I was dancing the house’s operations have started rapidly after the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic eased in the spring and the performance season was able to start.
According to industry experts, the space has made Helsinki one of the European dance cities. The strengths are in the space’s volume and technical possibilities, but expensive rent limits operations.
Read more: The long-awaited Tanssi talo is a showcase for dance, but the only rehearsal hall is in the old building’s attic: “It didn’t fit on the lot,” says the executive director
I was dancing in-house communications specialist Sarah Orasen according to the company, the house has proven its usefulness among industry players. The calendar is already full for next year as well.
Oranen especially emphasizes the technical capacity of the space, which enables the visits of large international productions.
“It is unique in itself that there is a large hall built for dance,” says Oranen.
The building attracts operators especially with the adaptability of the halls. The large stage and technology of the Erkko hall enable various ensembles for the needs of both dance and contemporary circus.
According to Oranen, the public has also found the place well.
The spring and autumn productions have sold out, for example, some of the Tero Saarinen Company’s and Helsinki festival weeks’ performances. According to Oranen, the Life for a Child concert also gathered a full house, as did the visit to Tanztheater Wuppertal in November.
Helsingin Sanomat dance critic and dance expert Jukka O. Miettinen according to spring and the beginning of the autumn season, the fears about the possible oversized size of the large space have proved to be unfounded.
Before Tanssi talo was completed, there was a discussion in the industry about whether the 700-seat Erkko Hall is even too big.
The past season has shown that this is not the case, says Miettinen. The audience has really been enough.
The facility’s absolute strengths are precisely that large international productions have been able to make their visits to Finland. The house has decisively changed the dance offer in Helsinki and the whole of Finland, says Miettinen.
“It raised Helsinki to a European dance city, at least to the level of Stockholm.”
The space’s strengths are in volume. In that large-scale international productions can realize their works here.
The downside of a large space is expensive rent. According to Miettinen, it would be important to discuss, for example, where Finnish small operators could get so much financial support that they too could afford to use the building comprehensively.
“It’s been a great start, but we’re struggling to figure out how to continue.”
Sufficient funding for operations raised concerns already during the construction phase of the house. The reduced space rents are made possible by the basic financing of Tanssi talo’s operations, which is 650,000 euros per year from both the city of Helsinki and the state, so a total of 1.3 million euros. Thanks to these subsidies, the house does not have to ask all customers for rent at the market price.
Choreography Anna Mustonen i harpsichordist Marianna Henriksson teos Eros premieres in the Erkko hall of Tanssi talu on October 6.
According to Mustonen, the large Erkko hall creates a suitable setting for the work exploring distances.
”In Eros there are 18 performers, and the show is interested in the distances and proximities between us. The large space of the Erkko hall works well for that. It’s wonderful how much air and space there is.”
However, the work group’s practice time in the space is quite limited, which brings with it challenges, says Mustonen.
Large-scale touring productions that have already premiered elsewhere are easier to move from one stage to another with a faster schedule than first performances, Mustonen estimates.
According to him, when making first performances, a short rehearsal time in the performance space may affect the fact that the performances end up dancing on the big stage in a way that has already been found to work.
“Making art for yourself is not about knowing in advance that this will work. It is a constant question of whether it could be like this here or could we be here like this. The performance is built in relation to the performance space, and it is important that the space is allowed to influence the performance and the physical being of the performers.”
According to Mustonen, this requires time.
Of some the performances of the works seen in the house are also relatively short, covering only about four screens.
The program manager of the dance house Mikael Aaltonen according to this is typical for a visiting theater.
“If you think about repertory theatres, then thinking about a calendar is completely different,” says Aaltonen.
In the framework agreement made in 2015, Tanssi Hall was defined as an annual financial contribution of 1.3 million euros, supported by the city and the state. Many of the influencers in the field hoped to increase the financing of the operation already during the construction phase of the house. Thus, Tanssi talo would have opportunities to implement its own program policy and not just offer rental services to dance groups from outside.
Now my own artistic profile has been implemented thanks to funding from foundations and projects like Sparks for Tanssi talo. As productions financed by the Sparks project of domestic dance supported by the Finnish Cultural Fund, a total of six premieres will be held in Tanssi talo during the years 2022–2023.
Autumn dance performances
The first ones Sparks premieres in October when Outi Markkulan teos Procession–Parade–Parad premieres in Pannuhalli. Markkula’s work deals with the flow of tradition and the transition in time through bodily memory. The work combines dance, music and live photography.
The work group for the work includes Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian members. Markkula has studied folk dance, and in the new work each dancer brings his own artistic tradition and history to the work.
Procession–Parade–Parad -work’s performance season is 19.–22. October
Milla Koistinen Magenta Haze is also part of the Sparks project. The piece’s choreography is created by the audience, the performers and the Austrian visual artist Sandra E. Blattererin about the play between textile objects. In the work, Koistinen continues to focus on the themes of the relationship between the individual and the group, collective joy and ecstasy, which he has also explored in his previous works.
Magenta Haze premieres on October 27 in Tanssi talo’s 700-seat Erkko hall. The performances will take place on the 27th–29th. October
Marianna Henriksson and Anna Mustonen Eros combines early baroque music and new dance. The work explores some kind of time span in relation to the feeling of wanting. It examines “wanting what is not present”. The choreography is a dance about the moment of reaching out and the tension that happens before contact. The soloists of the work are performed by the Finnish Baroque Orchestra.
Eros will be performed in the Erkko hall of Tanssi talo from 6 to 10 October
Others Interesting Finnish works for the autumn season of Tanssi talo include, for example, Kekäläinen & Company’s contemporary dance work Epidermiswhich looks at the state of the earth and the future through the theme of skin.
In the work, the human skin and the “incomprehensibly vast skin of the earth” metaphorically meet, creating an imaginary place. He is responsible for the piece’s choreography and costumes, as well as the script and direction Sanna Kekäläinen.
Epidermis will be performed in the Pannuhalli of Tanssi talus 28.10.–6.11.
I was dancing the house’s autumn international visitor software includes, for example Pina Bauschin full moon (Full Moon). The masterful piece presents the entire spectrum of human emotions, typically combining dance and theatrical expression for Bausch. full moon premiered in 2006. Under the influence of the full moon, the dancers indulge in a rollercoaster of emotions.
To be seen in the house of dance full moon is sold out.
Tero Saarinen Company and choreographer Tero Saarinen masterpiece VORTEX brings to the House of Dance the visit of the Korean national dance troupe. VORTEX is a modern dance piece inspired by and renewing the Korean tradition. The work premiered at the Korean National Theater in Seoul in 2014.
The National Dance Company of Korea will perform in the Erkko hall on the 22nd-24th. September Tero Saarinen Company is one of Tanssi talo’s official program partners.
Updated on September 21 at 3:03 p.m.: Added information about the state’s financial contribution to the operation of Tanssi talo.
Corrected September 21 at 4:02 p.m.: Contrary to earlier claims in the story, Eros is not part of the Sparks project.