As a child, ballet dancer Viola Länsivuori ran back and forth in the hallway of the opera house café. Now she is participating in the Helsinki International Ballet Competition with a program that she had to learn in an instant due to the couple’s injuries.
Greened Töölönlahti awakens in the summer. In the café of the Opera House staff, dancers queue for lunch rolls in their training net and quilted slippers. A long corridor runs through the café, with a colorful mural at each end.
“As a kid, I liked to run back and forth this corridor endlessly and I remember the shades of the paintings in detail,” says the ballet dancer Viola Länsivuori now 22 years old.
She has grown up dancing all her life. Both parents, Marilena Fontoura and Kare Länsivuoriare former dancers of the National Ballet.
“While my parents were in practice, Dad put a little slide in the pole trees for me, which I went up and down.”
Viola Länsivuori started dancing at the age of six at the National Opera Ballet School, continued from there to the house ‘s youth group and is now dancing for the first time in the National Ballet Group.
“I know the house thoroughly and the practitioners have seen me since I was a baby. The opera house is like my second home. ”
This spring, the West Mountain has been seen In a nutcracker, In Sibelius, In the swan pond, Tripla: Made in Finland and the National Ballet 100th Anniversary Gala.
In addition to her actual work, she has prepared for the Helsinki International Ballet Competition, which will bring young top dancers from Töölönlahti to Italy, the United States, Japan and Colombia at the beginning of June. There are a total of 62 participating dancers, seven of whom are Finns.
Just a month ago, Viola Länsivuori trained her dance couple for the competition Aapo Kokkonen with. There had been rehearsals since January, and the final straight was already starting to loom. At the beginning of May, however, Kokkonen executed the spiral of his knee in the pirouette and had to cancel the race.
“This was really annoying for Aapo,” Länsivuori says. “I wondered for a couple of days if I would be left out altogether, but I decided not to give up.”
Plans had to be completely rebuilt from the flight. Länsivuori and Kokkonen had practiced pas de deux, or double dances, throughout the spring. Now Länsivuori had to train new software.
“In a month, I’ve had to take over two new contemporary solos and one new classic variation,” he says.
“Right now, there are so many rehearsals that I practically almost live in an opera house, I just go to bed at home. And it’s really nice. ”
Dancer For the body, rest is at least as important as exercise. How does Länsivuori get his body back in a tight training tube?
“I go to the sauna, eat and sleep well and take care of vitamins,” she says.
“In addition, the Opera House has a 9-degree cold water pool, which sits for eight minutes after a workout.”
The body recovers faster after exercising when exposed to the cold, and cold therapy also reduces delayed muscle pain after exercise.
“The cold water pool is super efficient,” he says.
And how does the dancer’s mind stay in control in a competitive situation? The West Mountain admits that it tends to be nervous at times.
“I calm myself before going on stage by breathing and taking the movements in peace through my mind. In the end, though, it’s just about dancing. ”
“It’s also important to think that I’m not competing against anyone else, but above all I’m challenging myself.”
In competitions the young dancer gets to show off their skills and empathize with big roles that the group’s repertoire wouldn’t be able to play.
“In the shows I dance alongside the others, but in the ballet competitions I am alone on stage and everyone is just watching me. The situation is completely new. ”
The most respected leaders in the international ballet world will enter the competitions. Sometimes appearing in a competition can even lead to job offers. “Races can be a good springboard for really anything,” the dancer says.
Viola Länsivuori’s parents have retired from the National Ballet and currently live in Portugal for the winters. They only returned to Finland recently. Over the course of the spring, Länsivuori has filmed and sent them videos of his dance.
“I’ve gotten the best advice from my parents,” she says. “There are always technical things that can be improved, but the most important thing is to remember to enjoy the stage and have fun.”
The ninth Helsinki International Ballet Competition will be held from May 30 to June 6, 2022.