The Days Project started 2017 on the initiative of Maria Nurmela and Ville Oinonen, who as Finnish freelance dance artists invited English choreographer and designer, Theo Clinkard to create a work they could perform together. Both Nurmela and Oinonen have made a prominent career as dance artists in Finland and internationally through collaborating with known dance makers and producing their own independent productions. This commision felt like a natural development in their career pathways.
Clinkard’s previous experience of co-directing a dancer-run commissioning duet company Probe made him an especially appropriate choice to launch this new project. Over the last six years Clinkard has built an international reputation for creating affecting and visually arresting work. He follows his recent commissions for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and Danza Contemporanea de Cuba with ‘The Days’, his first full-length duet work.
The Days invites the audience to share an encounter with two exceptional performers, Maria Nurmela and Ville Oinonen. Constructed from a singular physical concept that sustains throughout the work, The Days engenders a world of ever shifting negotiations, complex feelings and comic disconnection. Caught in an impossible loop of absurd and heartfelt exchanges, the performers journey takes the form of a lifetime shared in this compelling performance about care, resilience and the desire for connection.
Conceived as more than a simple performance, The Days seeks to engage with local communities and diffuse the hierarchies between different bodies as performers and movers. On stage, Nurmela and Oinonen are joined by two participants, a man and a woman aged over 65-years, who are invited from a workshop held for interested elderly people in each city of performance.
There is a two-way exchange: professional performers Nurmela and Oinonen are transmitting their trained bodily knowledge for the workshop participants and the guest performers picked from the group, but the lived experience of the amateur participants enrichens and deepens the performance itself. The Days shows that contemporary dance and performance belong to every body and every age.
The performance is light from a technical standpoint, and very easy to set up, making it suitable for touring. The Days creates a visually appealing universe without breaking the intimacy created by the seating plan: audience is sitting around the 8×8 meters performance space. Traditional theater setting is not necessary, the piece can be performed in very different venues.
The Days deals with themes that are recognizable and poignant for the lives of many of us, such as the search for connection and the physical communication between man and a woman, but breaking the old power balances and stereotypes. It’s an accessible performance that speaks to many different audiences and spectators, regardless of their level of past experience with contemporary dance.
Concept, direction & design: Theo Clinkard
Realisation & performance: Maria Nurmela and Ville Oinonen
Sound score: James Keane
Light design: Kalle Ropponen
Outside eye: Leah Marojević
Production: Maria Nurmela, Ville Oinonen and Inari Pesonen in Premiere (2018)
Premiere: 10th Dec 2018, Pori Dance Month Festival, Finland
Duration: approx 50 minutes
Photos: Karoliina Korvuo, Ville Oinonen
Trailer: Olivia Hansson Photos: Akseli Kaukoranta, Olivia Hansson, Kalle Ropponen, Karoliina Korvuo
Age: Young audience 12+, Adults
Minimum stage dimensions: 9m x 9m including the seating
On tour: 2 performers, 1 technician
Bookings & information: Nea Granlund, Pragma Helsinki
Read more about The Days
In UK 2022 – TBA
With touring grant Tanssikiertää of Dance House Finland:
13th Mar 2019 Cultural Center Cruselli, Uusikaupunki, Finland
22nd May 2019 Dance Current Festival, Tampere, Finland
11th –12th Nov 2019 Turku City Theatre, Turku, Finland
26th Sep 2019 Time for Dance -Festival, Jyväskylä, Finland
14th Nov 2019 Tanz Festival Winterthur, Switzerland
2nd Feb 2020 CCA Glasgow, Finnish exposure, Scotland
23rd Feb 2020 123 Teatr Festival Novosibirsk, Siberia
16th Ap 2021 Routa Company, Generator Stage, Kajaani, Finland
15th Sep 2021 Vaasa, Draamasali, Regional Dance Center of Ostrobothnia, Finland
9th Oct 2021 Kokkola Winter Dances, Kokkola Conservatorium of Music, Finland
Supported by: Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Wihuri Foundation, Riksteatern, Helsinki Festival, Studio Wayne McGregor / FreeSpace programme, Turku City Theatre, Pori Dance Company, Theatre Academy / University of the Arts Helsinki, Alexander Theatre Helsinki / Tero Saarinen Company studio, Liikelaituri, The Finnish Cultural Foundation, Dance House Helsinki, TelePart / Finnish Institute in Berlin, Regional Dance Center of Western Finland, The Finnish Institute in London (Finnish Exposure 2020), Dance Info Finland – Russia Programm.