Ali & Alpo

Production info

Arabic traditional music and Finnish contemporary dance meet in a wordless dialogue

“There is a man, dance and music. That’s all it takes, they are enough to say a great deal, and straight from the heart. It brings a lump to your throat. […] It is hard to hold back the tears, at the very latest, when both dancer and musician come on stage for the final bows.” Helsingin Sanomat 17.3.2017

The original aim of Ali & Alpo – a joint work by Iraqi oud lute virtuoso Ali Alawad and choreographer and dance artist Alpo Aaltokoski – was to expand the dialogue between music and dance into a co-existence, and ultimately a dialogue, between two mutually alien cultures; to contemplate the similarities and differences between Arabic and Western art and culture. But things turned out differently. The rejection of Alawad’s asylum applications dramatically affected the genesis of the work, and its final form. In order to avoid forced repatriation, Alawad fled Finland in March 2017 – two weeks before the premiere. Nevertheless, Ali & Alpo was staged according to Alawad’s wishes, since he still took part in the performance via a video projection. The piece touchingly brings out the human experience of and a human viewpoint on the consequences of an increasingly restrictive asylum policy.

Alawad and Aaltokoski began collaborating in spring 2016, when Alawad took part in the celebration of Aaltokoski’s 30 years as an artist at the Alexander Theatre in Helsinki. Ali Alawad had arrived in Finland as an asylum seeker in September 2015. In the past few years, he had been forced to keep his profession secret in his home country of Iraq. “Working as a musician in Iraq can be risky, since some extremist groups see being a professional musician as contrary to Islam,” Alawad says.

Work group:

Choreography and Dance: Alpo Aaltokoski
Music: Ali Alawad
Light Design: Kari Gratseff
Sound Design: Johanna Storm
Costume Design: Marja Uusitalo
Video Shooting: Thomas Freundlicht
Video Script: Alpo Aaltokoski
Video Editing: Joe Davidow
Photography: Alejandro Lorenzo, Tanja Ahola
Production: Kai Artes/Alpo Aaltokoski Company and Culture Centre Caisa

Press quotations

Performance history

March 15, 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo (PREMIERE) – International Cultural Centre Caisa, Helsinki

March 16, 2:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – International Cultural Centre Caisa, Helsinki

March 16, 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – International Cultural Centre Caisa, Helsinki

April 11, 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – International Cultural Centre Caisa, Helsinki

April 12, 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – International Cultural Centre Caisa, Helsinki

April 20, 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Barker-theatre, Turku

August 12.
Ali & Alpo – Humle Festival, Uusikaarlepyy

September 10, 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Tehdasfestivaali Manifesti, Turku

October 25, 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Syktyvkar, Russia

November 20, 2:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Cultural Centre Stoa, Helsinki

November 22, 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Cultural Centre Stoa, Helsinki

November 25, 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Cultural Centre Stoa, Helsinki

2018

May 22, 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Tanssivirtaa festivaali, Tampere

July 27,  6:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Fullmoon Dance Festival, Pyhäjärvi

July 29,  7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Fullmoon Dance Festival, Pyhäjärvi

August 24,  6:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – private occasion, Mynämäki

August 24,  7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – private occasion, Mynämäki

August 31, 4:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – pitching, Düsseldorf

September 7, 12:00 pm and 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Sotku, Kuopio

September 26, 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Painotalo, Äänekoski

September 28, klo 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Joutsan yhtenäiskoulu, Joutsa

September 29, klo 7:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Vitikkala School, Jämsä

2019

April 19, 19:00 pm
Ali & Alpo – Tendency Dance Festival, Krasnodar

April 25, 20:30 pm
Ali & Alpo – Horizont Dance Festival, Miskolc

August 6, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 7, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 8, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 9, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 10, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 11, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 13, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 14, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 15, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 16, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 17, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 18, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 20, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 21, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 22, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 23, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 24, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

August 25, 13:05 pm
Ali & Alpo – Summerhall, Old lab, Edinburgh

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