OPIA (2021)

How do environmental stimuli guide our gaze and spatial orientation?  In what ways do we exercise power through the gaze? Why do we build meanings through our gaze where there previously were none?

Choreographer Johanna Nuutinen’s new creation OPIA dives eyes first in the middle of these ever present questions relating to looking, being looked at, and forming meaning between things we see. 

OPIA explores its topic through movement language spiralling into the world behind the gaze, perspective-questioning visual 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 Mia Jaatinen 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 creates her own work with her artistic partner Fabian Nyberg. Among others Mia Jaatinen has been dancing with Kinetic Orchestra directed by choreographer Jarkko Mandelin as well as produced her own work for stage and film.

Direction & choreography: Johanna Nuutinen
Movement material: Johanna Nuutinen and dancers
Dance: Jenna Broas, Mia Jaatinen
Text: Johanna Nuutinen
Scenography: Joonas Tikkanen
Music & sound design: Tuomas Norvio
Costume design: Erika Turunen
Execution of the costumes: Johanna Vehmas
Dramaturgical support: Jarkko Lehmus
Technical producer: Anssi Ruotanen
Sound technician: Sami Tammela, Juuso Hannukainen
Creative producer: Lilja Lehmuskallio
Direction & editing of the performance recording: Thomas Freundlich
Camera operators: Thomas Frendlich, Teemu Kyytinen, Mikael Kanerva
Production: Johanna Nuutinen +CO, Zodiak – Center for New Dance
Duration: 45 min
Age recommendation: 13+, adults
Verbal: Contains Finnish language
Premiere: in 1st April 2021, at Zodiak – Center for New Dance
On tour: 5–6 people (2 performers, 1 choreographer, 2 technicians, 1 producer)
Bookings & information: Nea Granlund, Pragma Helsinki

Past tours
1st – 15th April 2021, in TikettiStream service
8th –30th Aug 2021 Online program of Edinburgh Fringe Festival
16th Sep 2021, Tehdasfestivaali Manifesti, in Turku, Finland

Future tours TBC 2022

Supporters: The Finnish Cultural Foundation, Alfred Kordelin Foundation, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, City of Helsinki, Ministry of Education and Culture

Residency support: Tero Saarinen Company, Västlandsmusiken/Teatermaskinen, Dance Base

Trailer of OPIA
Teaser of OPIA
Photos by Kai Kuusisto

The production platform Johanna Nuutinen + CO was formed in 2016 in order to support the work choreographer Johanna Nuutinen creates with a team of highly talented and visionary sound, light and costume designers as well as performing artists and dramaturges. The sensing, sensitive, poetic and vulnerable, yet strong and versatile body together with bold visual worlds are at the core of all of their artistic work.

During the next three years Johanna and her team will be investigating the world of senses and our sensory experience. The series will consist out of three works that deal with visual perception as well as tactile and auditory senses through virtuosic motion, hypnotic visuality and the visceral world of sound. The first work of this series, OPIA (2021), 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. The second part of the series 8HZ (season 2021–2022) investigates our auditory sense from the point of view of noise pollution.

Kinesteetikot ry serves as the background organisation of Johanna Nuutinen + CO. Kinesteetikot ry is a non- profit association founded in 2015. The aim of the association is to advance embodied consciousness in the society, support the development of dance and theatre as art forms, further the collaboration between different art forms and the dialogue between art and science in Finland as well as internationally.

The company has toured at Jyväskylä Dance Festival (Finland) Danse Festival Barents (Norway), Beijing Dance Festival (China), Hangzhou Dance Festival (China), Full Moon Dance Festival (Finland), Open Look Festival (Russia), BIDFF (Romania), OuDance Festival (Finland) and iDance festival (Hong Kong) among others.