Contemporary Arts Producer
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Veli Lehtovaara: Conversations

Veli Lehtovaara: Conversations

Photo: Clara Hermans

Photo: Clara Hermans


Living is a form of movement – from seaweed to birds, from trees to snakes, and from bacteria to human beings.

In Veli Lehtovaara’s new work, Conversations, three dancers converse through movement with other forms of nature, their contemporaries, their ancestors, each other, and the audience. The register of the group conversation oscillates between what’s logical and poetic, what’s philosophical and practical, and what’s imaginary and actual.

This is a dance of gradual transformation. The passage of steps and thoughts unfolds in circles and waves. It is a performance of letting go of that which will not stay without a holding: Falling, drifting, floating, and flying, singing within and dancing without, breathing and walking together, it is a conversation with three distinct voices that entangle as they form circular paths in time. A dance where words become what they once were - trees, stars, and substance of primeval environments - writing turns back to traces of movement.

The choreography incorporates forms from the natural development and evolution of things, cyclical change, and the ebb and flow of objects or events from different environments and living systems. Breathing, seeing, walking, and conversing are the basic materials for the choreography, and human complexity is countered by this simplicity.

How does the passage of energy and information appear as thoughts between transforming and transformed bodies in a dance? What is waiting, in thinking, while dancing? How can we see dancing as the movement of nature and choreography as a natural phenomenon? What happens when the mind falls to where the heart is?

The performance combines choreographic, philosophical, and visual forms of thinking. It gives attention to what unites human beings with other living beings in different stages and scales of life especially from the perspective of corporeality, perception and movement. Becoming a member of choreography is an event of belonging.

The visual scenography of the performance is created by Eija-Liisa Ahtila. The moving images intend to create signs of the presence of a place and suggest a region for the dance to take place. Together with the moving image, the light design by Luc Schaltinin, and the sound design by Jani Hietanen form an audiovisual entity, which comprehends the dance.

The work is inspired by a text of Martin Heidegger’s written in 1944-45: A Triadic Conversation on a Country Path between a Scientist, a Scholar and a Guide. The text is a philosophical and poetic contemplation on the relation between human beings, nature, and technology.


Choreography: Veli Lehtovaara, in collaboration with the performers Performers: Mikko Hyvönen, Veli Lehtovaara, Elisaveta Penkova
Lighting design: Luc Schaltin
Sound design: Jani Hietanen
Moving image: Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Costume design: Heide Vanderieck
Cinematography: Arto Kaivanto
Editing: Heikki Kotsalo
Dramaturgical assistance: Merel Heering
Assisting dancer: Kevin Fay
Producer: Riikka Thitz
Production Intern: Riina Laine

Production: Zodiak – Center for New Dance, Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, SpaceTimeLove
Residencies: Zodiak – Center for New Dance, Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, STUK – House for Dance, Image and Sound, Kunstencentrum BUDA, Château de Monthelon, wpZimmer

Photos: Clara Hermans

Premiere: 22.2.2018 in Zodiak - Center for New Dance, Helsinki