“Transit is one of the finest and most impressive works of Tero Saarinen’s career as a choreographer, both as a Gesamtkunstwerk in all its elements and as a performance. Sebastian Fagerlund’s trilogy together with Tuomas Norvio’s intelligently nuanced sound design fills the space effectively, while subtly guiding viewers’ feelings and the viewing experience.
The story [about the birth and destruction of humankind] is carried forward by IC-98’s, i.e. Visa Suonpää and Patrik Söderlund’s, breath-takingly gorgeous video installation.
Saarinen is able to subtly express what he has to say through abstract alienation, so that everything is visible, but it is up to viewers to find it for themselves. […] Having internalized the movement language, the whole ensemble is technically fantastic, energetic, and present with a fierce sensitivity.
Transit is a performance that is worth seeing and should be seen by as many people as possible to see. It has something to give, with interfaces on so many levels. This is not an easy or lightweight performance, but challenging and searing, almost painfully beautiful, yet one that nourishes hope.”
– DEMOKRAATTI, Annikki Alku, 20 August, 2021 (Finland)
“The choreographer Tero Saarinen’s Transit is a visually dazzling Gesamtkunstwerk that interweaves dance, video installation, lights, costumes and music. It also uses mythical images to mirror major themes, the loss of natural diversity and humankind’s battle for survival – but without being heavy-handed, leaving room for the imagination. […]
Minna Tiikkainen’s lighting design is captivatingly spacious and the showers of light beams falling from the ceiling, in particular, seemed to accentuate the strand of hope in the themes. Teemu Muurimäki’s sculptural costumes add to the sense of spectacle.
Tero Saarinen’s choreography relies heavily on the ensemble, which is welded into a single unit. The team of dancers creates stunning stage images: they roll around in a circle on the ground and form swaying chains, painterly clusters, or a mythically many-handed being. In places the dancers cavort in the aura of the sun, while in others the Earth’s gravitational pull returns them to slumped postures.
When the dense formations dissolve, the dancers’ own distinctive movements come to the fore. For example, the passages by Jing-Yi Wang, a member of Skånes Dansteater who danced in the premiere of Transit, were captivating in their internal energy.”
– RONDO, Harri Kuusisaari, 21 August, 2021 (Finland)
“Creating a Gesamtkunstwerk is characteristic of Tero Saarinen as a choreographer, his intense style always engages in lively dialogue with other artforms.
Sebastian Fagerlund’s music feels perfect for the work’s nature themes and is just visual enough to have its own powerful voice while still leaving room for dance. […] Sound designer Tuomas Norvio outright brilliantly embroiders the boundary zones between Fagerlund’s three orchestral works, while also employing immersive audio tools to help transport the viewer into and out of the world of the performance. […]
Saarinen makes deft use of his twelve dancers. Despite as usual having recourse to skilled, fascinating individuals, it is above all the collective that acts here, sometimes as a pulsating organic cluster. […] The movement language felt fresh, as if Saarinen was thinking along new lines without relinquishing his characteristic signature.”
– HUFVUDSTADSBLADET, Tove Djupsjöbacka, 20 August, 2021 (Finland)
“In the dependable manner of Tero Saarinen’s works all the sub-aspects have been thought through to a high standard and the coherent weave is skilfully executed. […] When I think about Transit I notice how at times I floated totally in synch with Sebastian Fagerlund’s music, at times I was intoxicated by the work’s visual stardust and open space.
The circle descending from the roof, with its surging video installations by IC-98, i.e. Patrik Söderlund and Visa Suonpää, and Minna Tiikkainen’s lighting design feel almost like a bodily experience. […] Fagerlund’s humming, cooing and roaring music has us feel nature on our skin so much so that one hopes one day to see Transit with a live orchestra. The group of thirteen consists partly of experienced dancers who have worked with Saarinen before and younger dancers from the Finnish National Ballet Youth Company.
The shared mindset is evident in this physically strenuous work. According to choreographer Saarinen, Transit is a struggle for survival in the face of major change, and deals with the fragile relationship between human and nature. There is anxiety and fear here. Do we have any hope or not?”
– HELSINGIN SANOMAT, Merja Koskiniemi, 20 August, 2021 (Finland)
”A state of emergency also prevails for the audience, where a corona adapted crowd of fifty rattles around at a safe distance from each other in the large auditorium. Crisis and a feeling of impending danger that is repeated in the first part of the work, dominated by the artist duo IC 98’s large-scale round video projection.
A growing hole in the ozone layer? Or something microscopically small, which multiplies unnoticeably inside our bodies? Initially, only the struggle for survival is shared, when the dancers individually fight against the darkness and the shrinking space of movement. The light that grows in Minna Tiikainen’s sensitive design is both a threat and a promise of a continuation.
On the basis of composer Sebastian Fagerlund’s suggestive and persistently dark trilogy ‘Drifts’ / ‘Stonework’ / ‘Water Atlas’, Tero Saarinen creates a claustrophobic choreography, which only in the last part of the work lifts and opens up to the audience.
From the stage’s blackbox, dark as night, the day rises and becomes a backdrop of blinding white, against which the dancers’ movements are projected and duplicated. Teemu Muurimäki’s costumes, which initially have been perceived as only contours, become transparent wings and cloth that enhance the impression of insects that are inexorably drawn to the light source.
This is, if anything, a Gesamtkunstwerk, where the parts have been skilfully joined together into a simultaneously disturbing and hopeful whole.”
– SYDSVENSKAN, Boel Gerell, 5 October, 2020 (Sweden)
– DANSTIDNINGEN, Ingela Brovik, 9 October, 2020 (Sweden)
”The sound of weather, water and wind sweeps around the auditorium. A cluster of dancers moves close to the floor over a black, shiny surface. The amount of bodies shapes something organic, a life of some kind. Above the dancers hovers a giant oval projection, which pulsates, develops and changes.
Skånes Dansteater takes to the stage at Malmö Opera in collaboration with Finnish choreographer Tero Saarinen. From the first note, the opera orchestra vibrates the air with Sebastian Fagerlund’s trilogy Stonework (2014), Drifts (2016-17) and Water Atlas (2018). The projections of artist duo IC-98 open up the ceeling and let the universe in. A fantastic collaboration between distinguished artists results in a frighteningly beautiful dystopian work at Malmö Opera.
Transit depicts a universe with life and movement, but in change. The forces of nature are embodied through the various artistic expressions, where dance, music and visual art are carefully combined into a universal artwork
Tero Saarinen’s choreography is cohesive and, like the music, mixes the classical with the experimental. In Transit, the bodies of the dancers form a unified organism, where something suddenly changes, deviates and develops into something new. From lying and crawling to sitting and standing, the dancers resemble spasms, cell division or molecules in a microscope.
Skånes Dansteater is, as so often, part of the current debate and makes a furious contribution together with Tero Saarinen to the loss of biological diversity. Transit is a story about change, an artistic biology lesson about the climate, the universe, biodiversity and human life. Congratulations if you who manage to get one of the few tickets. And with the hope of a filmed version for a larger audience. This is something to see and hear! ”
– KRISTIANSBLADET, Andrea Grapengiesser, 5 October, 2020 (Sweden)
“Saarinen let their techniques form an energetic melting pot. Transit is a work where dance and music together with light, sound and video design form different layers that go seamlessly into each other.
With a sure instinct Sebastian Fagerlund’s dramatic music (which is brought to life by the Malmö Opera Orchestra), Toumas Norvio’s grinding, electronic soundscape, Minna Tikkainen’s skilful lighting design and not least the artist duo IC-98’s video projections are brought together to an elaborate whole.
The inspiration for Transit comes from nature, the human impact and the loss of biodiversity. A highly topical and important theme.
The dancers often move together like an ocean where individual dancers sometimes break the waves like lonely ships on the troubled surface of the water.
Individually, in pairs or in groups, the dancers become small basis of restrained strength and fervor. They become the backbone of the vibrating nerve that characterizes Transit. The whole performance contains a streak of darkness and a creeping feeling of something resembling desperation.
Things are not as they usually are at Malmö Opera and that is exactly how it should be in these corona times. /…/ it is a joy to see that artistry and creativity continue to flourish in the pandemic era.”
– SKÅNSKA DAGBLADET, Kristina Nilsson, 5 October, 2020 (Sweden)