Footage of WA Ballet dancers at Fremantle Prison will be in Johanna Nuutinen’s X-It, part of WA Ballet’s triple bill In-Synch.
FINNISH choreographer Johanna Nuutinen has filmed underwater, in a snowstorm and on a frozen lake, so she was used to working in testing environments when it came to filming WA Ballet dancers at Fremantle Prison.
“Of course, it’s a rough concrete floor, it’s cold and a challenging space to dance in for several hours but I enjoyed it,” Nuutinen said.
The main difficulty came in finding an old enough space, with the character and energy for the three-day shoot.
“It was something that wasn’t so much a surprise but that needed to be taken into account,” she said.
“Fremantle Prison had character and we could shoot all the scenes there.
“I’m really happy with what the crew did and I’m really thankful for the Fremantle staff as well that they allowed us to be there.”
The footage will be used as a major component of Helsinki-based Nuutinen’s 25-minute work X-It, which is part of WA Ballet’s triple bill In-Synch: Ballet at the Quarry at Quarry Amphitheatre in February, She originally choreographed the piece for Finnish National Ballet in 2011 while a dancer at the company.
WA Ballet artistic director Aurelien Scannella saw the performance and invited Nuutinen to remount the work in Perth following her departure from Finnish National Ballet in 2017; she is now a freelance choreographer and performer.
“For X-It, first came the concept of the whole visual world I wanted to build on stage and after that came the theme,” she said.
“It was very obvious back then (2011) that I had a strong sense of how we are constantly under surveillance in our lives; whether we walk on the streets, go to the shops or at your workplace.
“That theme suited this multidimensional world… looking at what kinds of emotions this seemingly unending and inescapable stage of being watched stirs in a person.”
Nuutinen said the dancers at WA Ballet had responded enthusiastically to X-It and she had relied on technology to make working from the other side of the world possible.
“I thank the internet and the ability to make Skype calls wherever I am and still keep on working with these projects,” she said. “Australia is far, and there’s the time difference but I haven’t experienced any challenges with the distance.”
Johanna Nuutinen filming at Fremantle Prison with WA Ballet dancers in October.