Islands of Utopia: Veden äärellä – Found Q&A

Hey Foundsters! As the opening of Found Fest get closer, we’re taking a closer look at some of the projects in our lineup and what they’re all about!

About Islands of Utopia: Veden äärellä: Veden äärellä Tells the story of two friends growing nearby the North Saskatchewan River. Physical and playful, this piece unfolds with the River Valley as a setting and invites us to reflect on our experiences, memories, and significant moments with the water around us.  

Thanks to Dani Torres for promo photos of Islands of Utopia: Veden äärellä

Common Ground (CG): What are some of the inspirations behind the piece you’re bring to Found?

Deviani Andrea, creator/performer (DA): The River Valley/North Saskatchewan River; growing up close to a body a water; finding spaces to spend time when growing up.

Deviani Andrea and Janita Frantsi

CG: What’s been the road leading up to Found for this work?

DA: Artistically, great! I already had the structure of the piece (it was premiered in 2022) but working with my long time collaborator, Janita Frantsi, I wanted to change the piece so it had her essence too. We talked about the third places we used to visit when transitioning from childhood to youth; talked about how life would have been growing up in Amiscwacy, close to the North Saskatchewan; and finally got to use my knowledge in Kaeja Elevations.

Production-wise, it was bumpy. Islands of Utopia: Veden aarella got accepted in many festivals across Alberta and British Columbia, however, due to lack of funding, we had to let go some touring stops. We did present it in Vancouver this June as part of DanceWest Network’s DADAO Residency. It was great to get to connect with the dance community there.

Deviani Andrea and Janita Frantsi

CG: What should audiences expect from your piece?

DA: We included “regular” activities (drawing, blowing bubbles, hand games) in our choreography, so we want people to feel that they have the option to join us in the games. For safety, we will start marking the space where we’ll be dancing, but we’ll leave things for the audience to play with outside of that space.

CG: What do you feel inspired by as an artist?

DA: Physicality, risk, story-telling through movement, audience engagement, creating and nourishing dance audiences.