“Finally, Something Different!” – this was the audience’s comment at the end of Elle Sofe Sara’s show, the Indigenous Sámi choreographer from Norway. Accompanied by long applause, which brought the singer-dancers back to the stage five times, Sofe Sara’s performance was truly remarkable. She is multi-awarded in international festivals and promotes polyphonic singing yoik, a traditional Sami singing style. Her work delves deeper into the intentions behind the movements, the glances, and the artists’ stage presence.
The choreography is inspired by several demonstrations Elle Sofe Sara took part in the years, Sami spiritual practices, and group dances. The show, started in the cloister and then moved to the Zubin Mehta room, is featured by an essential scenography, where the red remembers the gákti lappish costume and reinforces the message of community and connection with nature that distinguishes the Sami people.
Elle Sofe Sara has experienced firsthand what injustice can do to a community: the Sami people have no state but are spread over four countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia) and face significant social, cultural, and political challenges. What makes the Sami people unique is their religion and their belief in inanimate objects, like trees, so that shamans act as intermediaries between the natural and spiritual worlds.
With “Vástádus eana / The Answer Is Land,” a large-scale production with yoiks sung live on stage, Elle Sofe Sara pays tribute to all the people who want to make the world a better place.
The harmony during the singing, intoned by seven female dancers dressed in black, adds a unique dimension to the play. The word disappears giving way to body language that tells us endless stories of life experiences as abuse, violence and fights.
The yoiks were written especially for the show by the composer and yoik instructor Frode Fjellheim, best known as the author of the 2002 song “Eatnemen Vuelie,” which was later adapted as the opening musical number of Frozen.
Northern Europe, which surprisingly voted right at last election after years of Social-Democracy, reminds us of the importance of community through this remarkable performance.
The show is part of the thirtieth edition of the Fabbrica Europa festival.
Here you can find the program https://fabbricaeuropa.net/