Results of Finnish-Russian contemporary dance collaboration

ARTICLES
11.2.2016

The results of the Finnish-Russian dance collaboration have been manifold. The past few months have seen the first Russian-Finnish co-production of contemporary dance, first Finnish contemporary dance festival in Russia and the start of Finnish lead workshops for Russian dancers in Saint Petersburg.

The Russian-Finnish Dance Programme, carried out by Dance Info Finland and the Embassy of Finland in Moscow, began two years ago, and it has created successful relations and co-operations between Russian and Finnish dance artists and dance organizations.

Lost Voices of Humdrum, the first Finnish-Russian co-production funded by the programme, premiered in January. It is a co-production of the artistic director of Pori Dance Company, Mikko Lampinen and Bye Bye Ballet – contemporary dance centre from St.Petersburg. Lampinen believes, that the meaning and effects of collaboration will be realized in the future. ”Various ideas, feelings and new relations arouse. Also, the after show discussions opened up interesting views about the performance, and even about the whole process,” he describes.

Finnish Dance Weekends is a workshop collaboration with Dance House Kannon Dance? in Saint Petersburg. During those weekends Finnish dance artists share their knowledge, technique and ideas for Russian dancers.

”I realized that I was bringing the participants something that they had not experienced before,” describes one of the teachers, dance artist Janina Rajakangas. ”I also understood how much the context we work in affects our work and dance itself.”

New impulses for everyone

In December, the first Finnish contemporary dance festival Skoro Finnish Dance presented Finnish contemporary dance in Saint Petersburg.

”We wanted to show the variety of Finnish contemporary dance – what contemporary dance can mean in Finland”, tells the artistic director Olesya Kazakova. She explains that the differences can be quite significant. ”For our local audiences some of the performances may not be dance at all.” Indeed, many of the audience members wanted to discuss the meanings of the performances afterwards. Choreographer Sonja Jokiniemi, who performed at the festival with her pieceHmm, stresses that dialogue is important. ”Understanding the piece is not necessary”, Jokiniemi states.

Maria and Igor Teplyakov had won tickets to the festival from Finnish Institute of Saint Petersburg. They describe the performances strange in a good way. ”I would definitely come and see Finnish contemporary dance again. Life is sometimes so grey, that new impulses are welcome”, considers Maria Teplyakov.

The future of Finnish-Russian dance programme depends on the funding

Mikko Lampinen feels that the project has been very successful. ”In a relatively short time, tens of dancers, producers and groups from both countries have been able to perform, share and network together.”

Lost Voices of Humdrum © Marina Sekahceva

Lost Voices of Humdrum © Marina Sekahceva

”There are differences between Finnish and Russian dance fields, as the administration and organizations are organized differently. But with communication and practical co-operation, it is possible to create and learn new ways to work together. I feel there is a great potential on Finnish-Russian cultural co-operation.”

 

Written by Inka Reijonen, Tiia Lappalainen.

 

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