On the day of the 7th of April I went with a friend to market at Skanstull, sadly we were not expecting a big turnout due to the light sprinkle of rain from the morning. We strolled, looking at homemade rings, earrings, popsockets, you name it. Our walk continued, without realizing it we had strolled quite the distance, we had to figure out, what is the objective of our walk? Maybe lunch was in order! When we ate a meal based on the spring seasons ingredients, an example of swedish husmanskost with a modern twist. We talked about my experience at the dance critic workshop. It was somewhat hard to describe, I felt some kind of anxiousness for my participation, I have never been a creative writer and do not have the backings of knowledge striking my text further.
The way other people who participated had referenced other artists, used a descriptive language I do not possess made me envious, and in a way angry at the point in life I am right now. Somehow my focus for my own discrepancies has hindered me and my writing, by focusing at what seemed like a cliff from me to the others I did not try to build a bridge between them. I left my home town less than a year ago to be apart of the cultural world I know exist in our capital and now I was made aware of how far away from it I really am, sometimes it felt further away than the town I grew up in. But somehow I obviously was apart of it, I watched the performances like the people in my group, I felt the same things as them, sometimes not. Somehow the buzzing in my ear was pleasant, maybe this is apart of a beginning for me. My confidence has been waning but being put in new arenas has at the same time been uplifting. If you look at it from a different point of view, my stay in this city has not even encompassed a full year, I knew no one when I moved, how could I be fully grown.
I drop by my home, eat, talk to my soul mate, change clothes so that I look my very best, take the subway, feel gratitude that the evenings rendezvou is close to home, hopelessly get lost, meet Julia, we figure it out together, arrive at Weld.
After talking to my fellow participants, minus Elias, we ascend down the stairs leading to the room that acts as the stage for Flakkande røynd, meaning effervescent or blinking smoke. The room is square shaped, purple roof with several light mixtures highlighting the entire floor. The walls are two storeys high and are made of cement, some parts are painted yellow or white, som bare. Thanks to the surroundings the room feels under construction or like an industry space. There are four stations situated by the rooms different walls, at them there are carpets resembling pelts in different shades of grey. On top of the pelts are stumps of birch chopped at different heights, we may either sit on the birch or the carpet, maybe even the floor, but we never questioned the assumed barriers. Two more stations are positioned on the floor, on either side of the room. A synthesizer and mixer board are placed on the stations next to me. On the station opposite stands a piano made of wood. From it are strings attached which leads to more stubs of birch, they resemble a tent in different neon colours.
Before the performance starts I talk to my group members about how this reminds me of my home town, the springs and early summers I spent by our cabin chopping birch. Lift, drop, pull, separate, throw, repeat.
The dance is about to begin, four women enter. Two of them, Anja Lauvdal and Heida Karine, start playing the instrument, one on the piano and the other the tuba. The other two, Rannei Grenne and Solveig Styve Holte are the dancers who will perform. What they are wearing strikes me immediately. I would describe the outfits and appearance in a mixture of a futuristic take on the brand Acne with sportswear and the matrix. Rannei in neon red and Solveig in neon green / yellow. They are made by Ida Falck Øien and Harald Lunde Helgesen.
So right from the get-go I relate to this play, I wish to own these clothes, I’ve recently started styling my hair similarly and I am sitting on something that represents my life. In the background sounds from the forest and the ocean is played, accompanied by the tuba and piano which uses distorted sounds by the help of different tools. The sounds are almost animalistic, primal in a sense, but not the Hollywood primal generally thought of but instead from the depths of the northern forests.
Rannei and Solveig move in a unpredictable pattern that I thought of in sections. Sometimes in a precise but quiet manner, showing the strength that they possess. Poses that fights the capability of a person, and yet the dancers always win the battle. At times a dragging on the ground, almost erratic. Or uncontrollable jumping mixed with traditional ballet positions (as far as I can tell at least). They occasionally become like stone, stuck in their intricate positioning of the body which then the other dancer lifts or pushes down to create a new pose. Similar to the way I chopped wood with my family, a well thought out role is performed according to its formula. I felt for the intricate choreography of the dance which is closely calculated and challenged the human body. As a result of the birch being there I could not escape it, it is not easy bringing down and chopping trees up all day let me tell you. Although their performance was exponentially tougher. My favourite part is when they moved to replace their shoes with other ones where the sandal was made of wood, yet again their bodies are made an example of their fortitude. At the same time the tuba player moves next to me, as does the piano player who now focuses on the mixer board, creating a techno beat.
If I could describe this performance in one word it would be the word “urkraft”. The english translation is elemental force or immense power, in my head it is a mixture of those two. Representing the strength, blood, sweat and tears that have seeped into the north. A power you can only find thanks to generations before you, within you. Like when a parent lifts a car for their child even though they should not be able too. Taking the primal parts connected to nature of oneself and channeling them, in this case, their art. I relate this power to my home town, to the poetry there, to the grassroots, to the strength.
At the end of the performance we were offered to take home on of the stubs if we so wished. I wished. Someone asked me why I would like to take the birch home due to me earlier stating that the birch is correlated to a “spring anxiety” for me. Meaning all the hard work I’ve spent with my family, chopping the wood into lumps. But the anxiety for the wood is like the anxiety for this workshop, something I would not take back even though it has been hard for me. Like how Rannei and Solveig had mixed the old with the new through nature and future I felt I could bring that home with me that very night, an old item now resides in my new home.
Flakkande røynd to me represents the power we all can possess, the old and the new. An urkraft.