Transit - Tero Saarinen Company


Tero Saarinen‘s latest large-scale choreography is set to Stonework (2015), Drifts (2016–17) and Water Atlas (2018) by composer Sebastian Fagerlund. The trilogy is combined with the spatial sound design of Tuomas Norvio, known for his imaginative work in electronic music.

The stage design centers on a dialog between an animated film installation by visual artist duo IC-98 and the lighting design by Minna Tiikkainen. This is the first time IC-98’s internationally praised work is seen in performing arts. The black and white video is based on material hand-drawn by pencil. Costume designer Teemu Muurimäki brings even more layers to the work as the dancers in a sense shed away their skin in an effort to unveil a new future.

Transit is a Nordic co-production. Following Skånes Dansteater’s premiere season at Malmö Opera, the creation will be in Tero Saarinen Company’s own repertoire from 2021.

80 minutes, no intermission
October 3, 2020, Malmö Opera, Sweden
Skånes Dansteater (Sweden) with Tero Saarinen Company

”Gesamtkunstwerk - simultaneously disturbing and hopeful”


“Cleverly executed [...] vibrates with energy”


”Frighteningly beautiful — mixes the classical with the experimental.”


“Dystopia with hope for change”


Choreographer's Note

“Humankind is destroying nature. And at the same time, we are severely distancing ourselves from our own bodies and our surroundings. However, we are all part of the flora and fauna and thus deeply interconnected. I believe us dancers and choreographers have a special sensitivity, a heightened ability – even responsibility – to perceive and transmit certain vibrational frequencies that live within us all.

Transit is a frantically performed ritual, a fight for survival and change. Although it talks of erosion and destruction, it also has a strong message of a new possibility rising from the ashes. It is time for us to reconnect with nature.

Having the privilege of working with the entire ensemble of Skånes Dansteater has given me the possibility to use versatile micro-macro dynamics in my choreography: To zoom in and out while scrutinizing the troubled relationship between us humans and the nature.

The video installation by IC-98 serves as a sort of architectural ’bassline’ for the whole creation. Like the nature that surrounds us, it is a constant presence that evolves slowly. A somewhat cinematic audiovisual experience is created on stage when it is combined with all the other elements and rhythms.”

– Tero Saarinen


Listen to Episode #7 of Dancepod by Skånes Dansteater! Transit dancer Samuel Denton interviewed Tero in July and discussed the themes and the creative process in depth.

About the music and sound design

Transit begins with the middle part of composer Sebastian Fagerlund’s trilogy, Drifts. An initially slowly evolving piece, alluding to formations created by weather, wind and water. The piece Stonework is inspired by rock formations in nature and stone constructions erected by humans around the world, guiding landmarks or ritual sites. About the final part, Water Atlas, Fagerlund has written:

”The main inspirational starting point for the work was the abstract thought of water as an element; its endless and ancient cycle of circulation, evaporation and rain. A cycle which is currently under constant threat due to pollution and climate change.

Finishing the trilogy made me realize how much I in my orchestral music have drawn from Nordic nature. The grand Finnish archipelago and sea with its vast open views as well as the islands with their raw, primary rock continues to provide me with endless inspiration.”

Tuomas Norvio’s sound design is in constant discourse with Fagerlund’s work. Drawing inspiration from the music, IC-98’s sketches and other physical elements on stage, Norvio’s spatial sound design bows to the profoundness of a vast, rugged landscape. Together with Fagerlund’s compositions and Saarinen’s choreography it plays with the micro and the macro. Norvio’s electronic soundscapes aim to emphasize a human being’s internal, mental and physical transit.


Choreography & Concept: Tero Saarinen
Music: Sebastian Fagerlund (Drifts, Stonework, Water Atlas)
Video: IC-98: Visa Suonpää, Patrik Söderlund
Lighting design: Minna Tiikkainen
Costume design: Teemu Muurimäki
Sound design: Tuomas Norvio
Choreographer’s Assistant: David Scarantino
Animators: Kari Kuusela, Markus Lepistö

World premiere season at Malmö Opera by Skånes Dansteater from 3 October to 1 November, 2020.

Dancers: Maria Pilar Abaurrea Zardoya, Sarah Bellugi Klima, Patrick Bragdell Eriksson, Matthew Branham, Anna Borràs Picó, Samuel Denton, Ange-Clémentine Hiroki, Anette Jellne, Laura Lohi, Dario Minoia, Yiorgos Pelagias, Marion Rastouil, Emma Välimäki, Tiemen Stemerding, Jing Yi Wang, Riccardo Zandoná
Dance Interns: Jeanne Delsus, Filippo Franzese, Iris Telting
Rehearsal Directors: Belinda Nusser, Mattias Suneson

Conductor: David Björkman
Malmo Opera Orchestra

performance photos: Skånes Dansteater / Carl Thorborg