Kwai Tsing Theatre
Olotila, a physical dance theatre production by Finland's PAA (Public Artistic Affairs), will have its Asian premiere tomorrow. Literally translated as the 'state of being', the title can also mean 'feeling space', says Tomi Paasonen, the troupe's founder and the choreographer and director of the show, which has been running since 2000.
'Olotila' denotes a 'space or room where you can have feeling, so it also gets at the idea of treating the body like a temple', he says. 'Olotila explores the body and its fragility, its limits and the cult of its perfection.'
Physical fragility and disability are subjects the award-winning professional dancer can relate to, as his dance career was prematurely ended by a freak accident that seriously injured his spine.
But Paasonen found his new calling when he was contacted by a community of disabled dancers - people interested in alternative ways of movement and dance therapy. As he worked with these dancers, who include a woman with spinal rheumatism, a blind man, a paraplegic woman and a 75-year-old with cerebral palsy, Olotila was born. Olotila's dancers are 'people who have bodies that have stories to tell', says Paasonen. And through 'the body language of everyday life' and individual on-stage movements, they and the work's director-choreographer 'share some of our life experiences, feelings, states and thoughts that are very personal'.
'[Olotila] also reflects on physicality, our relationship to our body in general and how to deal with change, [including] how to process the transformation of our own body after it becomes disabled or diseased,' Paasonen says.
In so doing, he says, it imparts messages on 'dealing with life and finding beauty where you usually don't see it'.
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