Closed Doors

Production info

Life is often based on a constant race and the idea of growth, which swims into everyday being, creating new needs. That’s when it’s good to stop by the basics of life. Death is the final end point of life that our consciousness understands. It is encountered by all living beings. Death also happens on a smaller scale all the time, moving to a new one often also means giving up… a kind of death. In the piece there is subtly addressed a small slice of the big theme, allowing for discussion and audience reflection on the topic.

Koukkula and Väänänen are 11-time Finnish Champions in competitive dance. Now they are moved more towards contemporary dance, but in Closed doors there are
echoes from their competitive dance carriers.


Choreographer: Alpo Aaltokoski
Dancers: Katja Koukkula and Jussi Väänänen
Light design: Teo Lanerva
Music: Joonas Widenius
Sound Design: Johanna Storm
Costume design: Liisa Pesonen
Photos: Mikko Rasila
Graphic design: Pietari Kaakkomäki
Production: Alpo Aaltokoski Company with KokoTeatteri
Sponsor: Suomen Kulttuurirahasto

Duration: 50 minutes

Premiere 13.10.2020, KokoTeatteri, Helsinki

Press reviews

Maria Säkö, Helsingin Sanomat 22.10.2020

Katja Koukkula and Jussi Väänänen are known for competitive dance and especially pair dance, but in recent years they have started to appear more and more in contemporary dance works. Alpo Aaltokoski’s choreography Closed doors push the performers out of their very own careers. The echoes of the competitive dance movements, especially the intense footwork and showy stretches, still live on in their expression. —

— Both Koukkula and Väänänen are constantly colliding with something invisible that interrupts the movement, perhaps they are limited by those closed doors. In this work, however, the doors float in the air, leaving a lot of space and space around them, which eventually becomes part of the performers ’expression as well.

In closed doors, the language of movement reaches a human encounter – Aaltokoski does not compromise on movement or encounter for the benefit of either. Maybe that’s why Closed Doors feels so harmonious even during big themes of loss and surrender., Mervi Leivo, 21.10.2020

The information of the work delivers on its promises, the personality is strongly present in the simultaneous solos of both Katja Koukkula and Jussi Väänänen. There is a common language and direction, but there is no dancing together, at least not physically. The viewer must give up the pair dance, the temptation to see the duet, and decide which solo to follow. Admittedly, the performance space is ingeniously constructed, the safety gaps between the spectators bring the dancers close and close, the personality becomes intimate and intense. Viewers on the same level and space as the dancers form a living landscape and I notice reactions of those sitting on the diagonal with me, the reactions to the dance as I watch the dancer. Attention to an experience that can be bothersome, but personally I don’t experience it that way, although of course I’m also part of that landscape. Forming a stage serves the encounter in a way that is only possible in this time. Democratic solution.

Demokraatti, Annikki Alku 15.10.2020

The solos are clearly different. Koukkula’s language of movement is smaller and softer and happens more internally. Väänänen’s movements are more space-oriented and larger and sharper. Both dancers also go through different feelings of confusion and disbelief about denial and all-encompassing pain in their solos.

Performance history

Premiere: KokoTeatteri, Helsinki 13.10.2020

Other performances at KokoTeatteri:

Manifesti, Turku, Manilla-teatteri 18.9.2021

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