The Polar Night
 - In Archive

Critics’ Choice Newspaper Kaleva: One of the top dance performances of 2008.
“Outstanding Dancer of the Year” Pirjo Yli-Maunula in Polar Night, Dance Europe, Oct 2010
  • Choreography, dance and production: Pirjo Yli-Maunula
  • Texts: writer Petri Tamminen
  • Lighting Design: Riikka Vuorenmaa
  • Sound design: Pekko Koskinen
  • Video: Jukka Huitila
  • Costume design: Leena Ollikainen
  • Make-up design: Yanski Sova
  • graphic design: Tomi Hurskainen
  • Premiere: Oulu, Culture Centre Valve, 29 November, 2008
  • Duration: 40 min.

– a tragicomedy about winter depression

“The polar night squeezes you. So slowly at first that you don’t take notice. Then, tighter. Until one December morning you feel like you are looking into the black gaping mouth of a cardboard baler. Once it bites down you need to get your soul out of the way.” Petri Tamminen.

The piece takes a laconic, yet somehow tender look at the phenomenon of polar night as it  portrays one’s futile attempts to get depression in a headlock. The text for the piece was commissioned from author Petri Tamminen, a master of laconic humor.

Premiered in Oulu in 2008. The piece has since been performed at Yksin Sateessa? Festival in Joensuu, Full Moon Dance Festival in Pyhäjärvi, European Festival of the Night in Korpilombolo, Sweden and STOA, Helsinki.

“If there is any dance performance capable of knocking you out with surgical-strike precision, then Pirjo Yli-Maunula’s Polar Night is it.”

Helsingin Sanomat Jussi Tossavainen Dec 3, 2010.

Authors of the work in addition to Pirjo Yli-Maunula:

Petri Tamminen has graduated from the Tampere University majoring in Journalism. He lives in Vääksy, Finland, and works as a freelance writer. Tamminen is known as a master of short prose and laconic humor. His first work, a collection containing sheet long stories, Elämiä, was published in 1994. Miehen ikävä (1997) and Piiloutujan maa (2002) followed the same minimalistic style. His novel Väärä asenne (2000) tells about the nightmare of a fresh father fearing for bacterias. In his novel, Muistelmat, he is pondering in his own, unique way about life, what it really is, what does it consist of and what will you remember from it? His work Enon opetukset (2006) is a tragicomical novel about the journey of growing, about ideals and admiration between men. Petri Tamminen was awarded the Kalevi Jäntti Prize for his novel Piiloutujan maa. Furthermore, his works have been translated into Swedish, German and Latvian.

Leena Ollikainen got her diploma in dress design in 1990. She has worked as a wardrobe master at the theatre Teatteri Pieni Suomi and at the Helsinki City Theatre in 1999-2007, first as a wardrobe master and then as a manager of the wardrobe section. She currently works at the Oulu City Theatre as a costume sewer.

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.

Pekko Koskinen is a game designer whose recent works seek to create interactions between gameplay and more traditional forms of art. He is currently a game designer in Playsign, and was previously the writer and sound designer in LudoCraft game research group. He has also produced several gallery shows that operate as games. His earlier collaborations with Pirjo Yli-Maunula are Branches, Switches, Forms (2007) and Lost City (2008).

Performance history:

Oulu, Culture Centre Valve 29 November 2008

Other performances:

Oulu, Culture Centre Valve 3-13 December 2008 (4)

Yksin Sateessa?- festival, Joensuun City Theatre 27 November, 2009 (1)

Korpilombolo, Sweden, 3 December, 2009 (1)

Oulu, Culture Centre Valve 10-11 December 2009 (2)

Pyhäjärvi, Full Moon Dance festival 29 July 2010 (1)

Helsinki, Culture Centre STOA, 1-3 December 2010 (3)