KAIHO is the Finnish word for longing and nostalgia; it refers to a state of involuntary solitude in which the subject feels incompleteness and yearns for something unattainable or extremely difficult and tedious to attain.
The project, a cross-art collaboration between dance theatre company Justice in Motion and Finnish Tango band Uusikuu – both comprising of expats themselves - investigates the very topical theme of movement across borders at a time when more people than ever are either voluntarily or involuntarily moving away from their home countries. It examines the reasons for leaving to another country, challenges of settling into a new culture, and how parallel cultural identities evolve over time. Although the reasons for moving and staying may have changed overthe years, the emotions and kaiho, the very essence of longing – may well be timeless.
Our piece will bring the above theme to life before the audience’s eyes through the inter-play between contemporary dance and vintage live music (Finnish Tango); this will also be combined with abstract movement, characterisation and physical storytelling. Film and projection will be used as well to reflect the stories of expatriate women we collected when we first started the project and from further interviews we carry out as the project is beingdeveloped. The aim is to find out about the main reasons for leaving your home country, the emotions and feelings associated with leaving, settling into and living in a new culture, and things that expatriate women long for most, when thinking about their home country.
Although KAIHO was initially inspired by the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence in 2017, meaning many of the women who completed our initial questionnaire were Finnish, we hope to draw parallels to women across a wider range of countries, cultures and nationalities. And we thought it would be particularly interesting to focus on women in our stories, since women are usually more in the background in the migration movements, yet are often the ones that keep their culture and roots alive abroad, while nurturing the traditions also with their children.
These stories will include the good and the bad, the ugly and the joyful, the tender andthe humorous, ensuring that KAIHO’s audiences will be taken on a veritable rollercoaster of emotions.
As well as giving them the chance to enjoy a high-quality piece of art, we will offer them an opportunity to reflect and channel their own experiences in our multicultural community, and hope that our performance will provoke further thought and discussion about migration, both the types society tends to frown on and those that we generally accept as being more positive and inspiring.
Through this campaign, we are hoping to raise at least £2,500, which would fund several important aspects of the project. £500 would cover the cost of costumes for all members of the cast; £300 would pay for the necessary props; and £900 would fund a week of rehearsals for the two dancers. A further £600 would cover the cost of film and projection, which will be used within the piece itself; and the final £200 within the £2,500 target would be enough to cover insurance.
At this stage, KAIHO has three secured performance prospects in the coming year, though if this initial piece should be as successful as hoped, the cast would of course be more than willing to extend the tour so as to enable a wider, more diverse audience to enjoy and engage with the piece.
The first of the booked performances will take place at the Nordic Festival in London on the 25th February '17.
KAIHO will also feature at 'Moving With The Times' during the Dancin' Oxford festival, on 10th & 11th March '17, and in addition, we have the privilege to perform as one of the main artists for the ‘Finland 100’ celebration for expatriate artists in Helsinki on the 15th June '17.
For more information on either Justice in Motion or Uusikuu, please follow the links below. And feel free to get in touch if you have any questions - we would love to hear from you! (Contact details can be found on our respective websites)