Dance as activism – the new Finnish Dance in Focus magazine lights sparks of hope

Sanna Kangasluoma, 14.9.2020

What can dance do in the face of the world's major problems? What are the hot topics in dance, and what's going on in Finland? Finnish Dance in Focus 2020 issue is out, get your copy from us.

Focus magazine cover

On the cover: Target Helsinki: The Food Party’s Over. Photo: Noora Geagea

This year, we have found ourselves in a global situation so serious that artists cannot simply sit back and ignore it. In this edition of the Finnish Dance in Focus magazine, dance artists tell us about how they are drawing attention through their work to the environmental and human emergency we are facing. Artists have a need to make their audiences think, to create a sense of kinship, and to light sparks of hope.

In his essay How to dance against climate change, Teemu Mäki asks if it is shameful to create dance performances during the sixth mass extinction, or if there is something we can do. He proposes different ways of using art as a means of activism.

Several Finnish choreographers and companies have already put into practice similar ideas. Fern Orchestra creates performances that are characterized by their inclusion of living organisms other than humans – like plants or algae. Tero Saarinen‘s new piece vibrates in the connection between the body and nature. Sanna Kekäläinen‘s premiere If I Would Lose My Voice examines the human impact on the planet, the result of the exploitation of the earth.

Finnish Dance in Focus magazine 2020 introduces also dancers who use social media as their stage: Target Helsinki who play with food in the cover picture.

The story of two choreographer buddies who went on an exploration to the Arctic Sea and created a dance film in extreme conditions shows that sometimes making art means taking real risks – like facing a polar bear… Read about Valtteri Raekallio’s and Thomas Freundlich’s new film.

The spotlight is on four choreographers with their own distinct styles and practices: Vera Lapitskaya finds that dance and poetry, as art forms, speak highly similar languages; Hanna-Pajala Assefa creates works for VR and XR environments; Michaela the Queen of Fucking Everything gets her inspiration from the cosmic energies flowing within a human being; and Marika Peura‘s source of strength is freestyle hip hop that brings together music, friends and movement.

And we proudly present the Choreographer in Focus 2020: Milla Koistinen. She is interested in crowds and their power on the individual, in tenderness and violence, and in involving non-professionals of all ages in her performances.

Finnish Dance in Focus 2020 issue is out. Get your copy from us if the postman didn’t already deliver it to you: send us a note (with your address) to