Change of generation boosts the street cred of Dance Theatre Minimi


A new phase started in Dance Theatre Minimi, based in Kuopio, Eastern Finland as young contemporary dancers Mikko Makkonen and Iiro Näkki stepped into company’s managing roles in April 2020. The theatre’s new directors come from the freelance world, with strong roots in street dance culture, circus arts, and parkour.

Iiro Näkki’s & Mikko Makkonen’s new duet piece Atlas is planned to be premiered in Odense; Denmark in the end of June’20 as a part of the street festival Dance All Year Long ©Mikko Pirinen

Minimi was founded thirty years ago as a professional dance theatre, with its operations based on its touring repertoire. It is one of 11 dance groups who receive regular government funding, and provides employment for dozens of artists each year.

The new directors, like the theatre itself, are in their thirties. Both are graduates of master’s degree programmes in dance art and work as performers, choreographers and teachers, with physicality, street styles and acrobatic skill taking centre stage in their work, alongside contemporary dance.

“We want to preserve Minimi’s tradition of open-mindedly combining performing arts across genre boundaries, and working together with theatres and different operators on the field,” says Mikko Makkonen.

“Minimi has always trusted in young creators and given them opportunities.”

“The physicality of dance will be emphasised during our time at Minimi and in our signature aesthetic,” Makkonen continues. “We will bring with us phenomena of our time, forms of expression typical of our generation and younger people, and the opportunities these kinds of expressive forms offer.”

The new directors brought new ways to work: In Spring 2020 Minimi started its first open call for artistic proposals. The open call ended on 15th of March receiving 150 artistic proposals from all over the world. “At the moment we’re busy to go through all the applications and to build the programme of 2021. We’re truly honoured to receive so many interesting proposals from artists working with different stage disciplines.”, says Makkonen and Näkki.

What could the embodiments and agencies of a body assumed to be masculine look like in 2020? Due to the corona situation the premiere of Mikko Makkonen’s and the working group’s choreography Actions x Figures for Zodiak – Center for New Dance got cancelled. “We’re looking for new dates for the perfromances with Zodiak. Anyhow Actions x Figures will be seen as a part of Minimi’s programme in Kuopio on 7th-24th of October”, Makkonen says.

Mikko Makkonen & Iiro Näkki ©Dance Theatre Minimi