Instant reflections is a series of notes and remarks by Nina Vurdelja about Moving in November festival 2022. These texts will be published throughout the festival.

Solos and Duets by Meg Stuart & Damaged Goods, 5.11.2022, Stoa

Solos and Duets shares the general aspiration of the festival to redo the linearity of time, to return to, to revisit and to reflect. The five-part collage invites into joyful and thrilling exploration of almost three decades long creation of dancer and choreographer Meg Stuart and her company Damaged Goods.

Oscillating along the recognizable nuances of absurd, bizarre and anti-norm, the performance un/ folds and turns and twists in an uncanny instant between stage action and the provoking sensation it creates in the body of the spectator. Acrobatics of extraterrestrial drivers, drumming arm-dance trance, playful promenade of gender, punk madness. Multidirectional radiations of on minimalistic stage are versatile and enchanting as much as they are odd and uneasy: slapping, blowing, climbing, hair and nipple-pulling, twisted body parts and loud tunes exhibit genuine vulnerability and intimacy. Sweaty, sounding bodies, perfectly unperfect, falling and failing, and glowing through their sensuous nonsense.  An hour of interventions into patterns of cultured, unreserved hacks of normalcy, upside-down exposure of (non-)consensual. On this ride everything is possible, all and nothing happens for a reason. One gets tricked, and comes back for more. To our luck, there is more: one can get the glimpse of curious world of Meg Stuart and Damaged Goods in video works showed the lobby of cultural center Stoa throughout the festival.

Solos and Duets are by all means an experience that slips away of category, of logic. It sneaks out of expected, calculated, certain. It’s a loud shout to be together with else, with nonhabitual, to change perspective, to become otherwise, to face your own gaze staring back at you.

Feijoada by Calixto Neto, 6.11.2022, Caisa

Feijoada continues the celebration of what cannot be grasped. The iconic dish of Brazilian slavery and poverty is a starting point of political resistance, storytelling and being together in this dynamic, multilayered and polyphonic work of Calixto Neto and collaborating artists. Feijoada stands for complexity and controversy of historical struggle, collective memory and identities grown from it.

The stage is a dance podium, a kitchen, a shared space for communal and generational encounter. The performative format of the fiest accommodates the affective, sensuous experience to evolve through dancing together, playing the traditional samba beats and aromatic steaming of the beans and meat in preparation. The hunger, desire and pride compose personal and collective living archives of displacement, hybridity, rootlessness, and liberty.
Feijoada is a comfort of home and freedom of an open road. In all its lightness and joy of living, the piece throws a bold critical thought and sharp-as -knife statement of self-determination.

Who dares to write histories, to set symbols, to own heritage? How can a storying of peoples and places be reduced to ready-made identities and boxes of belonging? Who sets the labels of meat, the price-tags of human and nonhuman life?

At the end of the evening, the food is served. The act of ingesting, taking in and receiving takes place in gentle, warm and resting ripples spreading through and outgrowing the room. The performance is over, but revolution carries on.

– Nina

Nina Vurdelja

Nina Vurdelja is a performance researcher and cultural worker of international background, based in Tampere. Her interests reside around more-than-human sensuous encounters and ecologies of being together. She has been doing Ph.D. studies at Tampere University, dwelling in meeting spaces between culture, art, and philosophy.

Photo: Nina Vurdelja