Külli Roosna & Kenneth Flak

Choreographers and dancers Külli Roosna (Estonia) and Kenneth Flak (Norway) have been collaborating since 2008. Their work deals with the narratives and technologies of the body. They have explored a wide range of themes, including ancient Viking mythology, contemporary internet culture and totalitarian regimes. The core of their work is the dancing body’s possibilities and limitations, in a constant dialogue with the digital technologies and discourses that extend and counterpoint it. In addition to their own choreographic works in the freelance field created at Korzo and STÜ, they have been commissioned to create works for the Estonian National Ballet, Festival Classique (the Netherlands), Kaunas Biennial (Lithuania) and others.

Külli Roosna graduated from Tallinn University and continued her studies at the Rotterdam Dance Academy Codarts. In 2013 she obtained an MA of choreography at Tallinn University. She performed all over the world, and worked with Richard Siegal, Dylan Newcomb, Amy Raymond, Fine5 Dance Theater, Teet Kask, Jüri Nael a.o. In 2010 her solo performance Circle Through was awarded the First Prize at the International Festival of Modern Choreography in Vitebsk, Belarus. She is also a guest teacher at different universities in Estonia, Norway and the Netherlands.

Kenneth Flak is educated at the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Norway and the Amsterdam Arts School in the Netherlands. He has performed in works of André Gingras, Dansdesign, Richard Siegal, Kari Hoaas, Preeti Vasudevan and many others. In 2007 he received a Bessie Performer’s Award in New York for CYP17, a solo created by André Gingras at Korzo productions. In 2010 he was nominated as a choreographer for the BNG Award for his Korzo production Of Gods and Driftwood. Flak is a guest teacher at universities and professional workshops around the world. As a self-taught composer and interactive systems programmer, he creates music for his own and many others’ choreographies and dance films.

For the CaDance Festival 2015 they created at Korzo Wild Places :: Mountain.

Choreographers and dancers Külli Roosna and Kenneth Flak left the warmth of the city behind them and set off with their crew for the rugged highlands of Norway. There they made part one of a trilogy, Wild Places : : Mountain. They sought inspiration in the Deep Ecology theory by Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss, which proceeds from a deep connection between man and nature. Out of their wish to take responsibility for nature instead of dominating it, Roosna and Flak present a rough no man’s land in the theatre.

25th of March, 1949: Külli Roosna’s grandmother was deported to Siberia together with tens of thousands of other Estonians. Many didn’t survive the journey. Her memories of this are not somebody’s cleverly written fiction novel, but are personal and very real experiences of living under an oppressive regime.

Can you fight monsters without becoming one yourself? In an age of lone wolf terrorism and the rise of old extremisms in new uniforms, Roosna & Flak reflect on the experience of living under the yoke of totalitarian ideas in an evening-length dance performance. How can an individual resist an absolute power without destroying her own values and herself in the process? What is a single life worth in the big scheme of things, when horrible means are justified by a seemingly noble end? The Wolf Project is a chilling physical document exploring a history of terror and oppression, of forces lurking in the shadows of our apparently well-groomed democracy, never more than a grand idea away.

A: May I lay my heart at your feet?
B: Only if you don't make a mess on the floor.

- Heiner Müller

The Norwegian choreographer Kenneth Flak worked for years for Korzo before he emigrated to Estonia where he collaborated with dancer and choreographer Külli Roosna to make productions under the name of Roosna & Flak. Their consistently intelligent work explores such subjects as ecology, Viking mythology, Internet culture, and the absolutist character of totalitarian thought. In ´Prime Mover´, they approach movement as cause and effect; as freedom, but also as inevitability. A prime mover is an impulse to act. But it is also the gigantic machinery we are all part of, the sum of ecology, technology, history, sensations, and dreams. We try to find our way through this landscape. We look, listen, feel, and think. Sometimes we achieve the illusion of security, but then something changes in reality and we are lost, time and time again. The audience is invited to enter a living, breathing universe, with no real beginning or ending, where play and earnestness merge, where thought and movement are one and the same.  

The old Norwegian mythology is a constant source of inspiration in the work of choreographer and dancer Kenneth Flak. For the Festival Classique he has created a duet to Saga Dream (1908), a famous work by Danish composer Carl Nielsen. Saga Dream is a tone poem for orchestra based on the Icelandic Njal Saga in which a violent dream of the character Gunnar is portrayed with a message of hope for a better future.

choreography and dance Kenneth Flak and Külli Roosna
made possible by Korzo productions

For Of Gods and Driftwood, choreographer Kenneth Flak found inspiration in three gods from Norse mythology: Odin, the god of war and wisdom, Thor, the god of lightening, and Loki, trickster and god of mischief. The contrast between Odin’s enormous desire for knowledge and Thor’s equally great urge to act, are put into perspective by the egotistical, duplicitous, and chaotic Loki; the joker of Norse mythology who always makes for new problems.

The Norse gods are extremely human, in every possible sense of the word, and with all possible weaknesses. The world in which these gods meet is one of cruelty, violence, and yet one of breathtaking beauty. What matters is survival, and failing that, to die in style. In Of Gods and Driftwood, Flak and dancers explore what these characters represent in our contemporary society, and what they have to tell us in this day and age.

Click here to watch a webclip of Of Gods and Driftwood on YouTube:

God Studies by Kenneth Flak was presented at another dance event from Korzo Voorjaarsontwaken in 2008 and is the last in a movement study for the evening-length trio Of Gods And Driftwood.

The piece is a dialogue with gods from the Norse mythology: Odin, god of war and wisdom, Thor, god of thunder and Loke, god of mischief. The universe of these Viking gods is brutal, violent and beautiful at the same time: the only thing that matters is survival, and, where survival is no longer possible, to die in style. Kenneth Flak is asking whether these characters and what they represent are relevant for contemporary man, and what that relevance might be.

The performance The Chinese Room premiered in 2010. The point of departure is the question of what is the next step in human evolution. Will the human race finally merge with machines and with each other, permanently linking us together in a universal organism? Together with dancer Külli Roosna, light designer Thomas Dotzler and multimedia artist Matsuo Kunihiko, Kenneth explores the new Humanity 2.0. Can we remain human in a networked reality where technology, biology, mind and power have all become one?

Choreographers and dancers Manuel Ronda and Kenneth Flak set foot in the deep caverns of their souls. Ronda and Flak became friends at the Theaterschool Amsterdam and shared an interest in the limitations a space can enforce. At that time they made plans to create something together, and a decade later they are finally able to fulfil this wish.

In 2Halves they portray two characters that try and come to terms with themselves, with their torn histories, their incoherent thoughts, and their vulnerability. Nothing is as it seems. They use their shared memories and fantasies as an Ariadne’s thread to find their way in no-man’s-land.

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