Circulus femineus
 - In Archive

  • Choreographer and Dancer: Maria Littow
  • Musician: Aija Puurtinen
  • Lighting Designer: Jukka Huitila
  • Costume Designer: Pirjo Valinen
  • Costume maker: Laura Luosujärvi
  • Photos: Pirjo Lempeä and Jari Haavikko
  • Production: Flow Productions, JoJo – Oulun Tanssin Keskus
  • Premiere: Nuku-keskus, Oulu, 28 Sept., 2007
  • Duration: 45 min.
  • Sponsors: National Council for Dance, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation

A duet Circulus femineus, of dancer Maria Littow and musician Aija Puurtinen, tells us about various roles of women, their expectations, desires and passions. How do we react to various expectations, whether they are real or imagined, our own or originating from our living environment.

In this work, a woman is in an internal dialogue with herself. The two sides of her, one of a dancer and the other of a singer, are interacting and directing each others in situations where the question remains whether to please or to bore, to dream or to break, to be afraid or to dare to move on – and to find out if it is possible to be excited and happy even in a fierce and unpleasant situation.

One of the starting points for this work is the clothing of a Western woman throughout the times. The idea of how clothing and various garments, on one hand, protect you and provide you with possibilities and, on the other hand, limit your movements and your entire existence. The costumes designed by Pirjo Valinen, abundant in their materials, not only have on impact on the dance but also on the sound environment of the work. The singing of Aija Puurtinen makes the various tones of voice originating from all over the world come together. Based on contemporary dance, the movement language of Maria combines subtle and recognizable everyday life gestures and the movements gently flowing in her entire body.

In her latest solo work, dancer-choreographer Maria Littow gains her strength from the fascinating song scenery of singer Aija Puurtinen. Circulus femineus moves gently and graciously in the various roles of femininity without underlining expressions of opinion. The way of Littow to approach her movement world is playfully curious and the preforms often get their inspiration from an external object. In this fairytale-like and unrealistic kingdom, an incentive to a movement is the costume, crinoline especially, designed by Pirjo Valinen. Then again, the high heels add some tingling humor to the movements. The intensive presence of Puurtinen and her unique sound world take place above the dancer, leading her like a demon as if in dream-like and hazy layers of events. Lighting Designer Jukka Huitila, for his part, gives a magnificent bonus for this battle on stage and, particularly, in the soft and feminine direction. Petri Kauppinen, Kaleva  29.9.2007


Aija Puurtinen is a multi-talented musician and composer who likes to go beyond the boundaries. Besides her own band, Honey B. & T-bones, she has also been working with the jazz orchestra UMO, chamber orchestra Avanti and with numerous freejazz groups. In addition to popular music, she has composed classical commissioned works, for example, for the chamber orchestra Zagros (Meteo and Oom-Pah), a song collection for soprano Piia Komsi for the poems The Sun, My Father in the Sami language, choir works for the women’s choir,  Philomela, and music for the solo cello as well as for the piano. Furthermore, she has made music for contemporary dance works, for films for children and adolescents and for various documentary films.

Currently, Aija Puurtinen is preparing her artistic post-graduate study at the Music Education department of the Sibelius Academy and it will be the first of its kind in the field of popular music in Finland.

Pirjo Valinen has created costume designs, stage designs and posters for the Oulu City Theatre since 1975. Valinen has been working as a costume designer for theatre ever since 1977. Her works have been presented in a great number of exhibitions, in joint exhibitions and for her on her own. She has also been teaching, for example, at the University of Art and Design Helsinki and at the Universities of Oulu and Lapland.

Costume Designer Pirjo Valinen is known for her enthousiastic experimenting with new materials and work methods. Along the years, she has developed her own, distinctive style and character and her own, artistic views as a Finnish theatre costume designer. Her special interest point has been her courageous experimenting with various paper materials. Therefore, she has created a wide array of work methods aimed at handling paper and she has succesfully adapted the results of her experiments for theatre costumes, either as a part of the costume design or as a chosen costume material for an entire work.

Jukka Huitila is a visual artist graduated Master of Arts from the the Theatre Academy of Finland. He is one of the most luminous designer in the field of Finnish performing arts. His versatile career includes lighting, set and video design for interiors, exhibitions, live events and stage performances. He has collaborated in contemporary dance with a great number of the most recognized Finnish choreographers and this artwork has been seen in over twenty countries. Currently Huitila is interested in taking his art into more proprietary direction such as establishing status in the live art scene.


  • 28 Sept., 2007 Nuku-keskus, Oulu  (1)
Other performances:
  • 29 Sept.-12 Oct. 2007 Nuku-keskus, Oulu (5)
  • 8 Oct 2008 Barents Dance Festival, Hammerfest Kino, Norway
  • 29 April 2009, Malmitalo, Helsinki, Finland