MBM Förlag, Sweden, 2013

“Pahkinen is a traveller with antennae and an appetite for spiritual experiences and those of the flesh. Her words are full of poetic imagery, overflowing with the power of nature and hysterically funny.

“The spiritual dimension of her dance art and the specific references of her works open doors to audiences in completely different cultures, certainly an interesting observation of a snake eater, whose book, with its wealth of impressions expands the universe of the reader and sets it spinning.”
Anna Ångström, Svenska Dagbladet

“As an author Pahkinen has a fine eye for the discoveries of travel. Her prose varies between precise observation and evasively poetic... Beautiful, fascinating, readable.”
Örjan Abrahamsson, Dagens Nyheter

"In her book she describes the journeys, the working discipline – which is considerable – and the many men, part of her inward seeking journey. Physicality and eroticism, friendships, one-off adventures; sometimes it sounds like Don Giovanni’s catalogue aria, yet it contains no deceit. Only extreme freedom. And the striving of the shaman to establish contact with spiritual worlds is closely related to the work of the artist in attaining her form of expression. The rite also incorporates the origin of what we term art for the stage and for audiences."
Margareta Sörenson, Expressen


Atena Kustannus, Finland, 2009

Cosmopolitan of Dance
Dancer and choreographer Virpi Pahkinen´s experiences and perspectives stimulate every sense

Virpi Pahkinen is known globally as a Finnish-born Swedish dancer and choreographer whose works have been performed around the world for 20 years. She has become such a cosmopolitan with universal views that her roots in Jyväskylä, a town in central Finland, can hardly be perceived at all.
In her freshly-published work she writes about personal experiences and perspectives originally and unpredictably. The wild freedom of Snake-eater's details and the poetic visions of its prose are a source of both power and levity.
The book speaks about a dancer's and a cosmopolitan lifestyle, but the text also includes highly entertaining anecdotes about different cultural features.

Electric silence
The psycho-physical glamour of Pahkinen's text appeals to all the senses and her insatiably alert prose demonstrates that there is a lot more to a dancer's life than merely eating apples under the pressure of strict training.
The evenings in bars and sensual encounters speak a universal language as part of the whole. They are not intimate confessions as such, but rather light ways to touch time and the world, find more meaning outside oneself, or alternatively lose the meaning in human doubt.
Meetings with friends, new acquaintances or one-night stands manifest the electricity created by chance. Yoga on the other hand offers the dance artist a way to concentrate her power through silence.
Meanings in Pahkinen's dance grow from the inside out and back again, away from the flow of time. The 'snake', which varies in many ways throughout the book, also serves as a motif for the mythical cycle of life and death. It reflects the idea of metamorphosis: striving for the world and to escape the world, always in a new way.

The dance of life
Snake-eater recycles details from real-life events, but its language refers to and draws one into something deeper. Artistic creation searches in the book for a way to break through language, and this manifests as a dance work - as an encounter with individual events and the universe.
Snake-eater portrays the moment of creation very poetically and stirringly: "My body begins to grow new forms and movement phrases quicker than I can think. The smell of a well-pickled secret spreads up my arm. The majesty of the night has left his calling card. I undress death.
The book is a fascinating stimulus for an enquiring mind. When one has witnessed the dancer slither out from under a locked toilet door after the Guanajuato City Theatre performance in Mexico, one has seen the power of improvisation, the primary motor of dance.

Reija Palttala, Keskisuomalainen
Translation: Don McCracken