Dance and movement can be acts of resistance and change. Given that politicisation is often a very affective an experience, dance and activism are a powerful couple when brought together in an insightful way to advance social and political change. Artistic strategies in activism and activist spirit in making dance-art are together of a great interest for me at the moment. I have been participating especially in the climate justice movement for many years, and am thus intrigued in bringing together political activism and choreographic work through poetic actions, artistic interventions and site-specific creations. However, in addition to resistance also vulnerability is a central part of my dance practice. I believe, that only by acknowledging our vulnerability, are we able to enter a space of creation and strength in arts and life. I am currently doing a research on this with the wonderful performance artist Siri Salminen.
In my work as dance-artist, I am uniting somatic practices, contemporary flamenco, improvisation and rhythmic-musicality with our emotional bodies and imagination. Together with the amazing flamenco artist Marja Rautakorpi I share an on-going exploration on instant composition in the context of flamenco as well as a critical investigation of flamenco pedagogy.
Dancing in unconventional spaces intrigues me. I find it valuable to bring dance-art to public spaces and close to people. I want to create spaces that facilitate the experiencing of community and encounter. My most important teachers in dance and choreographic practice are Maya M. Carroll, Nadja Raszewski, Dana Caspersen, Anet Fröhlicher, Ming Poon, Juan Carlos Lérida and Úrsula López.
Collaboration is an important element in my work and coming together with other makers, activists and scientist has budded meaningful artistic openings in my path. I was part of the participatory performance project DIE KOMPANIE until autumn 2021, and was one of its founding members in 2017. DIE KOMPANIE defines itself as a social and artistic living body.
Selected examples of my work in the field of dance below are, at large, production where I have had the joy to collaborate and create together with others! © Ming Poon (above) and Lakea Film Company (below).
Borders Kill (2015)
Is a series of site-specific interventions in Berlin taking place e.g. in the urban centre of Alexanderplatz and in front of the German right-wing party office of AfD. The piece is inquiring into the absurdity of state borders and selective mobility that is enabled to some and made nearly impossible to others. Drawing from the history of my grand-mothers experience as a refugee-evacuee during the 2nd world war the piece is creating a web of memories, spoken voices and movements that intervene the public space. Repeated words and phrases are directed to the passers by. It has been performed both as a solo and as a group-creation. I was both the choreographer and performer of the piece that was directed by Ming Poon. © Ming Poon
This site-specific dance film questions clear-cutting as a sustainable practice in forestry. It is a choreographic embodiment and meditation on both the loss and re-encounter with the forest. Human experience – body and voice – are connected with the mushroom rhizomes, tree stumps and twigs. The piece is directed by Marie Klawitter and filmed by Sandra Ahlqvist. I work in this creation as a choreographic assistant and performer. © Sandra Ahlqvist
Kätketty_Paljastettu // Concealed_Exposed (2017)
Is a site-specific dance-film on the hidden history of Tampere that I choreographed and performed together with Marja Rautakorpi. In the piece, the boundaries of history and present; human and nature; reality and imagination blend together. The invisible and forgotten becomes embodied in movement and rhythm. It was created and produced together with the Lakea Film Company.
© Lakea Film Company
Die Könige // The Kings (2017)
UTC 7 hours Parallel Performances
Die Könige is a 7 hours durational performance in the Museum of European cultures in Berlin. It is an interdisciplinary creation of barbara caveng and KUNSTASYL. The piece unravels around the questions of flight, fugitive life, arrival, encounter and culture, and it is inspired by the play of Gligamesh and his quest for eternal life. I had the joy of conducting the dance rehearsals and creating the choreographic elements of the piece together with Leonie Naomi Baur and Franziska Maling under the direction of barbara caveng.
© KunstAsyl barbara caveng
Flamenco & Dialogue (2019)
Is a site-specific lecture-performance on the oscillating connection of the present, past and future in the history of flamenco. The piece combines spoken word, rhythm, instant composition and the embodiment of iconic expressions of flamenco with audience participation. Consequently, the piece opens up a space where flamenco and its politics are redefined, questioned and collectively enacted. It was first performed in the library of Rikhardinkadun kirjasto in Helsinki as part of the closing program of Helsinki Flamenco Festival. Choreographic creation together with Tove Djupsjöbacka and Marja Rautakorpi. © Chris Gurney
AALTO // THE WAVE (2019)
In this choreography for five dancers the audience is lead to a meandering and undulating atmosphere that is disrupted with bodies that deviate and question the traditional aesthetics of flamenco-art. The choreography is unraveling unexpected connections between the dancers and the materiality of the bata de cola (the train skirt) that is inviting the body to new movement trajectories and shifts of weight. The unity of metal music and flamenco accompany the moving bodies with a swelling intensity.
©Flamenco Werkstatt, Antonio Dias
Life is what happens - einmal, oft, selten (2019)
Collaborative Flamenco Performance
Life is what happens − einmal, oft, selten is a performative research navigating between conformity, contact, independence and intimacy. The movement language of the performance evolves form flamenco dance and improvisation practices. The piece is asking when and where does the life actually take place? The performance was created in a participatory process with the dancers of Flamenco Werkstatt Berlin and it was premiered in the community dance festival Neukölln Tanzt! in January 2020 in Berlin.
Then, Ur_Balance (2022)
Contemporary flamenco performance
The performance “Then, Ur_Balance” is an embodied research on vulnerability through movement and rhythm. With our (a)rhythmic footwork we ask what is the sound of vulnerability. By consciously entering embodied states of awkwardness, instability and the uncomfortable, we invite the audience on a journey to what it is to be human in the times when the world around us is shaking; where permanence and stability have turned out to be an illusion. Instead of falling into dystopian despair however, we get curious about the possibilities of these shaky places and move through them. The performance premiered as part of Unfinished Fridays Vol. 83 of Lake Studios Berlin in August 2022
Choreography and Performance: Siri Salminen & Henna-Elise Selkälä