Iiro Näkki’s choreography is dictated by space and the environment

Tiia Lappalainen, 5.5.2020

The works of Iiro Näkki, a dance and circus artist, aren’t easily defined as belonging to any genre. Tiia Lappalainen wrote an article about Näkki to the Finnish Dance in Focus magazine (2019-2020).

Iiro Näkki ©Uupi Tirronen

Näkki began dancing at the age of five. He wanted to become a magician, attended a circus school, studied acrobatics and got more familiar with parkour, which in many ways became an important channel of expression for him.

Näkki’s work mixes different movement practices ranging from contact improvisation to boxing, dance, tango, partnering, the Chinese pole and acrobatics.

‘I’ve got no particular message or policy. I’m not bound by any specific genre but I try to adapt myself to different environments and produce works that differ a fair amount from each other,’ says Näkki.

Because of the specific influence of parkour, Näkki’s choreographies and works are often dictated by the environment instead of a particular theme or topic.

‘Observing the environment is important to me. My works construct themselves and are a commentary on the place, the situation or the atmosphere in which they are created,’ Näkki says.

Unusually, space and creating its proportions take priority over choreography for Näkki.

‘When I was studying for an MA in choreography at Helsinki Theatre Academy I found the emptiness of the dance hall particularly difficult. It’s a space into which you build things out of nothing. In my final piece of work I began to fill and create a space which would look like me, and only after that did I start pondering what kind corporeal practices I would combine  in it, ‘ says Näkki.

‘For me, choreographing the proportions of space and the boundaries it creates form a sort of strategy.’

Näkki’s latest work, Frames, was premiered in May 2019.  200 kg of textiles filled and defined the space into which the choreographer fitted his movement content.

It was also typical of Näkki that the work was based on a previous one created by him five years earlier.

‘I do a lot of retrospective work and return to my previous creations. I recycle my works in subsequent ones, though it isn’t always obvious or made explicit to the audience.

Iiro Näkki started as a joint director of dance theatre Minimi with Mikko Makkonen in April 2020.