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Some comments on the "Tanssiva Helsinki" (Dancing Helsinki)

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#1 Jaana Heino

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Posted 15 June 2003 - 10:41 AM

In the end of last week we had here in Helsinki a three-day festival called Tanssiva Helsinki ("Dancing Helsinki"). It consisted of free performances, mostly out-of-doors, in various dance forms.

I didn't see much, as I only were around for a few hours on Friday, but I thought I'd post about what I did see, in case anyone's interested. I know some other Finns on the board saw other stuff, too, and might be persuaded to tell about what they did see.

I spent most of my time in Sanomatalo, watching modern dance. First I saw performances by two dance schools, DCA and Tanssivintti.

Unfortunately I missed the announcements, and don't know if the DCA choreographies were also by the students. If so, I'd call them "promising" - if they were done by someone supposedly already knowing their business, they definitely lacked some feeling. The kids all danced well, though the latter piece was affected by the need of the most agile ones to show off instead of dancing with the rest. This emphasized too much the fact that some of them were still developing the technical capabilities the most lucky ones already had. The technicalities brought out by this were such that possibly without the show-offs one wouldn't have even noticed...:rolleyes:

The Tanssivintti "free students" danced a latino-affected piece, very catching. Most of the performers truly danced from their hearts; you could see and feel their joy for what they did. They were older and technically significantly more advanced than the earlier groups, too. You could tell that some of the dancers had a classical background - I'm afraid it showed even at places where possibly it shouldn't have, in the forms of the arms and pointed feet - but really, that was a very minor fault.

Then I wandered to the Rautatientori just in time to catch the folk dance group Pitko's performance Delhi Katrilli (hope I got the name right), which was a mixture of Indian and Finnish fold music/dance. Can't say I much loved the choreography (the word "boring" comes to mind - it looked like fun to dance, but watching it was not a great thrill). The dancers, though, had progressed significantly in a year or so (can't remember exactly when I saw them last, but particularly some of the male dancers' technique was much more clean than I seem to remember it having been). The weather was far from perfect for this out-of-doors performance.

Last, I went back to Sanomatalo to watch Tommi Kitti & Co's choreography "trio Milonga". The first third or so of it I spent wondering if it's dance, if there is no music, but then when the music started it really caught me. It was a dance for three women, slow and heart-tearing and full of undescribable emotions - something like sorrow/despair/hope/anger/compassion/resolve. I've never seen the group perform anything else - I'm terribly ignorant when it comes to modern dance, even more so than to ballet - but I'll definitely hope to see some in the future, particularly the work "Väärä sävellaji", from which this piece was.

#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 15 June 2003 - 07:07 PM

Jaana - thanks for the report!

I haven't been to Helsinki since 1979. (I went when I was 16. As part of an exchange - I was supposed to be in Helsinki but at the very last moment I was shifted over to a family about 50 km from Lappenranta. With five children all under the age of 10. Who spoke only finnish. Where they built looms. And the nearest neighbor was 2 kms away. I'm not kidding.)

I followed the link to the Festival site; where are the venues? My finnish is nonexistent, but is the Sanomatalo sponsored by the newspaper? Which ones are indoor theaters?

Out of curiousity, where does the Finnish National Ballet perform and have you seen it much?

#3 Alexandra


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Posted 15 June 2003 - 08:18 PM

Thanks very much for posting this, Jaana -- I've moved this over to Recent Performances. I hope others who attended -- this, or other summer festivals -- will post about them.

#4 Jaana Heino

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Posted 15 June 2003 - 11:18 PM


all those places where in the Helsinki Center. None in that program were actually theatres, but some, like Sanomatalo, were inside. :) This building is, I think, owned by the newspaper houses, but there are cafeterias and such around a central "plaza" in the first floor, they hold all kinds of events there.

The Finnish National Opera / Ballet performs mainly at the Opera house, which is almost in the Helsinki Center (5 minutes in tram, maybe). I haven't seen it as much as I'd like to, due to it not being actually cheap, but I see about one or two performances per season currently.

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