The historical opening year 2022 of Dance House Helsinki a great success
Dance House Helsinki attracted over 56,000 visits during its opening year. The House was opened on 2 February 2022, but due to the coronavirus pandemic it was only opened to the public on 31 March 2022. Altogether, the House’s performances, events and digitally broadcast programmes reached approximately 444,000 art enthusiasts.
“The opening of Dance House Helsinki was a long-awaited milestone in the history of Finnish performing arts. We are flattered and glad about the enthusiasm with which the audiences have discovered the House and frequented it. Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic in early 2022, we had a successful year both in terms of visibility and the number of visits,” says Managing Director Niki Matheson.
Dance House Helsinki was opened on 2 February 2022 with an opening gala broadcasted live on television. The gala gathered over 50 performers and artists on the stage of Erkko Hall. The opening programme was also available on the channels of the European Arte Concert. The opening gala and the House’s other digitally broadcasted programmes have been viewed and listened to approximately 388,000 times in total.
The repertoire of the House abundant and diverse
The repertoire of Dance House Helsinki consists of the performances and events of dance, circus and other cultural operators as well as Dance House Helsinki’s own programme projects. The House Partners producing year-round programmes for the House on a regular basis are Zodiak – Center for New Dance, Tero Saarinen Company, Cirko – Center for New Circus and Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth.
Among the highlights of Dance House Helsinki in 2022 were several international performances, such as the visits of the legendary German Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and the Belgian contemporary dance group Rosas, the diverse international selection at the Helsinki Festival, the visit of the National Dance Group of Korea produced by Tero Saarinen Company and the production Siguifin by an African choreography and dance group, produced by Zodiak. International contemporary circus was included through the French Gaëtan Levêque's Esquive performance produced by Cirko.
“It is wonderful that there is finally a guest stage in Finland dedicated to the art of the body and movement. Erkko Hall’s surface area, height and the seating capacity of the auditorium create a good setting for organising international circus visits on a grand scale, which is an important addition to Cirko’s programme,” says Jarkko Lehmus, Director at Cirko.
Dance House Helsinki functioned as a new home for national dance operators who brought visiting productions and several notable first performances to the House’s stage. “After Erkko Hall opened, our home audiences finally got to experience the large-scale productions of Tero Saarinen Company in a space designed for dance and experiencing it through various senses. The number and accessibility of our performances in Helsinki increased as well. Nearly half of our performances were sold out, and there were many people among the audiences who were completely new to dance,” says Iiris Autio, Managing Director at Tero Saarinen Company.
Ari Tenhula, Managing Director at Zodiak, is also enthusiastic about the new audiences brought in by Dance House Helsinki: “We had to cancel the international Side Step Festival in early 2022, but in the autumn season larger audiences gathered to see the Eros production by Marianna Henriksson and Anna Mustonen as well as, in particular, the Matriarchy production by Pauliina Feodoroff.”
Diverse programmes were also seen in the form of, for example, street dance performances, Finnish Championships for rock’n’swing dances and youth performances. In the winter season from December to January, the year was rounded off with Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth’s beloved Winter Circus for the whole family.
“Bringing our annual Winter Circus to its new home in Dance House Helsinki was a new and exciting stage of development in the nearly thirty-year history of the Winter Circus. The Winter Circus Joy was performed to nearly full auditoriums over 60 times,” says Liisa Korpiniitty, Theatre Director at Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth.
Dance House Helsinki a popular venue
Both performance spaces of the House – the Erkko Hall with 700 seats and the Pannu Hall with 235 seats – have been in regular use since the performances started. “We are flattered by the trust in the House that dance operators have shown. Various dance and cultural operators have demonstrated great interest in bringing their productions to Dance House Helsinki,” says Matheson.
The spring 2023 programme of Dance House Helsinki has been released, and tickets to nearly all events are on sale: