The Tanssin talo project was launched already in the 1930s when dancer Maggie Gripenberg came up with an idea of premises dedicated solely to dance.
- In 1937, the Union of Finnish Dance Artists STTL was established. STTL’s objective was to find suitable premises for performing and rehearsing dance in Helsinki.
- A venue dedicated to dance found an advocate when dance artist and prima ballerina Doris Laine started supporting the venue in 1980s.
- In the 1990s, STTL drafted a Tanssin talo plan, which suggested that Tanssin talo be located in the VR warehouses in Vallila, Helsinki. One of the active planners was the founder of Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth, Hannele Niiranen, Executive Manager of the Finnish Dance Schools' Association.
- The Tiloja Tanssille association, currently Tanssille ry, was established in 2000. Its objective was to find more rehearsal facilities for dance professionals and students. The association proposed that the Alexander Theatre be a house of arts, in which dance would have played a significant role.
- In 2007, a working group appointed by the Cultural Centre of the City of Helsinki started to survey the space requirements of dance operations in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The conclusions of the survey stated that dance cannot rise to the same level as other art forms due to the shortage of performance and rehearsal facilities. The working group proposed that dance should have its own premises solely dedicated to dance.
- Artist Professor, dance artist Alpo Aaltokoski was one of the launchers of the Tanssin talo project in 2008.
- Tanssin talo ry (the Helsinki Dance House Association) was established in 2010. The Association’s aim is to promote the offering of high-standard artistic dance and dance culture regionally, nationally and internationally.
- In June 2013, the Culture and Library Committee of the City of Helsinki decided to commission an operational requirement report concerning the implementation alternatives of Tanssin talo. The survey was completed in 2014, and it proposed that Tanssin talo be located in the renovated premises of Cable Factory and the adjoining new building. In addition to constructing a new building, it was proposed that certain Cable Factory premises be renovated.
The core of Tanssin talo was described in the operational requirement report as follows: “The programme of Tanssin talo is artistically interesting and of high quality. The balanced programme consists of national and international offerings of various forms of dance. The flexible premises of the house enable the organisation of different competitions, galas, reviews and seminars.
Tanssin talo’s programme includes paid guest performances, performances implemented in cooperation and performances implemented through rental of the premises that are suitable for the programme policy.
Tanssin talo cooperates with festivals and events by renting the premises and co-producing performances. Tanssin talo develops new event concepts that will expand the audience base of dance. The house also produces different seasonal performances for the city residents and travellers.
Public events, such as clubs and partner dance events, arranged in the Event Square and restaurant, supplement the operations of Tanssin talo.”
- On 1 October 2014, the Board of the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation made a decision on Tanssin talo ry’s investment funding application. The Foundation decided to grant a donation of EUR 15 million for the new building construction. The grant decision was conditional. One of the conditions for the grant was that the details of the implementation of the project will be agreed together with the City of Helsinki, Kiinteistö Oy Kaapelitalo, Tanssin talo ry, the state, the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation and other key financiers. One additional condition was that the City of Helsinki and the state will participate in the project with sufficient financing.
- On 31 October 2015, the work of the working group surveying Tanssin talo appointed by the Mayor of the City of Helsinki was completed. The working group proposed that Tanssin talo be implemented in the new building to be built in connection with Koy Kaapelitalo and the entity will also included premises of Kaapelitalo which will be renovated. In this proposal, Tanssin talo’s new building will be owned by Kaapelitalo. The working group proposed that Tanssin talo include 250- and 700-seat stages for performances, an event square suitable for performances and audience events, office spaces and restaurant service premises. According to the reviewed premises plan, the performance area was 4,280 square metres, including the new building as well as the renovated part. The changes to the room layout were estimated to lower the construction costs of the new building by approximately EUR 800,000 when compared to the operational requirement report figures.
- In 2015, the City of Helsinki and the Ministry both undertook to finance Tanssin talo with EUR 6 million. The framework agreement between the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, the City of Helsinki, KOy Kaapelitalo and Tanssin talo ry was signed in December 2015. The agreement stated that the new building will be owned by KOy Kaapelitalo and, after the premises are completed, the Association will be responsible for the operations of Tanssin talo. Tanssin talo can only be used for dance purposes and operations supporting dance. It will be a house of all forms of dance, with a programme including, for example, street, partner, competitive and folk dance, in addition to artistic dance.
The framework agreement also stated that the City of Helsinki will undertake to finance Tanssin talo’s operations annually so that the level of the public support granted by the City of Helsinki and the state is EUR 1.334 million (on the 2015 price level) during the first full operating year, of which the state would contribute EUR 650,000 in a year as reported by the Ministry. This level will set the starting point for the financing of coming years. The Association’s own fundraising opportunities will be considered in the level of financing.
- In 2016, the project plan with the slightly specified operating model was published. According to the project plan, Tanssin talo’s circle of influence will cover the entire country and Tanssin talo aims to establish a strong international role. Tanssin talo’s operations will develop dance as an art form and create communality. It will provide the residents of the Helsinki metropolitan area with versatile services and bring dynamicity to the cityscape. Tanssin talo creates added value to the sector through its premises and production resources, marketing and communications resources as well as diverse societal and network connections.
According to the project plan, the Association will implement co-production, guest and tour operations, develop the dance infrastructure and promote the employment in the sector. Interesting contents, an active audience relationship, networking operating methods and tools provided for the development of the dance field form the core of the future operations presented in the business plan.
Tanssin talo’s services include performance and programme operations (including tours, audience engagement and clubs), skill centre operations (including development and cooperation projects implemented with the project funding) and renting. Different production methods are used to produce the programme in the premises: self-production, co-production and renting.
Enabling performance visits and events is the most important task of the house. The programme comprises:
- Finnish co-productions (sharing ticket revenues, shared marketing and premises resources)
- international visits (paid by Tanssin talo, with revenue to Tanssin talo)
- renting for dance professionals
- festival and event cooperation (may be implemented in any of the three ways)
- In December 2018, the floor plan of Tanssin talo was confirmed.
- The land use of Tanssin talo was confirmed in 2019. The construction of the building started in October 2019.
- The cornerstone of Tanssin talo was laid in January 2020. It estimated that Tanssin talo will open its doors in early 2022. The dream of a permanent house dedicated to dance is finally becoming reality.
During this journey, Tanssin talo has had many important supporters. A warm thank you to the supporters of Tanssin talo:
The City of Helsinki
The Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation
The Kone Foundation
The Ministry of Education and Culture
The Finnish Cultural Foundation
Arts Promotion Centre Finland