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Swan Lake completely renewed
…The piece is extremely funny, ironic and even a bit mean and it throws hints here and there.Pepeljajev is making intelligently and enjoyably challenging dance-theatre. Swan Lake is a piece above all othersand Tshaikovski’s music is as good as it gets. Pepeljajev doesn’t make fun of the piece itself but he questions the tradition into which it has been connected in Soviet Union. He looks at Swan Lake in cultural and social context, which is a fresh and funny view into the piece.
…The viewer cannot miss the hints to the current events – as well as to Iraq as to the ecological catastrophes caused by oil...In the brilliantly used video-picture the swan-lines of white ballet take turns with the tractors. This, of course, refers to the Soviet-reality and –illusions...Sergei Zagny has processed Tshaikovski’s music in an excellent way for this piece and it is played by Esthonian Nyyd Ensemble. Sacred Tshaikovski isn’t made fun of; the divine beauty of the music can also be heard here…
 …The co-operation of Pepeljajev and Peeter Jalakas, the artistic director of Tallinn’s Von Krahl –theatre, is most delicious dance-theatre in which the brilliantly used video-picture throws more nuts for viewers to crack. There were surely many little hints that didn’t open up or weren’t noticed – the piece left behind an urge to see it again. Hopefully this Swan Lake will someday also be seen in Finland.
Jussi Tossavainen, Helsingin Sanomat 5.3.2003

From the Western point of the view the phrase the Russian modern dance is commonly considered as a so called conceptual contradiction . As phenomenon whose various elements never meet or if they do meet, it will take place in a helplessly old fashioned way.
The latest premiere of Aurinkobaletti shows that this conceptual contradiction is a relic of the times past. In the Russian cultural terrain Sasha Pepelyaev from Moscow represents avantgarde and from the Finnish point of view not less than the present moment means of expression.
The beautiful but yet deformed choreography
Pepelyaev`s choreography Head Down Flyer is a complete success, and a peace of work worthy of the 20 years jubilee of Aurinkobaletti. It is beautiful but deformed, funny yet sad, nostalgic and aspiring at the same time.
Pepelyaev examines the phenomena from different angles, through variations, and reveals that they also always include their own contrast. For a very good reason this attitude could be called a postmodern conception of the world.
The choreography is a nostalgic vision of the first attempts to take off, to go beyond the earthboundness of the human being.
Pepelyaev´s nostalgy is not, however, only directed towards everything in the past. On the contrary in his visions the first foolhardy pilots become ironiced. This peace of the work is also an homage to the madness of the human imagination.
The surpassing of one´s limits, the efforts to neutralize the laws of gravitation has been also essential in dance ever since the classical tecnique. In the paring together the pilots flying with the help of the wooden featherwings and the dancers, Pepelyaev is very clearly praising the fury which is so essential in dance.
The cornucopia of movements
This dance drama, lasting an hour and a quarter, consists of various pieces. Pepelyaev´s vision does not freeze into an explicite closure, but the whole construction remains open and in that way the piece stays in constant motion. The choreographer´s method is to organize the scenes so that they can contradict themselves both at the level of movement and at the emotional level. For example, there is a scene offering a beautiful, soft vision of the romantic element in flying in the next episode this poetic atmosphere is wiped out by mechanistic humor and movements.
In the dance expression Pepelyaev combines various elements without hesitation. At the beginning the movements of the six dancers representing a group of early pilots are similar with to the movements shown in the music videos. There is another scene representing flying in the familiar modern dance way of dancers lifting up each others.
In one of the scenes, on the contrary the stylistic versions and variations are achieved by using Russian folklore dancing, including the men performing acrobatic scenes. These are performed with great skill by Urmas Poolamets, Elina Raiskinmäki and Helena Romppanen.
The entertaining duo of Poolamets and Antti Lahti reminds of the movements of circus clowns. All the dancers of Aurinkobaletti achieve their absolute best.
In the beautifully performed solo scene by Helena Romppanen the idea of Head Down Flyer becomes clearly crystallized. The pain of the illusion of flying can be seen in the shivering hands of the dancer, the beauty of flying in the softness of her movements.
Even this, the beautifully sad episode, Pepelyaev contrasts and multiplies with the pilot character of Antti Lahti flapping his wooden feather wings behind the transparent curtain.
The edited music of primitive strength by Kimmo Pohjonen underlines the fury of this dance drama. The costumes by Marjo Tuominen and the lights by Esa Näykki highlight its beauty.
Turun Sanomat , Sat.12nd of May 2001 Finland (translation)

...they not only have a grammar that is as up-to-the-minute as any western counterpart, they have a vision that is unique. .. ...they dance to music by bach, their movement a graceful perpetuum mobile of unison and counterpoint into which filter deadpan parody and cliches... the choreography, invented out of the company's collective imagination, is freewheeling and sensuous, transmitted with infectious verve and humour. the russians are kinetic dadaists, setting into motion rag-bag components to create an illogical, elusive poetry. It plugs into the subconscious layers of your mind and offers a revitalising experience.
nadine meisner, "independent", london, 31.10.00
..pepelyaev moulded an image of an anarchistic dance-composer between fado and the deconstruction of musical and dance folklore; between nostalgic longing and the aggressive exploitation of the remnants of the culture worn down by the system. ...a collage, an unfolding, and a seismic shaking-up of the russian dance tradition.
arnd wezemann, "ballet-internatonal - tanz aktualle", germany
an event. an infectious energy and enthusiasm. the excitment to witness the birth of a russian truly contemporary dancing.
jean pierre thibaudat, "liberation", france
...what makes "one second hand" such a pleasure is the wondrous dancing, which manages to be both sharply precise and billowing, as well as sophisticated lighting and set and mr. pepelyaev's gift for staging and pacing.
jennifer dunning, "the new-york times", usa
...physically arresting, funny, sober, boisterous and mad, the dance was beautifully crafted, and the text, albeit in russian, was rich and atmospheric.
emma manning, "the stage", uk
...sasha pepelyaev's kinetic theatre provided the most memorable piece of the season so far. ismene brown, the daily telegraph ...kinetic theatre claims to be breaking the mould and its performers combine a classical stretch and precision with an anarchic wit and energy that promise a sparkly future.
judith mackrell, "the gurdian", london
..burning performance by the dancers of moscow's kinetic theater.
rachel valentin, "l'est republicain", france, nancy
...what one can see there is absurd, horrible, funny, sad, not understandable and sharply recognizable. Even if one wishes to avoid straight parallels with a reality, besides all that he will certainly find today's russian life, russia itself...
elena vapnichnaya, "russian daily", new york
...this is an exciting moment to see them.
wendy perron, "the dance insider"