Let's get physical

  • 2007-01-17
  • By Joel Alas
TALLINN - "We wanted to explore the possibilities of losing control," says Mart Kangro, one of Estonia's foremost contemporary dancers. "The easiest way is to exhaust yourself until you cannot take it anymore." Kangro should know a thing or two about exhaustion. This week, he is in the middle of a manic training schedule ahead of the premiere of his latest production, "Longer than Expected."

The performance delves into the physical endurance and exhausting preparation that dancers put themselves through.
"It's about endurance, control, discipline and willpower, not only for a dancer, but for performers in general. There are certain limits you reach," Kangro explains. "But as long as I am performing, I take into account the fact that somebody is watching me."
The dance piece will premiere on Jan. 19 at Kanuti Gildi Saal, Tallinn's highly respected modern dance powerhouse.

While Kanuti is known for its creative and experimental dance styles, Kangro is recognised as a performer of all genres.
After graduating from dance studies at what was then called the Tallinn Pedagogical University, Kangro worked as a showboat dancer on Baltic ferries. He later landed a job with the Estonian National Opera Ballet company, performing major roles in productions such as "Romeo and Julia," "Don Quixote" and "La Esmeralda."
Not content to simply dance, Kangro also launched into directing and choreography, creating several performances that have toured internationally.

It's thanks to this international exposure that Kangro has come into contact with Christina Ciupke, who shares equal creative billing on this weekend's production.
Ciupke hails from Berlin, and it's there that the pair first came into contact.
"We met three years ago through a seminar for composers and choreographers," Ciupke says. "We got very interested in our different approaches. My approach is sometimes more reduced, although more poetic. Mart is more conceptual and physical in another way. We thought that we feel very related in what we try to say in different ways."

After meeting in early 2006, the pair held several workshops and finally began physical rehearsal in November.
"We explore a wide field of movement related to the daily routine of dance and physical exercise. We explore the structures of movement and endurance 's the things we [dancers] have to practice that the audience doesn't see on stage."
Ciupke says she is quite critical of the prescribed concepts of learning and any school of thought that dictates "the way things should be."

Ciupke wasn't surprised to discover Kanuti. She had heard about Tallinn and its impressive modern dance factory through her Berlin colleagues, and had formed strong links with its director Priit Raud.
Berlin and Tallinn share a special connection. As Kangro tells it, the German contemporary dance scene is intensely linked with Estonia's, and the two cities regularly swap ideas, dancers and performances. Kangro and Ciupke will next take their performance to Berlin for its central European premiere at Hau 3, a three-house theatre complex on Tempelhofer Ufer.

"Longer than Expected"
Jan. 19, 20 & 22 at 19:30
Kanuti Gildi Saal, Tallinn
Pikk 20, Old Town
(+372) 64 64 704