Prison steps

Stirling Times - - News - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

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.

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