In traditional cultures, singing, music-making and dancing are all one. Although music and dance have subsequently split into separate genres in Western countries, the age-old link has never been totally severed. The 4/2013 FMQ presents a selection of ways in which the marriage of music and dance is manifest in present-day Finland.
Folk music is constantly renewing, but how is the change reflected in folk dance? Social dance has, in Finland, experienced several rebirths over the decades. Will it also reach the social media cohort seeking its past in the music of previous generations?
The thoughts expressed by choreographers and composers of contemporary dance afford new views on music. From the dance perspective, the most important element of a musical composition may be not just rhythm but also timbre, or simply the first note. The music expands into sound and the sound into an installation. In a performance, the dancers themselves contribute to the sound. In the happy cases, where the resources are sufficient for live music to be used, the musicians become dancers, the dancers musicians.
The music in contemporary dance also joins in the search for a new Finnish identity. A forthcoming work by Tero Saarinen reflects on the essence of being a man in the world today, to music by Esa-Pekka Salonen. A new work by Sonya Lindfors in turn analyses the Afro-Finnish identity bypassing the traditional norms, by combining contemporary dance with hip hop.
Artistically, Finnish dance could not be in finer fettle, and the world reputation of Finnish contemporary dance is rising steadily. The aim of the Dance House project launched in 2010 is to create, in Helsinki, a facility unique the world over that gathers together all forms of dance. Let us therefore hope that Finland will soon have not only its own Dance House, a project launched in 2010, but also a political will that will unleash the full potential of this unique form of art on the borders of sound and movement.
Translation: Susan Sinisalo