TRIPTYCH 0811

Oppland Arbeiderblad 17 nov 2012

(English translation will follow shortly)

Daily Gazette, New York

DANCE REVIEW : Danz melds dreams, real life into entertaining ‘freak show’
TROY — Desires drive dreams, but realities deflect and distort dreams. And in Ella Fiskum Danz’ “Triptych 0811,” three dreamers, their dreams and their realities were mashed into a surreal but entertaining landscape. The engaging work-in-progress, which was shown Tuesday night at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer, was a reality freak show in which dreams and true life were indistinguishable.  It depicted a trio of feminine cultural stereotypes personified as a starlet in drag, a ballerina and a pole dancer. But rather than creatures of envy, these three, who often melded into one, were hardly enviable; rather, they appeared trapped by their occupations, forced into ceaseless parades of soul-sapping roleplaying.
This sense that their parts dictated their actions was ramped up by Norwegian guitarist Ronni Le Tekro. Considered one of the best guitar players in the world, second only to Eddie Van Halen, the program indicated, Tekro made his guitar come alive. It howled, wept, sang and pushed the trio to the brink. With Tekro positioned downstage, he reflected on their feelings and prodded them through the exhilarating runs with thunderous riffs and their defeats with muted sobs.
The piece began with a ballerina, danced by Svetlana Bednenko, shrouded in a burqa trimmed at the hem with black feathers. As she tip-toed about the stage, her hands fluttered, her arms rippled in an obvious nod to the quintessential ballet icon: the swan. A movable cage-like stage design by Serge von Arx, on which hung panels for video projections, provided visions of their dreams. In the ballerina’s case, it was to perform the lead role in “Swan Lake.” The music gave way to Tchaikovsky’s familiar score, and the dance, from then on, came in and out of focus as a warped “Swan Lake.”
There were many jaw-dropping moments — such as choreographer /dancer Fiskum’s first appearance onstage as the pole dancer. Wearing black boots with spikey heels and a skimpy leather outfit, she attacked the shaky staff with purpose. Climbing to the top, her body wrapped around the shaft, she slid down, upside down, and hung onto the pole as if her life were at risk. Yet at the end, to the “Swan” music, her dance with the pole was destructive and bittersweet. Wearing pasties and a tutu, she was drowned by her destructive desires.  Equally wonderful was Magnus Myhr as the Hollywood ingénue in drag. His energy — in cutesy Marilyn Monroe poses and giggles, as well as hyperactive bursts that ended in debilitation — was staggering.
This dreamscape ended on a high note — to Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life.” As the Sinatra tune played, the ballerina, the starlet and the pole dancer embraced their roles in the biggest, sassiest ways possible. It was not acceptance or surrender that led them back to their stereotypes; it was the knowledge that the world is a stage and they had a part to play in it.
BY WENDY LIBERATORE For The Daily Gazette Reach Gazette reviewer Wendy Liberatore at wendy@dailygazette.com.

Link to: http://www.dailygazette.net/standard/ShowStoryTemplate.asp?Path=SCH%2F2012%2F09%2F19&ID=Ar02600&Section=Life_and_Arts

Times union, NY

Choreographer explores links between dreams and reality

By Tresca Weinstein

Published 1:35 p.m., Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ever since she began choreographing 15 years ago, Ella Fiskum has returned again and again to her preoccupation with the tension between dreams and reality, and particularly the places where the two overlap. “My life has been full of dreams and fantastic stories,” Fiskum said in an interview during her company’s two-week residency at EMPAC this month. “I have a very vivid inner life.” Captivated at age 5 by the fairy tale nature and elaborate costumes of ballet, she began taking classes, and later left her small Norwegian town at 15 to attend an intensive ballet school. She went on to study the Vaganova method in Germany, and was on her way to the “ultimate ballerina dream,” dancing for companies in Europe and Canada, when “life took me a different way,” she said. “My mother is a tapestry artist and my father is a musician, and I was always interested in other art forms, not just dance,” she said. She choreographed her first piece, with four dancers and a string quartet, in 1997, and three years later founded her company, Ella Fiskum Danz, in Oslo, Norway. Her 2000 solo “Seduced By Unreality,” deconstructs the road not taken: “It’s the ballerina dream totally fallen down in the gutter,” Fiskum said. Her subsequent work, including her “Dreamland” trilogy, fuses dance, theater and art installation, and invites viewers close to the action as fanciful, shadowy stories unfold. Fiskum has become known for daring site-specific work like “The Net of Pas de Deux,” in which the action takes place on an elevated net; she staged the piece at festivals throughout Norway and Iceland, hanging the net from a crane above rivers, waterfalls and city squares. Fiskum, who turns 40 in November, says she has a new perspective on the dream-reality dichotomy — one that she explores in her latest work, “Triptych 0811,” set to premiere in Oslo in October. A work-in-progress showing, free to the public, is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at EMPAC. “When I started to do research on the work, I felt my perception of dream and reality had changed,” Fiskum said. “Before, I felt reality was less clear, and now it was more so.” The title reflects the structure of the piece: three interwoven solos—performed in parallel rather than in sequence—that embody the three themes of the work: dreams, ambition and reality. The 20-year-old prima ballerina Svetlana Bednenko (a soloist with the Eifman Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia) plays, essentially, herself—the beautiful dream come to fruition. Dancer Magnus Myhr is a starlet, struggling to make it onto the big screen. Fiskum, a statuesque blonde with old Hollywood glamour, plays three characters grounded in reality, each with her own back story: a Muslim women in an arranged marriage who wears vivid colors beneath her burqa; a suburban “soccer mom”; and a single mother who pole-dances at a nightclub to support her family. “I build the characters [first] in my work, and the story lines are more fluid and in layers,” Fiskum said. “I get inspiration from costumes — I love colors and strong visual effects. From there, the movement starts to appear.” With a score by Austrian composer Ali Helnwein, “Triptych0811″ features Norwegian guitarist Ronni Le Tekro, formerly of the hard-rock band TNT. Fiskum has also integrated video that she shot in two locations, sun-soaked Los Angeles and the grittier backdrop of St. Petersburg. She’ll also screen a short companion film that documents another clash of reality and fantasy: her thwarted attempt to get onto the red carpet at the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony in February. The numbers at the end of the new work’s title represent Fiskum’s birthdate, Nov. 8, and she says the piece is in some part autobiographical. Tresca Weinstein is a freelance writer. Link to: http://www.timesunion.com/entertainment/article/Choreographer-explores-links-between-dreams-and-3859805.php#ixzz26Mg1qyOk

FISHING FOR LOVE

“Hundreds of spectators crowded along the pier to take in the spectacular show in and of the watery element (…) Many could hardly believe what they saw (…) Breathtaking acrobatics and graceful and beautiful dance. Particularly impressing was Ella Fiskums interpretation of the squirming fish / mermaid who finally had to admit defeat, but who was brought to life again.” Tønsberg Blad on “Fishing for Love –live edition” June 25th 2011. “Chamber Night Success. Risør Chamber Music won many hearts of the audience during the event ”Chamber Night at the fjord” Wednesday night. Spontaneous concerts, spectacular dancing and Norway’s first living jukebox took audiences by storm (…) But the most spectacular was the dance performance “Fishing for Love”. Hanging from a crane 15feet above the inner harbor, the audience watched a spectacular performance by the dancer Sudesh Adhana before Ella C. Fiskum emerged from the water and onto the net, which served as a dance floor.” Aust Agder Blad on “Fishing for Love –live edition” June 30th 2011.

THE NET OF PAS DE DEUX

“Ella Fiskum pushes the limits of dance and with her investigative sense and her bravery she succeeds in finding new, navigable ways. This time in completely unknown territory, – and as a duo. Ella Fiskum from Trondheim has during her dancing career crossed the borders constantly and pushed her way out of the framework of dance, which seems all too narrow for this experimental dancer. In cooperation with the Indian dancer Sudesh Adhana she has made a huge step further and the results of this cooperation is complete, well done and brave. There is physical language and a new definition of dance and movement which occurs on the net over the Nidelven River. The elasticity of the net changes the physical conditions of the body. The net is strung at a 20 degree angle so that the audience can see the dancers wherever they lay; move upright or somewhere in between the two. This twisted, unusual perspective gives way to new scenic possibilities. At the crossroads between the elastic foundation and a tilted angle, these two have explored the physical – and found creativity, especially when working on the horizontal level. The dancers change between recognizable, purified dance expression and the more animalistic, raw movements. The tension between the two extremes works well. The duo possesses a physical language which becomes them. They create divine physical sculptures where the costumes are eye-catching with its skirt split in four which become extra limbs on the Eastern inspired characters. In the second half of the performance however, it is difficult to capture the intention of the costumes. The elasticity of the net gives great dynamics and enlarges the movements. The big gestures are contrasted effectively by fingers and feet in small, but visible vibrations. The tension of the net gives the opportunity for dynamic collisions and fatal falls where the two parties end up on the “surface” with great force- without risk. But the risk factor intensifies as an underlying tension by the fact that the performance is done over deep water and by the dancers moving toward, and over the edges, as to underline the extremes of the frames of life itself. The performance adds pictures and storytelling elements; fusion and separation, to hold on and set free, receive and let fall, seek – find – lose, put aside to walk further on, die to resurrect. Strong forces meet, both contradictory forces and coinciding energy. The performance is lifted by well composed sound design and an exquisite light design which creates a magical stage area in the middle of town, in the midst of well known sounds, with the sky as a ceiling and backdrop, the dark waters as reflecting decking and the net as a challenging floor space. However, The Net of Pas de Deux is a bit long but the end is beautiful, where Fiskum plays with the only prop of the performance, an orange sari. A brave pas de deux into the unknown has succeeded for the dancers and the artistic duo.” Idun Haugan on “The Net of Pas de Deux”, translation of newspaper critic, Adresseavisen,  August 4th 2004.

UNTITLED STAR

“From her base in Canada storm gifted Ella Fiskum has made the leap across the Atlantic, yesterday she made a both soft and dramatic landing on the Black Box Theatre in Oslo as “Untitled Star”. (…)Ella Fiskum is an exceptional artistic talent.” Annette Mürer in the national newspaper/tabloid Dagbladet, reviewing the premiere of her 2nd solo “Untitled Star”. April 2002. “The dancer Fiskum is given the special gift to possess an extreme stage presence in the room. She projects the power and energy and the eyes is drawn to her no matter where in the room she is.” Fredrik Rütter in the national morning edition of Aftenposten on “Untitled Star” April 6th 2002.

SEDUCED BY UNREALITY

(…) Choreographer Ella Christina Fiskum requirements for technical dance championships are great, and dancer Ella Christina Fiskum meets them. But more important is her lavish ability to reach the audience, her ability to redeem the essence of movement. And we saw a dancer with a radiance that was striking. Sigurd Stenersen in the regional newspaper Harstad Times 26 september 2000, on her 1st solo “Seduced by Unreality” She “populate” the stage space, creating sensual and seductive vamps, temptresses, ballerinas and fallen divas. She let the women go all the way to the bottom – and hauled them up to a larger, but far from free of conflicts – perception of reality. (…)Her form of language is strong physical and expressive. Wild, violent – and resigned touching. Quite poignant is the sequence where she dances refined classic – in point shoes, with turned head and a suppressed, frantic mime of Jim Hendrix’s name on the lips, to raw and rasps music. Ellen Pollestad in the regional newspaper Nordlys 25 september 2000, on “Seduced by Unreality” The Dancer Ella Fiskum is doing her part with great security – technical and artistic. Choreographer Ella Fiskum is putting up her performance with great security, technical and artistic. While the character “Ella Fiskum” lights of uncertainty. That is strong. Vulnerable. Sensitive and emotional. With fairly high degree of acting embedded in the dance. Lillian Bikset in the regional newspaper Nordlands Framtid August 5, 2000: on “Seduced by Unreality” (…)In choosing the theme of wandering in and out of dream and reality, I find also a test of boundary of the madness / norm. When do you keep yourself inside the community-defined character / characters? And what happens when you go outside the accepted norms? What happens when the dream, the inner life becomes more real than reality itself? (…) In this case, we see the dancer in the conflicting scenes where she dances Swan Lake arch classic swans on point of the pumping energy and raw music of the Waterboys, and Metallica. And when she kiss / eat on her own knee, when she was in a trashed ballerina costume crawling around on the floor and snapped the black forms (from Haremska installation) and fill shake them like a dog would have done, then there is not much ballerina left. Idun Haugan in the regional newspaper Adressavisen September 18, 2000, on “Seduced by Unreality”

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