Dacha, the Horizontal Vertical

A collage picturing the city- and rural scape in Arkhangelsk by dance artist Susanna Voiushina

“Keho on Dacha” concept was born while most of our team have been working on a project called “Moving Barents – Out of Urgency“, an international dance project responding to climate change and the crisis state of the world.

Six dance artists from four countries – Norway, Finland, Sweden and Russia – were exploring the planet’s dramatic contexts through improvisation in dance and digital art.

The Russian dance artists’ Susanna Voiushina’s and Dmitry Melnikov’s research was informed by dachas, their physicality, aesthetics and conflicts between the natural and the urban, between the isolation and unity. The emotional and artistic discoveries they shared were fascinating, and in the end evolved into further research which was one of the things that brought us to working within “Keho on Dacha”.

Now, in the beginning of our research, we are happy to share the memories of those first sprouts of inspiration. These photos were taken by Susanna Voiushina and Dmitry Melnikov in Arkhangelsk, Russia.

Dacha site in Arkhangelsk. Photo by Susanna Voiushina

Here is what Susanna says about how these sites made them rethink the relationship between the horizontal and the vertical, the urban and the rural:

Many of us (especially at the time of Covid) were trying to escape from big cities
and move to the countryside. We are willing to live closer to nature, feeling it makes us healthier and happier. We prefer to stay in our own house with some small garden instead of city apartments.

Cityscape in Arkhangelsk. Photo by Susanna Voiushina

But it turns to be a very special cultural experience when we look at this aspect
in Russia: DACHA as a cultural code of a person.

Dacha site in Arkhangelsk. Photo by Susanna Voiushina

Can you imagine Soviet nine-story building inverted from vertical to horizontal?
Basically this is the way how we see Dacha villages. Why we decide to live so close to each other in a country that has the largest territory in the world?
How can nature manifest itself there?

Dance artists Susanna Voiushina and Dmitry Melnikov exploring the shapes and angles of dacha. Screenshot of a personal archive video

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