Tero Saarinen Company follows its heart into new territory
Tero Saarinen Company is renewing its operations and will be producing more pieces also by other choreographers. The new piece Heart Drive, choreographed by Imre and Marne van Opstal, will have its European premiere in Dance House Helsinki in June. This article was originally published in Finnish Dance in Focus 2023 magazine.
Dance House Helsinki | Tero Saarinen Company: Van Opstal / Karttunen 9.-16.6. 2023 ›
Dance House Helsinki | Tero Saarinen Company: Transit 4. – 6.10. 2023 ›
“It is important for the company to pave the way for a change of generation in good time, as well as bringing audiences pieces by other choreographers, alongside our own repertoire,” explains Choreographer Tero Saarinen.
Tero Saarinen Company, which was founded in 1996, is expanding its operations and will be producing more pieces also by other choreographers in its portfolio. The first piece TSC commissioned from a choreographer outside the group was Johanna Nuutinen’s Hz, which premiered at Dance House Helsinki in spring 2022.
“The idea of expanding our operations came about a number of years ago, when we were considering long-term goals,” says Saarinen. “Organising residencies and through that, opening up our doors and offering different working platforms to the next generation have also been long-time dreams. Thanks to our new premises, residencies at TSC Studio in Helsinki have also become a possibility.”
Tero Saarinen Company is one of Dance House Helsinki’s ‘programme partners’. “We have three performance seasons at the venue each year, which we use to host new premieres, re-premieres, and visits from international companies,” explains TSC’s Managing Director Iiris Autio.
The individuality, and the desire and ability to portray something universal and touching through movement, left their mark on me
In June 2023, Heart Drive is set to be performed on Dance House Helsinki’s main stage. It’s a commissioned choreography from Dutch siblings Imre and Marne van Opstal. The new Tero Saarinen Company creation was produced in collaboration with the Canadian group Ballet BC.
“I saw the piece Take Root, which Imre and Marne created for Nederlands Dans Theater, a few years ago in Germany. I was particularly taken by their talent for creating original movement, as well as by the piece as a whole. The individuality, and the desire and ability to portray something universal and touching through movement, left their mark on me,” explains Tero Saarinen.
Ballet BC’s Artistic Director Medhi Walerski and Saarinen have known one another for a long time – years ago, Walerski danced choreography created by Saarinen for NDT. “When it became apparent some time ago that we were both interested in commissioning a premiere from Imre and Marne van Opstal for the same season, we suggested a joint production, and Medhi Walerski jumped at the idea,” explains Saarinen.
The objective was to ensure a longer-than-normal lifecycle for the piece
“The objective behind combining resources and collaboration was to ensure a longer-than-normal lifecycle for the piece, and it seems that we have been very successful in that respect,” Iiris Autio adds. “It’s also easier to agree on performance rights between groups operating on different continents.”
Heart Drive’s premiere took place in Vancouver in November 2022, performed by Ballet BC’s dancers. In June 2023, the piece will premiere in Europe, when Tero Saarinen Company’s dancers offer their interpretation in Helsinki.