’s new creation OPIA dives eyes first into the ever present questions relating to looking, being looked at, how do we perceive form and how do we form meaning from what we see. No one person sees the meaning of a thing in the same way as the person next to them. We constantly fill in the missing information and construct filters that change the meaning of what we perceive. We all live within a personal illusion that we have constructed based on our previous experiences. How can we encounter each other and find ways to communicate when we literally can’t see eye to eye?
OPIA explores the world behind the gaze through virtuoso dance, surrealistic space design and captivating soundscape. The work takes the shape of a triptych of two solos and a duet that can be seen as separate works or as one whole.
Visualist Joonas Tikkanen is in charge of the mesmerising stage design which divides the stage in two sections. These spaces create a captivating rhythm for the work which is built out of three performative parts. In addition to Joonas Tikkanen and choreographer Johanna Nuutinen the artistic team includes Tuomas Norvio, a Säde award-winning sound designer based in Helsinki. Tuomas Norvio creates sound for the entire work in real time by mixing the audio tracks extracted from the performer’s speech. The sound in this work creates layers of interpretation and possibilities of meaning.
The costumes are designed by Erika Turunen. Known for her sculptural approach to designing for bodies in motion, she has worked extensively in opera, ballet and contemporary dance. Dramaturg Jarkko Lehmus will support the dramaturgical development of OPIA.
The performers Jenna Broas and Justus Pienmunne have been working actively on the Finnish and international dance scene since they graduated from the Theatre Academy in Helsinki. Jenna Broas has danced lately with Tero Saarinen Company and before becoming a freelancer Justus Pienmunne was a dancer at the Helsinki City Theatre. OPIA is a second collaboration with Johanna, Jenna and Justus.
Choreography and concept: Johanna Nuutinen
Performers: Jenna Broas, Justus Pienmunne
Music and sound design: Tuomas Norvio
Light-, set-, visual design and concept: Joonas Tikkanen
Dramaturgical support: Jarkko Lehmus
Costume design: Erika Turunen
Zodiak – Center for New Dance
Tero Saarinen Company (residency)
Teatermaskinen Riddarhyttan (residency)
Dance Base Edinburgh (residency)
Finnish Cultural Foundation
Arts Promotion Centre Finland
City of Helsinki
Samuel Huber Foundation
Dossier and technical rider available on request.