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united dancers of ZUGA

United Dancers of ZUGA is a collective (established in 1999) of dance makers in Tallinn gathered around choreographers-dancers Tiina Mölder, Kaja Kann, Helen Reitsnik & Jarmo Karing.


They have produced lot of works for the stage and site-specific pieces.
First of all they are interested in working process because the result is always relative and depends from the context where it will be placed.
The company has worked in theatres, parks, streets & clubs at the international festivals in Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Russia, US, UK, Netherlands and Sweden.
Right now they came together to make a new piece in appartments or community houses in Tallinn, the title of the work will be "Do I have right not to think". Premiere will be in November 2010.
In autumn 2010 there are also planned ZUGA's children performances "Zuga zuug zuh-zuh-zuh". In September they are playing it in Tartu in "Draama" festival and in October in Tallinn in Kanuti Gildi SAAL.

ZUGA's works have been awarded with several Estonian dance prizes.

  • Tiina Mölder
    has graduated Tallinn University's dance department and improved herself in Vienna, Bucharest, Berlin, Tallinn and with Nir Ben Gal & Liat Dror in Tel Aviv. She has worked with different choreographers from Estonia and abroad, among others with Mark Taylor (USA), Rene Nõmmik, Yoshiko Chuma (USA), Jarmo Karing, Katrin Essenson, Thomas Lehmen (Germany) and others. Last dance works were in Jenni Kivelä's "Ballroom for beginners" and Cid Pearlman's "What we do in winter".
  • Jarmo Karing
    is a choreographer with his original attitude towards dance. He graduated Tallinn University dance department in 2001 and has participated in several workshops with different international teachers (Benno Voorham, Riccardo Morrison, Thomas Lehmen) in Estonia and Germany. 2001 he was been working with the Berlin based Rubato Dance Company. He has a dance studio for young children in Haapsalu. It's called T-Studio.
  • Kaja Kann
    is a choreographer and dancer with circus background. She has worked with dance theatre Fine 5, Von Krahl Theatre / Est. / and Sasha Pepeljaev / Rus. / and made some movements for drama acts.
  • Helen Reitsnik
    has graduated Tallinn University's dance department at same year as Tiina. Helen improved herself in Fine 5 Dance School and has participated in several works of Estonian and other choreographers. She likes hiking and in wintertime she goes in mountain skiing.

works & performances ^

  • "Zuga zuug zuh-zuh-zuh" (2009) ^
    Dance & play: Tiina Mölder, Helen Reitsnik, Kärt Tõnisson, Triin Lilleorg
    Sound design & technical solutions: Kalle Tikas
    Scenery: Liina Tepand
    Co-produced by Kanuti Gildi SAAL
          Culture Endowment of Estonia, 
          Gambling Tax Council of Estonia, 
          Von Krahl Theatre
    Duration: 30'
    Premiere: 10.10.2009 in Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn/Est.

    A dance piece for tiny people. From 2 to 4 years.
    Dance meets play. A journey with movement, sounds and music. Stops at different parts of the body. Legs walk, run, jump, fall. Hands pat, fly, grab. Heads nod, turn. Eyes blink and dance. No chairs. Everybody will sit on the floor. If it feels like watching, just watch. If it feels like taking part, just do it.

    The performance has been awarded with Salme Reek prize 2009 and Estonian independent dance prize 2009.

  • "Wolf and Woman" (2005) ^
    Idea: Tiina Mölder, Kaja Kann, Bush Hartshorn /UK/
    Texts and performance: Kaja Kann, Bush Hartshorn
    Choreography: Tiina Mölder
    Original music: Kalle Tikas
    Performed by: Kaja Kann, Bush Hartshorn
    Video editing: Taavi Varm, Aleks Tenusaar
    Stage design and light design: Kalle Tikas
    Co-produced by Kanuti Gildi SAAL
    Supported by:
          Tallinn City Council Cultural Heritage Department; 
          Cultural Endowment of Estonia; The British Council
          Tallinn and THEOREM, association supported by the 
          EU program Culture 2000
    Duration: 80´
    Premiere: 28.02.2006 in Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn /Est.
    Following performances: 27.,28.02 in Kanuti Gildi SAAL
    and 02.03.2006 in Viljandi Culture Academie
    and 30.03.2006 in Riga in festival "IGAU¿U BALZ¿MS"

    There are one woman and one wolf. They both are living alone. There are two different ways to be alone. Woman knows the Wolf, who is living in the same area with woman, but they never really meet or talk. Wolf knows the Woman. They pass by and they know each others doings.
    Woman is waiting, not doing anything else except her everyday doings - looking out of the window, bringing water, knitting, making food - never eating. She often makes lot of food - different kind of tinned food and preserves (pickled vegetables, meat, fish etc.). In pantry she has a long shelf full of preserves. It seems like she is waiting for somebody to come. Maybe her children will come on one day, or their children or somebody else. She is living alone, but all time she is gathering things and like preparing for something. She needs to have lot of socks (she knits them), lot of food, it's for any case. She has to have a house and a cat and her things. She has lot of time to do the things, she has no hurry.
    Wolf is living alone, without other wolfs. Wolf lives in the forest. May be Wolf is thrown out of a pack or Wolf is too old to be a member of a wolf's pack. May be Wolf do not want to move another place. May be Wolf is waiting something to happen. Wolf is fishing.
    Wolf doesn't have things; when they are needed Wolf takes those things. Wolf doesn't collect anything. Wolf is hungry, for this reason Wolf catches fishes. Wolf needs a fishing-rod to catch fishes. Wolf has two fishes, eats one. What is left Wolf gives away. Wolf doesn't need anything for any case. Wolf walks straight. 
    It's happening in wintertime in countryside. Very important part of the performance is the time. Things and doings take its time, they happen in own time, after long waiting. Woman is talking in Estonian, Wolf in English when they are talking. Mostly there is silence or music. 

    Bush Hartshorn graduated Dartington College of Arts in 1982. He has been working as a truck driver, actor in several theatre companies in UK, performed in TV and movies. He has also been dramaturge and curator in Holland and Belgium. He has been the director of Green Room, a prestigious theatre in Manchester as well as the Director of the Yorkshire Dance, one of ten National Dance Agencies in UK. His favourite football team since 1960 has been Liverpool FC, he has two children and he likes mushrooms prepared by Kaja.

  • "are you ZUGA myth or reality" (2005) ^
    Idea and realization by Kaja Kann, Tiina Mölder, Mairika Plakso
          Kalle Tikas, "Collage", Kärt Johanson ja Robert Jürjendal, 
          Siiri Sisask/RAM, "Horoskoop", Amon Tobin
    Video: Mihkel Putrinš
    Supporting team: Kalle Tikas, Lauri Sepp, Mihkel Putrinš and others
    Co-producers: Kanuti Gildi SAAL (Tallinn); Springdance (Utrecht)
    Special thanks: 
          Dans in Kortrijk (BEL), Põlva Culture Centre, Põlva Ühisgümnaasium, 
          Põlva City Government, Eesti Kultuurkapital, Tallinna Kultuuriväärtuste Amet
    Duration: 60'
    Premiere: 5. of April 2005 in Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn/Est.
    Following performances: 
          7., 8., 11. of April and 11. of May in ZUGA's special in Kanuti Gildi SAAL
          15., 16. of April in Springdance festival in Utrecht/Holland

    Clay has such a structure that it is impossible to figure out what part of it is clay and what part of it is water. You can not separate water form clay since they cling together so tightly. If water enters clay then they're together, they become one. This takes place under the ground all the time. And this is the same clay. At first it seems like there's none, but if you take a closer look then there it is. If you take off the grass, then you see soil and after that there it is clay. Soil and clay do not mix since water makes soil dirty but clay remains still clay. And you can make all kind of things out of clay; you do not have to scald clay. You just make a thing and those things are very good things. They are grey. The last layer of clay is still clay and after that comes soil or air or something else. And in case a seed drops onto the last layer of clay then it forms a ring around it and then another. This is actually a wave. The seed starts to shoot forth inside the clay. It is impossible to go beyond clay since it does not let you go. The seed starts to grow upside down. If you look at it from upside then the leaves grow downwards. If you look form below then the leaves grow towards you.

  • "There are Laika dogs living in Estonia" (2005) ^
    Idea and performance by Kaja Kann
    Music and help by Kalle Tikas
    Duration: 38'
    Coproduced by Dans in Kortrijk, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Springdance
          Talinna Kultuuriväärtuste Amet, 
          Eesti Rahvuskultuuri Fond, 
          Eesti Kultuurkapital
    Premiere at festival dans@tack 13. 14. of April  in Kortrijk/ Belgia.
    12. of May in ZUGA`s special in Kanuti Gildi SAAL

    Behind cold water tap is cold water pipe and behind that is cold water barrel, behind hot water tap is hot water pipe and behind hot water pipe is hot water barrel.
    I am so stupid, all is discovered before me, but I need to get know everything by myself, from the beginning to the end. Otherways I lost my interest. The facts are not helping me. To get to know, I should put new marks and meanings behind words I research. Now I will commet the things I know.

  • "Facing land" (2005) ^
    Idea and performance by Tiina Mölder
    Video: Mihkel Putrinš
    Music: Kärt Johanson & Robert Jürjendal, Amon Tobin, "Collage"
    Duration: 23'
    Coproduced by Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Springdance
          Talinna Kultuuriväärtuste Amet, 
          Eesti Kultuurkapital

    Kevadel petavad kõik linnud, hanepojad ja kanapojad ka petavad. See väide on siiski vana pärimuse mandumine, kuna algse ja veel siiamaani ka üldise uskumuse järgi petavad ainult rändlinnud, kusjuures ärgem unustagem, et metshaned ja -pardid on ju rändlinnud, kellelt linnupete on laiendatud ka kodulindudele.

  • "Little things" (2005) ^
    Idea and performance by Mairika Plakso
    Music: Siiri Sisask/RAM, "Horoskoop"
    Co-producers: Kanuti Gildi SAAL (Tallinn); Springdance (Utrecht)
    Special thanks: 
          Põlva Culture Centre, Põlva Ühisgümnaasium, 
          Põlva City Government, Eesti Kultuurkapital,
          Tallinna Kultuuriväärtuste Amet
    Duration: 25'
    Premiere: 12. of May in ZUGA's special in Kanuti Gildi SAAL

  • ZUGA's children performance ^
    Idea and realization by Tiina Mölder, Kaja Kann, Helen Reitsnik
    Design and technical realization by Kalle Tikas
    Cartoons by Maike Lond
    Photos by Kristiine Kikas
    Produced by ZUGA, Kanuti Gildi SAAL
    Supported by: 
          Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Eesti Kultuurkapital, 
          Tallinna Kultuuriväärtuste Amet, 
          Eksperimentaalse Liikumise Keskus
    Duration: 40'
    Premiere: 14. Nov. 2004 in Kanuti Gildi SAAL

    We are waiting to our performance 5-10 years old audience.
    It is exciting for us to try out how children see dance and movement. Is it fascinating for them to see two over each other wrapped bodies clambering on the floor? Do they see in this picture bustling ants and they'll observe it with excitement or it's boring for them and they can't accept it as a dance. Or do they like to watch the giggling tows or approaching knees? Our purpose was to threaten the audience's fantasy with movements and moving pictures, we as performers will give a hint from where to think further. We'll create positions and situations which are unusual for everyday life and invite children to step into the game.

  • dance performance from united dancers of ZUGA and Beggars Farm "ZUGA teeb suure linna" ^
    Performed by Helen Reitsnik, Tiina Mölder, Kalle Tikas, Heikki Tikas
    Directed by Kaja Kann
    Text and design by Raul Keller
    Duration '50
    Produced by ZUGA, BF, 2.tants promotion
    Support by Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Estonian Cultural Foundation
    Premiere 1. March 2004 in Kanuti Gildi SAAL

    I was listening to a faint sound of a radio next door and tried to catch the melody of the tune. It was playing just loud enough to know it was there, playing. And as I thought I had it, the thing was turned off. Maybe that is why I found it hard to tune in to the company that had entered and were beginning to settle in the guestroom.

    I get a feeling that these two young men and women have found it here by coincidence. They did not arrive together. But they seem to have a common goal. And they are still getting comfortable with each other. I can see that from the innocent clumsiness of their bodies when they meet in the doorway, their eyes that secretly follow each other. Perhaps I am still struggling with the sound of the radio that was turned off. 

  • film "Closed" by Jarmo Karing ^
    Director: Jarmo Karing
    Woman - Annika Üprus, Man - Helgur Rosenthal
    Camera: Kristjan-Jaak Nuudi
    Music: Taavi Laatsit, Jarmo Karing

    The Man has possibility to see a picture through a strange filmcamera. He sees the reflection of his own desires and emotions through the pictures of the Woman. He sees what he wants to see in Woman. She shows what she wants to show to Man. Is this a compromise?

  • project "Introduction to contemporary dance" ^
    A lecture - performance about contemporary dance through ZUGA eyes
    Performing: Tiina Mölder, Kaja Kann, Helen Reitsnik
    Duration: 40 min.
    Prod: Eesti Kontsert

    I part
    The people, spectators are gathering in foyer, dancers are performing at same time part of the performance "Walkers". Their action is almost unremarkable, they are moving as pedestrians, the movements they are using, are from everyday life.
    In fifteen minutes, the motion becomes less chaotic and ends up in dance-like motion.

    II part
    Tiina Mölder is talking from the history of modern dance through 100 years until today.
    We are dancing a part from the performance "Games with sheets".

    III part
    We explain the possibilities of creating choreography.
    Together with people from the audience we will play improvisation games.
    Dance from the performance "The house in Jaama Street".

  • "The House in the Jaama Street" by Tiina Mölder ^
    Concept: Tiina Mölder
    Choreography and performing:
          Tiina Mölder, Helen Reitsnik, Katrin Essenson, 
          Eike Ülevain, Mairika Plakso, Annika Vamper
    Storys: Mehis Heinsaar
    Scenography: Liina Tepand
    Produced by ZUGA and Tartu Teatrilabor
    Duration: 2 hours

    Performance in a house with dances and storys.
    The performance is simultaneously going on in many different rooms of the house. Spectators have the possibility to make out their own performance, to walk through the rooms, watch acts and dances of the geezers living in the house, see the passing clouds, listen the storys, trink tea and see how the day is descending to night.

  • "walking home solo" by Tiina Mölder, Kaja Kann, Jarmo Karing ^
    Performers: Kaja Kann, Tiina Mölder, Jarmo Karing
          "Respondit caritas" Dicte Westergaard Madsen, 
          "Du" Frans Bak, Liina Vahtrik
    Duration: 50'
    Premiere: March 26, 2002. Kanuti Gildi SAAL

    What we were thinking about!!!!!!!!
    It is so good eliminate oneself from the background systems and sustainable developments. Being simply beautiful like a tree or a foot with toes, never like a house that is skilfully placed into the environment.
    I do not know what is good and important and what is not. There are only a few things that are for granted, like to be held in arms.
    It is good here. I followed the structure and reached a door. This is the place for clarity.

    The piece is based on improvisation.

    Philip Morris dance award "work of the year 2002".

  • "1973 or an equation with three variables and one absentee"(2001) by Tiina Mölder ^
    Choreographer: Tiina Mölder
    Dancers : Tiina Mölder, Katrin Essenson, Helen Reitsnik
    Premiere: April 1, 2001 in Tallinn, Estonia
    Producer: Kaja Kann
    Produced by United Dancers of ZUGA & 2.tants promotion
    Supported by Cultural Endowment of Estonia
    Duration: 45 minutes

    The dance performance "1973 or equation with three variables and one absentee" brings together three women, all born in the same year, 1973. All three of them graduated from the same University and are active freelance professional choreographers, dancers and dance teachers.
    The aim of the performance is to explore how these three young women who were born the same year, graduated from the same school and share the same profession, have developed into unique personalities. They have similar figures and build, but their body language and movements are specific to their individual characters. It is less important to see the differences through the competition in the qualities of good and bad, quick and slow than to visualize and emphasize the differences through comparing quality of movement.
    The dancers have decided to bring out these important issues using the means of contemporary dance language, live text, playing with water. They also attempt to encourage audience participation, when offered the opportunity. Therefore every single performance is going to be unique as the reactions and contribution of the audience depends largely on their age and willingness.

  • "1=3" (2001) by Jarmo Karing ^
    Idea, choreography: Jarmo Karing
    Dancers: Katrin Essenson, Taavet Jansen, Tiina Mölder and Annika Üprus
    Scenography: Liina Tepandi
    Music: Taavi Laatsit Hendrik Luuk
    Video: Hannes Praks, Jüri Šestakov
    Photos: Andrus Laansalu

  • "Open" (2000) by Jarmo Karing (solo) ^
    Idea, choreography, lights: Jarmo Karing
    Dancer: Triinu Arund, Annika Üprus
    Music: Veljo Tormis, J.G.Braun
    Duration: 20 minutes
    Produced by 
          united dancers of ZUGA 
          in cooperation with 2.tants promotion (Tallinn)
    premiere: november 2000 at the Von Krahl Theatre (Tallinn)

    Standing in a bus stop I have an irresistible wish to look IN THERE, therefore I get occupied with waiting. I wait to see the sign "OPEN" on the door. It is good to wait on a rainy day. It is a good day to wait when it is raining. And when it is raining for me then it is good to wait.

  • "D&B" (2000) group work (in the clubs) ^
    Choreography and dance: 
          Tiina Mölder, Katrin Essenon, Anna-Liisa Lepasepp, 
          Kaja Kann, Taavet Jansen, Dima Kruus
    Dj: Raul Saaremets
    Costumes: Anu Samarüütel
    Video: Max Surin
    Premiere: Aug 2000 Mutant Disco in Von Krahl Theatre

    The idea of the performance is not to demonstrate the physical possibilities of human body, but to create a casual atmosphere between dancers and audience. At the performing moment, ZUGA and the quests as well are "dancers".
    It is possible to perform "D&B" in the clubs and other similar places, where people are coming to dance and dj's are playing the music. The collaboration between ZUGA and dj's is happening at the place, they both influence each other at the performing moment. The music can be house, ambient, drum&base, jungle, techno, acid, acid jazz etc.
    The performance consists of shorter parts and makes the prevailing atmosphere free and full of surprises.

  • "Flower" (2000) by Jarmo Karing (site specific) ^
    Idea: Annika Üprus, Jarmo Karing
          Annika Üprus, Maris Podekart, Triin Lilleorg, 
          Kärt Tõnisson and Jarmo Karing
    Duration: 20 min.

    Open-air performance "Flower" is a continuation of the "Walkers". The dancers are going in the green areas of the city. Through the body language they express theyr attitude towards city and nature. It is partly improvisational performance.

  • "Walkers" (1999) group work (site specific) ^
    Choreographers and dancers: 
          Tiina Mölder, Kaja Kann, Jarmo Karing, 
          Kenneth Roosipuu, Kaarel Kabin
    Duration: about 30 min

    A piece that can be seen everywhere where people gather

    This is not a dance performance.
    It is movements according to the explanatory directions.

    There are different possibilities to perform the walkers. All conception is very simple, to see and heard and feel and notes, what's going on at the place were walkers should walk. They are not doing anything else, what doing ordinary people same time and same place.
    Zuga is calling people up to see, feel, and touch simple things.
    This piece has been performed at Tallinn (Estonia) Town Hall Square and Railway station; on the streets of Yekaterinburg (Russia), Tartu (Estonia), Malmö and Stockholm (Sweden) and at EXPO 2000 in Hanover (Germany) .

    There are three characters. Their everyday task is to cross the pedestrian crossings. They have had this profession for a long time and they have had enough time to develop their own ways of crossing the streets, beaches, aerobics halls, skating rinks, zebras… they are even paying their social duties by helping others to cross the streets as well as entertaining the bored drivers in the vehicles waiting for their green light. Under the pressure of the extremely quickly developing society, which is mainly dedicated to competition and results and being better than the others, in the deepest forests of Estonia they have developed a new branch of athletics - crossing pentathlon. First, the rules are introduced, then some examples are preformed and finally everyone is welcome to join the crossing pantaloon. Green light is the sign for the start and the crossing has to be performed 5 times and the red light does not end the competition, it only changes the conditions. The first brave and skilful competitor who has completed five crossings is a winner.

  • "Games with sheets" (1999) by Tiina Mölder ^
    Choreographer: Tiina Mölder
    Dancers: Helen Retsnik, Kaja Kann, Jarmo Karing, Tiina Mölder
    Music: Robert Een
    Duration: 20 min

    A dance piece for four dancers.
    in front
    and behind
    the winged sheets
    with wet tows.

  • "X-Generation" (1998) by Jarmo Karing ^
    Choreographer: Jarmo Karing
    Dancers: Liina Andrejev, Anu Mölder, Tiina Mölder, Jarmo Karing
    Music: Sean Talmah
    Duration: 18 min

    Free your mind!
    X - generation is a view of our times and things surrounding us. It's full of little joys, fun, sorrow and teamwork. A dance where people come and go and come again to stay. Working towards their dreams and wishes. Reaching those to set even higher goals and dreams as this us and you, this x - generation.

press ^

  • Instructive and comical actions
    The flexible and tolerant attitude of dancers to the surrounding has an influence inspiring and relieving. 
    In the story there are in addition to tough acrobatics expressive images which refer to friendship, sympathy and love.
    Their fear and desire, common sorrows and difficulties of finding their own way mirroring in state of static tense and there is indefinite intensiveness. Movements are open, intentionally simple and honest. The main message of zuga’ people seem to be handling life by the use of play and fantasy.

    Karin Saarepuu / Viljandi "Sakala" Febr. 2005

  • "ZUGA children piece" as a discovery journey
    Performance as a discovery journey, result of what of the body can remain only a shadow on a curtain., but alive fantasy is finding even there again new images.
    In supple movements of Kaja Kann, Helen Reitsnik and Tiina Mölder there is expression of creative energy, where one image is fluently changing to other one. The pantomime and acrobatics have contaminated influence and children feel speechless joy of the ability of their bodies.
    They are using a interesting hyperbolic grip, where one is forward commands and other one is accomplish them word for word in the place she is at the moment, regardless of it can seem inappropriate.
    The commands of adults are for children often same unreasonable and strange, but adults are demanding obeying to them same consistently.

    Karin Saarepuu / Viljandi “Sakala” Febr. 2005

  • Collaboration of United Dancers of Zuga and Beggars Farm has moved from small studio to the big stage without loosing a bit of their genuine innocence. On the contrary, compared to the premiere (in March 2004) is the composition now even more precise, relationship between dancers and musicians more inventive and humorous. I believe I'm not exaggerating when saying that it is the most genuine dance piece premiered in this year (2004).

    Tiit Tuumalu "Postimees" / October, 2004

  • There is nothing constructive coming out of their playful thoughts. They are building components which are guiding us nowhere. /.../
    Evidently needs the town of their intensions more closeness, so has it nor face nor living idea. /.../
    Still this purposely not ready, passionless, purposeless performance doesn't lead us to the bigger genuineness, rather it's letting us the impression of senselessness. /.../
    Musicians could create truly impressive atmosphere of emptiness and hopelessness.

    Andreas Berger "Braunschweiger Zeitung" / 13.09.2004

  • We have a reason to ask - why? Does this have to do with the apparent easiness of ZUGA that makes one think that this cannot be seriously considered as art? I dare say that I have been pondering myself was is it in fact the professional mirage of an independent creator or the babbling of an innocent baby. This is a fair play from the start till the end - persons on the stage are not trying to be anything more than they are. United dancers of ZUGA have always this smirk on their lips and therefore one can never know what they actually are thinking. They allow themselves to be guided by the questions of what art is and what they really want to do in front of an audience. They show offers a counter-balance to conceptual dance plah plah.

    Tiit Tuumalu "Postimees" / March, 2004

  • ZUGA dancers set out to build a city United Dancers of ZUGA will surprise audiences next, but whatever they do is always a bit mischievous, highly experimental and destined to push the limits of contemporary performance art. She characterizes "Zuga builds a city," which gets its name from an old Estonian saying about making grand plans but never carrying them out, as being nice, warm and, above all, "human." "It is slow and calm, this is the main feeling. But as in life, it's not that kind of feeling all the time," she said.

    Steve Romas "The Baltic Times" / March, 2004

  • Part of the great pleasure of "Walking Home Solo", set to music by Dicte Westergaard Madsen, Frans Bak and Liina Vahtrik, was the way the three dancers played off one another with an alert, easy-going complicity...

    Jennifer Dunning "New York Times" / 2003

  • ZUGA "Walking Home Solo" let it go in the honest field. Conceptual and naive performance will look out from dancers Kaja Kann, Jarmo Karing and Tiina Mölder's eyes.

    Kristina Garancis "SIRP" / 2003

  • ZUGA - Eesti Nokia ZUGA would excist like out of the world-categories. They were romping, bring up headstands, they laughed and they smiled. Endearing stultify. This is too easy to be easy!
    No pioneer is famous at home and therefore ZUGA is no exception. In 1999 the united dancers of ZUGA dashed to the Parnassus of Estonian contemporary dance as X-Generation full of hopes. Now after three years the first conclusions are made with disappointment - dozen performances, several guest performances abroad and … nearly nonexistent reputation at home. We have a reason to ask - why? Does this have to do with the apparent easiness of ZUGA that makes one think that this cannot be seriously considered as art? I dare say that I have been pondering myself what is it in fact - the professional mirage of an independent creator or the babbling of an innocent baby. 
    This is a fair play from the start till the end - persons on the stage are not trying to be anything more than they are. The joy of ZUGA is sincere, even as a reaction to miscarried tricks in their neck-breaking combination of gymnastic exercises that remind me of upside-down Pilobolus. 
    The virgin-like innocence of united dancers of ZUGA is unarming. At the very instant they break to shivers all of the conceptual blab that is increasingly soaking into the dance field. Though one cannot break themselves into shivers, as united dancers of ZUGA have always this smirk on their lips and therefore one can never know what they actually are thinking.

    Tiit Tuumalu "Postimees" / 2002

  • United Dancers of ZUGA fosters a style that has point of contact with 1960s post-modern dance. Movements borrowed from everyday life, playfulness and irony, losing the borders between the dancer and the audience, perfection of the bodies replaced by individuality, process valued instead of the result, so called research projects. We know from dance history that the same principles were implemented forty years ago by a group of friends that gathered in Judson Memorial Church in New York to put a base on modern dance. In a way ZUGA revives this 1960s rebelliousness, but it is not a historical excursion to the beginning of post-modern dance, but a living and breathing art connected with today's life that constantly looks for a contact with concrete time and space.

    Tiit Tuumalu "Postimees" / 2002

  • We know from dance history that the same principles were implemented forty years ago by a group of friends that gathered in Judson Memorial Church in New York to put a base on modern dance. Movements borrowed from everyday life, playfulness and irony, losing the borders between the dancer and the audience, perfection of the bodies replaced by individuality, process valued instead of the result. This piece deserves comparison to the directed documental movie, it becomes a mini model of the society with the audience transforming into the public opinion prohibiting and giving orders and dancers act as chessmen for the audience. Finally through the interactive experiments the performance reaches a stage where numbers 1, 3, 7 present their final solos yarning for the "missing" or more precisely "independent" body that has been captured ultimately by the social "body-standards". This could also be defined as antithesis. As if the performers are trying to warn that dance will get entangled into stereotypes as soon as it accepts its game rules. Through affirmation this performance would deny itself. In case it is like that, then this is a manifestation, clear confrontation to the "beautiful" dance.

    Tiit Tuumalu "Postimees" / 2001

ZUGA performs ^