Kesäkulkurit,2018, Ilona Salonen and Karoliina Lummikko.
Kesäkulkurit, 2016, Emmi Vehanen and Jennifer Joffs on the shore of Aura River, Finland.
Dancer Karoliina Lummikko.

Stretching the boundaries of dance

TEXT: NDÉLA FAYE | PHOTOS © RIIKKA CAMPOMANES

Established in 2004, the Regional Dance Centre of Western Finland promotes artistic dance and aims to make it easily accessible to everyone, while pushing the boundaries of art – reinventing dance as a multidimensional agent in society.

The Regional Dance Centre of Western Finland collaborates with a number of organisations, with the aim to improve conditions within the dance industry and increase work opportunities for dancers and artists. One of its collaborations is with the city of Turku, and the two are working together to reinvent the way in which dance and art are seen. “We want to develop the city’s presence on the international art scene and reinvent the ways in which companies and dancers can collaborate in a mutually beneficial way. We also support dancers and provide them with networking opportunities, and connect them to other top artists in the region,” explains Sanna Meska, the organisation’s executive director.

Making dance art accessible to all

Turku was nominated as the European Capital of Culture in 2011, and since then, it has firmly anchored itself as a city for major cultural events in Finland. “A city’s main task is to ensure the wellbeing of its inhabitants and visitors. For the city of Turku, collaborating with the Regional Dance Centre of Western Finland was a natural choice. This way, we are able to strengthen the city’s cultural scene and bring it to an international level – and make it accessible to all,” says Mette Karlsson, the city of Turku’s cultural secretary.

Spreading the joy of dance through activities and programmes such as Tanssikummi®, which brings dancers to nursing homes, schools and nurseries, The Regional Dance Centre of Western Finland strongly believes that dance and art belong to everyone, and that art is an essential part of a functioning and thriving society.

With a number of performances and festivals scheduled for the coming months and years, the Regional Dance Centre of Western Finland shows no signs of stopping. Launching in autumn 2019, the organisation is hosting an international event, titled keđja presents: STRETCH 2019: Expanding professionalism, held in Turku from 17 to 20 October 2019. “STRETCH aims to stimulate a debate that refreshes the work environment, expands it, while raising cultural policy perspectives and creating new connections between local, Nordic and international networks. The event will gather around 250 artists from the dance industry from all over Europe,” says Meska.

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