A snowed on landscape, everything you thought you knew hidden or changed. Finnish aerialist and dancer Ilona Jäntti is mostly, as a matter of convenience, a soloist, though she often collaborates with practitioners from other artforms: with the animator Tuula Jeker for Muualla; cellist Jo Keithley for Cel; lighting designer Ainu Palmu for Footnotes and many other pieces. Her work eschews narrative, instead approaching circus with the eye of a choreographer – accepting that movement, space, the body are elements whose constant interaction tell a story of their own.
Sideshow profiles Finnish aerialist and dancer and not-a-theatre-maker Ilona Jäntti and her un-British body of work.
'I'm not really saying that it's a bad thing to work in narrative, but I was not theatre trained and I just feel that there are so many things in circus that I'd rather explore than how to tell something. I'm just really interested in what you can do with your discipline or with your body, other people, objects you've got within the space you're in. What can you do? I don't think there always has to be a story. I don't think the circus disciplines have to be forced into a theatre format somehow.'
Last year I saw and reviewed the first part of Muualla, a collaboration between exceptional Finnish aerialist Ilona Jäntti and animator Tuula Jeker, and was broadly charmed by the world it created—a child's realm of exploration and pantomime danger where both the pleasures and the threats were imaginary.
Ilona Jäntti is a tremendous aerialist. She’s been in circus a long time and has the consequent deep well of physical resources, but it’s style, really, that sets her apart: graceful but not too-clean, having an all-body approach where elbows, teeth, anything can be used to keep her in the air.