The Ballet

Koreograf: TEET KASK
Komponist: ERIK WØLLO

URSULA X er en 30 minutters ballett som er inspirert av både klassiske og moderne danseuttrykk. Teet Kask som er
klassisk utdannet danser fra Estland og nå ansatt ved Den Norske Nasjonalballett, forener disse elementene på en ny og
spennende måte. Dans og Musikk er her likeverdige elementer som sammen danner et totalt uttrykk.

URSULA X ble urframført 11. mars 1999 i Paris, (Les Halles). Senere vist i Hanover i Tyskland, Tallinn og Tartu i Estland og
igjen Paris november 2000. Fikk sin norgespremiere ved Nordnorsk Musikkfestuke i Bodø, juli 1999. Egen TV versjon er
også laget og vist på Estisk TV.

URSULA X blir satt opp på det faste årlige repertoaret til Den Nasjonale Ballett i Tallin, som forøvrig er bestiller av dette
verket. URSULA X har mottatt svært positive reaksjoner, og en hel del strålende kritikker.

Balletten bruker legenden om Den Hellige Ursula fra middelalderen som utgangspunkt for en abstrakt handling.

Ursula var i følge legenden, datter av en konge i Britannia. Sammen med 11000 jomfruer flyktet hun på 11 skip for å unngå en beiler som truet landet med krig dersom han ikke fikk henne. Ursulittene foretok en pilegrimsreise, men ble drept av
Hunerne ved Køln i Tyskland. Her ble en kirke bygget over deres relikvier.

A dance product without preservatives:

Ursula X in the maps of Estonia and the world.
Ursula X is like a peace treaty in the Estonian dance landscape that has been pressed into the Procrustean bed of Russian ballet for
decades, but has been reaching out towards the free avant-guarde artistic trends of the big world. A treaty between the two opposite
directions – the modern ballet genre activated by the Estonian choreographer Mai Murdmaa in the 1980-90s and the modern dance
cultivated from 1990s till today by free groups. Ursula X as a treasure-stealing body devil has taken the physical virtuosity of classical
ballet and poured new contents into it – a modern choreographic way of thinking. For the first time the gap between the Estonian
classical and modern dance has been bridged.

Ursula X draws geographical and historical contours on the map of the world from the worlds of Steve Paxton, the father of contact
improvisation, towards the techniques of Humphrey Lim Ìn for sharing kinetic and potential energy, and the relaxation techniques of Charles Linehan. It will digress for a moment also to the landscape of visual dance theatre by Philippe Decouflé.

Ursula X an environment consisting of energy chains
The production Ursula X is accompanied by a unique therapeutic effect. Dance, sound, costumes, decorations come together on equal
levels in this work without crowding each other out. They support each other and help to bring each other out without fighting or a desire to dominate, rather by creating powerful synergy sweetly and from the grounds of joint existence. The sound world created by Erik
Wøllo, where the classical graceful and beautiful melodious world and the urban sound of engines and noises are auditorially combined
and intertwined, serves as a code for the atmosphere of the production. The entire space of the stage is filled with plastic softness and
ceaselessly flowing movement, free of tensions to the extent of 360 degrees. Dancers are like weightless bodies not subjected to the
gravity of the Earth but to the law of conservation of energy. The peculiar movement goes on an in artistically designed vacuum like a
diffusion observed in a test tube – the choreographic text creates a feeling of being constantly on the way, eternal internal and external
collision and attraction between molecules. The dance process abstractly represents an absorption of music into each muscle and
convolution of the brain, pressing it from there to flow in waves from fingers or feet to the torso, in rays from there to the stage space, bump against walls and other dancers. The surface of the stage becomes a lightning rod that earths with sizzles the energy of dancers
in the course of turns and rounds.

Ursula X is no still life with different dance turns or segments, but rather a work of art consisting of a lot of dialogues and even
trilogues between dancers. Choreographic sentences and figures of speech are formed through interactions between people – they
address each other in the language of touching backs, legs, chins, cheeks and noses. This is moving and funny.

Choreographer – a shaman of conditions
The experience of the choreographer Teet Kask as a classical dancer is visible in the choreographic texture of the dance productions.
With his work of art, Kask has created a new product in the dance map of the world that could lay a basis for the trend "new
sensuality". Ursula X has cast off aggressiveness and eurocrash-like cult of technology and emphasises visuality and sensuality.
Sensuality not in the erotic sense, but as a fiesta of body and sense organs both on the surface of the stage and on the retina of the
watcher’s eye.

The background of the choreographer – education in classical ballet – does not allow anything accidental, any gap or dotted line to slip
into the choreographic text of this production.

Ursula X is dense in form, thoroughly composed and physically intense for dancers.
The atmosphere of the production is saturated with dance images, but not so thick that it could be cut with an axe, being rather full of
air and rich in oxygen, leaving space for each gleam and composition. Images find places for themselves in slots next to each other,
they are not threaded one on top of the other or pressed together till some of them get wrinkled. The visual cascade of surprises does
not force or press itself on the audience but rather unrolls itself calmly before the eyes of the watcher by exploiting the physical
excellence of the dancers.

For the choreographer, the personality of the dancer is not so important as his or her part in the ensemble as an equal component next
to the music and decorations. For him it is important to apply his handwriting in the art of creating the atmosphere, for the magic of
condition. New virtuality has not been created in Ursula X through screens or picture tubes according to the tradition of the modern
dance theatre, but through real human signs of flesh and blood here and now. Hence, the product, the production is alive and fresh
without any preservatives.