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Actor & yoga teacher, Anna Olkinuora’s workshop is all about letting the body speak

moting, voice, expressions—there’s a lot that goes into acting. But when it comes to movement, not many actors pause to explore how it can enhance their performance. Conveying meaning through actions (and we don’t mean miming here) can be daunting and it was one of the triggers behind theatre artiste and yoga instructor Anna Olkinuora’s movement workshops. “I’ve been involved with theatre all my life, and in my 20s, I travelled extensively—meeting many people with whom I didn’t share a language. This got me interested in movement languages and physical theatre,” begins the 34-year-old, who is currently based in Bengaluru. “I love poetry, too, and I soon realised the two share something—they are both abstract and leave a lot of room for interpretation. So I thought why not mix poetry and physical theatre and see what happens,” adds Olkinuora, who’ll be conducting a two-day workshop here the coming weekend.
Memory play
In her workshops, which she has been conducting for the last two years, Olkinuora has blended elements of different disciplines like butoh (a form of Japanese dance theatre), mime, contemporary dance and yoga. “You don’t have to be a professional to take part. This is just a way to explore yourself. I am there to nudge you in the right direction, give stimuli, ideas and images that will help you dig deep and find movement, breath and voice,” says the artiste who hails from Finland. Explaining how she incorporates yoga into her body work—more as a warm up to help connect breath and the body (no asanas or pranayama here)—Olkinuora shares one of the many exercises she gives participants. “In the segment, Memory Sculptures, I’ll give you emotions that all of us have felt—like joy , jealousy or disgust—and ask you to find a memory that reflects it. You have to then sculpt your body into a pose that represents that feeling for you, hold it for a while, and then explore what kind of movement could come out of it,” she says.
Blurring lines
Besides the bodywork, she also incorporates text to act as a stimulus—mostly poems written by her friends. “I don’t use works by famous poets because then you have an idea of what the poet is like. I once did this exercise with Sylvia Plath’s poems and all the interpretations came out very suicidal,” laughs Olkinuora, who has a bachelor of arts in physical theatre and film studies from St Mary’s University in the UK. The workshop will begin with individual work and then move on to partner and group work. “I have seen people really open up during these sessions. We will also do a lot of sharing—of what we like, what we’ve done and how we felt—during the class,” she signs off.
On April 18-19, at Spaces, from 10 am to 3 pm. `3,000. Registrations close on April 15. Details: 9677172897

—Surya Praphulla Kumar


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