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Photo: Vesa Loikas 



- A NEW IMMERSIVE CREATION (2021)                                                           

“ Maria Nurmela's new contemporary dance work incorporates themes and motifs from H.C. Andersen's The Little Match Girl. With an international ensemble of artists this multidisciplinary performance work reveals itself in a variety of emotions and visions.”

Falling Through The Disappearing Light (2021) is an immersive contemporary dance performance created by Finnish choreographer Maria Nurmela with five internationally established professional dance artists. The work's inspiration is rooted in H.C. Andersen's epic story of The Little Match Girl, published in 1845. In this new work, the narrative is viewed from today's perspective, unpacking, fragmenting and revealing its multifaceted themes and phenomena true to current times. The performance lives inside a delicate and exquisitely crafted original sound world of contemporary musical co-composition designed especially for this work by Australian composer-soprano Jane Sheldon and Turku-based sound composer Jaakko Vastapuu. Combining Sheldon’s own choral music and textures of burning wood and fire, with Vastapuu's precisely haunting soundscapes that play through multiple sound sources inhabiting many corners of the space, the sound creeps and seeps into the audience's consciousness with the work.

Striking, sensory and minimalistic light and stage design created by Kalle Ropponen is contrasted by the sooty handcrafted costumes by designer Heidi Wikar, hyper-alluring the visual senses to the work’s themes.

The performance offers its audience a multi-sensory journey of dance movement, texts, and visual and sonic designs that traverse emotive and virtuosic scopes. From eerie sparseness to breathless physicality and hypnotic drive, a touching journey encompassing the work remains true to H.C. Andersens intention of the original story. Falling Through The Disappearing Light creates a sensitive and enigmatic atmosphere that offers the viewer an opportunity to explore the ephemeral nature of life and death through contemporary dance.

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"My dream was to create a work that would combine contemporary dance, visual design and new music, and somehow immerse its audience in the contrasts and depth of H.C Andersen's The Little Match Girl (1845). I understood that there are many ways to tell the story of The Little Match Girl. How we present it, the story is abstract, metaphorical and associative. Our process has been carried out with a strong emphasis on inter-artistic interfaces and the work aims to be multi-sensory", says Maria Nurmela, choreographer and winner of the 2020 Aboa Prize.


Concept, choreography and direction: Maria Nurmela.

Dance and co-creation: Jonna Aaltonen, Janne Aspvik, Georgie Goater, Gesa Piper, Meri Pajunpää

Students from Raija Lehmussaari Ballet School

Aura Huhtala, Liisa Kallio, Lotta Kolehmainen, Mimmi Laurila, Elsa Leinonen, Vilma Morko, Isla Niemelä, Ruusa Orpo, Matilda Saarinen

Composition and sound design: Jane Sheldon & Jaakko Vastapuu

Lighting and set design: Kalle Ropponen

Costume and set/visual design: Heidi Wikar

Performance technician: Antton Kainulainen

Texts: H.C. Andersen, working group

Choreographic assistance: Gesa Piper

Costume manufacture: Anni Korkalo and Heidi Wikar

Production: Maria Nurmela, Regional Dance Centre of Western Finland

Production assistance: Maria Leivonen, Anna Rusi

Photos: Vesa Loikas

Venue: P.C. Rettig's Old Tobacco Factory / Åbo Akademi University Foundation

Supported by: Regional Dance Centre of Western Finland, Åbo Akademi University Foundation, Cultural Committee of Turku, The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, The Finnish Cultural Foundation / Southwest Finland

Regional Fund., The Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike) / Regional Office of Southwest Finland, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, Turun Teatterisäätiö ry.

Residencies: Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth, Pro Manilla Foundation and Regional Dance Centre of Western Finland

Special thanks to Mika Soinio / Åbo Akademi University Foundation, Raija Lehmussaari, Sanna Meska, Essi Erävesi, Rosa Huuska, Liisa Risu, Kirsti Nurmela, Ritva and Harri Bergström, Kari Salovaara, Leena Kuorelahti,

Birgitta Abrahamsson, Eeva-Maija and Risto Salo, Vesa Loikas, Saara Nurmi, Maiju Kotialho / Linnateatteri, Tiina Valve, Aimo, and family members, friends and everyone who has supported this adventure

Premiered 6th of November 2021, P.C. Rettig's Old Tobacco Factory, Turku.

Filmed and edited by Teemu Kyytinen

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