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Finnish choreographer Tero Saarinen’s new creation, "Next of Kin", for his own company premiered in Vilnius last May.

Tero Saarinen Company’s performance at the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre was part of the International Contemporary Dance Festival New Baltic Dance 2008, held during the Kedja 1st Dance Encounter seminar. The piece, co-produced by prominent international partners, will also be performed at London’s Southbank Centre on May 23-24, and will receive its Finnish premiere at the Helsinki Festival on August 27th. Performances at the Alexander Theatre in Helsinki continue until September 13th. For autumn 2008, the piece is also scheduled for the Lyon Biennial in France (Sept. 23-25) and several cities in the US (Oct. 21-Nov. 1).

Along with Saarinen’s unique choreographic style, powerful visual form and live music are quintessential to his works – and "Next of Kin" is no exception. Saarinen describes his new creation as a surrealistic journey into the collective unconscious. The imaginative visual landscape on stage has once again been conjured into existence by Saarinen’s visionary creative team: lighting and set designer Mikki Kunttu and costume designer Erika Turunen. Complemented on this occasion by the work of wig and make-up designer Pekka Helynen, this dark, dreamlike world draws on influences including the expressionist silent and horror-film makers of the 1920’s and Film-Noir aesthetics.

In "Next of Kin", the hallucinatory journey in the choreography is brought to life by an unforeheard soundscape created by composer-musician Jarmo Saari. Performing live on stage with Tero Saarinen Company’s dancers, his 21st century one-man-band, Jarmo Saari Solu, combines instruments such as the glass harp, Theremin and viola da gamba with a pre-recorded, layered and processed collage of sounds made more intense by surround sound designed by Heikki Iso-Ahola.

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Saarinen’s new work is an international co-production and has been eagerly anticipated; the previous Tero Saarinen Company premiere, "Borrowed Light", was in autumn 2004. This has since received widespread international acclaim, most recently this spring in Australia and New Zealand, where critics and audiences alike raved about Saarinen’s Shaker-inspired work. His latest choreography was created for the Lorraine Opera and Ballet in France. Mariage, set to Igor Stravinsky’s "Les Noces", featuring 62 dancers and singers on stage, premiered in December 2007.