|Faces of the artists, dance companies, venues
As we mentioned earlier, Finnish dancers tend to have long careers which means there is a large dance population ranging from veterans to young newcomers. There are many artists besides people like Jorma Uotinen and Tero Saarinen mentioned above.
Among the more mature choreographers and dancers are ones who went to America to study under Merce Cunningham and then returned to Finland. Like Reijo Kela, who did experimental or outdoor works that shared elements of method with the performance art of the U.S. in the 60s while showing social/political viewpoints through a unique style of expression.
There is also Tommi Kitti, who was originally trained in jazz dance but whose works feature strong choreography that draws energetic movement from other genre like ballet and show dance.
Another leading artist, and one who didn’t come to dance until later in life, is Alpo Aaltokoski, concentrating mostly on solo works and known for stylish pieces that combine sharp, well-trained movement with film and lighting.
Among the younger artists is Susanna Leinonen, who performed at the 2004 Aoyama Dance Biennale.
She won the Grand Prize at the Saitama International Creative Dance Contest.
He turned to free-lance performance after a stint as one of the lading dancers at the Helsinki City Theatre Dance Company.
She does attractive solo performances that use technique borrowed from yoga and other Eastern methods.
[The systems supporting dance]
The size of Finnish dance companies is relatively small, with the exception of the National Ballet Company. For example, the pamphlet for the Helsinki City Theatre Dance Company boasts that it is one of Finland’s largest companies, but in fact there are only about ten full-time member dancers in the company. And, the Tero Saarinen company continues to perform internationally with a basic core of only a handful of full member dancers. They employ the other dancers they may need to fill the roles for each of the specific works they perform. Regardless of whether they are regular members of a production company, however, many excellent dancers are working independently. And, the large number of dancers giving solo performances is another characteristic of the Finnish dance scene.
One of the most active production groups is Nomadi Productions, and it is the group to which Arja Raatikainen, Katri Soini, Alpo Aaltokoski and Jyrki Karttunen belong.
In terms of the theaters, halls and studios that serve as venues for contemporary dance performances, there are few large facilities with the exception of the National Opera House in Helsinki. Among the best-known venues where dance is performed regularly are the Art Space Kiasma, a comprehensive arts space in Helsinki, and a space known as the Cable Factory, which was created in a former factory complex. Stoa the Cultural Centre of Eastern Helsinki shows a lot of contemporary dance, too.
It is located in the center of Helsinki near the Helsinki Central Station and it also contains a modern art gallery space. It is a facility with a unique program concept that focuses on cutting edge multimedia visual arts including design, film and media art. It seems that modern art exhibitions have also been held with accompanying dance programs. There is an active schedule of dance workshops and performances going on here.
‹The Cable Factory›
The Cable Factory consists of several connected buildings in a huge space where workshops, recitals and performances are held, and it also focuses efforts on nurturing young artists.