Concept and choreography
together with the working group
Creation and performance
Katriina Tavi, Outi Markkula, Jukka Tarvainen, Anita Vika Langødegård, Jon Bugge Mariussen, Emilia Lajunen, Eero Grundström, Juhani Haukka
Emilia Lajunen, Eero Grundström
Cinematography and film
Lighting and set designer
Outi Markkula, Juhani Haukka, Oskari Kaarne, Aino Simola, Anni Kaila
Collaborative costume designer
Involved in the process
as a mentor
Involved in the process
Henna Elomaa, Kati Lätti, Aino Simola
Riksscenen Oslo - Scene för folkemusikk og folkedans
SPARKS-project, The Finnish Culture Foundation
The Nordic Culture Fund, The Nordic Culture Point, Arts Promotion Centre Finland
KULKUE - PARAD - PARADE:
“The concept is meant to simulate the way in which cultural traditions are transferred from one region, human and medium to another and transformed in the process.”
A sentence which I wrote in the first funding application in 2018.
In its original state, Kulkue - Parad - Parade has been a small but ambitious attempt at retracing a phenomenon as vast as passing on tradition, on the scale of a Nordic, multidisciplinary working group.
Work on the project started concretely with preliminary assignments in February 2021. The members of the working group created a series of “originals” based on their own artistic histories; short dance, music and film documents which became the source materials and starting point of the almost two-year working process.
The materials have been transferred in time and place as well as between people and modes of expression in a manner of different ways. The work has involved shifting between the roles of collector, documentarian, informant, artist, translator and anthropologist. We have utilised for example the methods of collecting and passing on folk traditions such as recollecting, describing and teaching as well as followed the less direct routes of artistic research and embodied thought wherein different methods and practices take shape as part of artistic processes. Additionally, we have also pondered on which traditions, places and phenomena the originals are attached and related to, and whom and what they carry with them.
During this journey, the originals have spawned countless scenes, versions, scores, translations, loops, video clips, improvisations, audio tapes, discussions, text documents, mind maps and shared moments of dancing, playing, recording, sharing and negotiating. The central idea has been allowing for and upholding incompleteness and change. The original purpose of the project was to have it unfold in multiple different forms along the journey, so that the stage would only be one of the stops along the way instead of being the apex or the end goal.
In spite of this – and due to a multitude of structural and practical conditions – Kulkue - Parad - Parade is also essentially a process of creating a work for the stage. It can and will be seen as a stage performance, removed from its origins and other dimensions of the process. This is both a challenge and a great opportunity.
“Live performance can be thought of as one medium among other modes of communication, as artistic communication which takes place on the historical terms of each era,” write Jukka O. Miettinen, Jukka von Boehm and Laura Gröndahl in the introductory of online publication Esityspaikka - näyttämön muotoja ja historiaa (The place of performance - forms and history of the stage). The stage and performance are concrete and historical places of passing things on. Performance is a possibility to transfer something from the working group to the audience. To pass on. Välittää eteenpäin. Formidle.
Still the shift from the process to the stage has felt like a big one. The process in itself has been research-oriented, curious, accepting and non-judgmental, whereas producing a work involves arranging and leaving things out as well as discussing values, meanings and instructions for interpretation. What works on stage and why? How do the materials communicate when viewed from the outside? Something that while working feels fun, interesting and fluent may be viewed as a cliche, parody or representation when placed on stage. This is an interesting notion, and reveals the Western dance stage not as some neutral and ahistorical place but as a place that carries its own traditions – in the same way that we all carry our own backgrounds and situations with us into a working process and an audience.
When the premiere of Kulkue - Parad - Parade arrives, some of the original meanings of the process become lost. At the same time new meanings are born. This, also, is movement and life.
During the process of Kulkue - Parad - Parade we have talked about tradition. It’s a weighty word, not easily reduced to a single definition. In this process I have found myself thinking about tradition in terms of the images it provokes; I’m not so interested in what it explicitly means but rather how it feels and what embodied meanings it can bring forth.
For me, tradition is layered, it echoes, glimmers and bubbles up. For example, the expression current of tradition is a pleasant and inspiring image: mobile and gushing, like a stream moving unceasingly forward; and, on the other hand, a grinding and milling mouth, chewing and spurting, swallowing and spitting out; it embraces, gathers and washes over things (making them part of it), and still relentlessly advances.
In this process, tradition has functioned as a kind of mirror for all those known and named layers which one can recognise in their own artistic history as well as for the futures still hidden and only emerging; a mirror for the layers through and with which we dance even today.
Outi Markkula is a dance artist who graduated from Uniarts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy in 2017 and a returnee who hails from Siilinjärvi. She works in the art field as a performer, convener and writer. In her artistic work, Markkula is especially interested in folk dance as an intergenerational, bodily heritage in which the private and the societal, the past and the present and the many meanings of dancing intertwine in a special way. Multidisciplinarity of art forms, temporally loose processes and a dialogic work approach act as the foundation stones of the artistic work. As a writer, Markkula endeavours to make both artistic thinking and the preconditions for making art visible. Since 2020, she has worked as the editor-in-chief of the online dance magazine Liikekieli.com.
Katriina Tavi’s roots as an art maker are in dance art. She received her MA in Dance from Uniarts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy in 2017 and is working as a dance artist and performer in the realms of dance art and the dramatic arts. As a dancer, she is interested in the relation between language and body – their mind, feeling and common potential. Working with verbality supports her artistic work juxtaposed with the partly wordless special nature of dance art. In recent years, Katriina has worked as a part of the multi-year project Työväenluokkainen tausta ja ruumiillisuus (Working Class Background Embodied) facilitated by dance artists Elsa Heikkilä and Laura Lehtinen. Also, she has worked in many pieces by VäkeväKollektiivi and with choreographers like Soili Huhtakallio and Sara Gurevitsch.
Jukka Tarvainen is a Helsinki-based freelance dancer, performer and choreographer who received his MA in Dance from the Theatre Academy in 2009. Tarvainen has worked in several different choreographers’, directors’, groups’ and collectives’ works, and he is known as a versatile player who, apart from dancing, has skills in parkour, acrobatics, theatre and music.
Anita Vika Langødegård is a dancer and performing artist working in different constellations and projects. She has her education and experience based in contemporary dance and Norwegian folk dance. To see some sneak peaks from other projects go to www.anitavilang.com.
Jon Bugge Mariussen, is a Norwegian dancer and choreographer with a bachelor in dance art and choreographic thinking. He has been dancing Norwegian folk dance since he was 6 years old and is, in his artistic research, interested in how traditional and contemporary dance can work together to create new artistic expressions. Jon works as a freelance dance artist in various dance productions in the Nordics.
Juhani Haukka is a film artist who has an emphasis towards documentary film and who likes to work interdisciplinary in the field of arts. His poetic and essayistic expression often focuses on what is otherwise obscured, unnoticed and out of space. In addition to a film degree, he also has a historian's education, specializing in psychohistory. He is interested in the connections between memory, the multidimensionality of time and experiences. His recent works have been extensive Looking For a Job? - a multidisciplinary project (2019–2022) that explored society, work, time and community, and the movie The Memory of Life (2022), which is about inherited epigenetic memory (of life). He is continuing a documentary film project about the Finnish National Archives' research project about Finnish citizens in Russia.
Emilia Lajunen is a professional folk musician who is known for a deep knowledge of tradition, distinctive arrangement style and intensive presence on stage. She received her MA in Music from the Sibelius Academy in 2007 and works as the violin teacher-in-charge there. In addition to playing a five-string violin, Lajunen also plays the keyed fiddle and sings. Her repertoire combines Finnish and Nordic folk musician tradition, archaic kantele and bowed-harp tunes, broadside songs and ballads.
Solo and with her bands, Lajunen has, among other things, won the prestigious Konsta Jylhä Competition twice, received an Etno-Emma Award, been nominated for the Teosto Prize and been successful in the NORD08 competition. Lajunen’s solo album Turkoosi polkupyörä, or Turquoise Bicycle, (Texicalli, 2012) received excellent reviews in Finland and internationally. Lajunen will publish her second solo album in 2023, and its music has been a product of the artistic postgraduate degree that she is working on at Uniarts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy. Lajunen plays in the bands Suo, Juuri & Juuri, Duo Emilia Lajunen & Suvi Oskala and Ritva Nero.
Eero Grundström is a folk musician, electronic musician, composer and performer. Often also a sound recordist and producer. He received his MA from the Sibelius Academy’s Degree Programme in Folk Music in 2008, and is a part of, among others, the bands Sväng, Suistamon Sähkö, Celenka, Juuri & Juuri, Maria Kalaniemi duo, Sähköpaimen, Aija Puurtinen & Brooklynin satu.
“I feel at home in diversified roles, looking from different angles helps you find nuances and meanings. Subjects and themes move from one work to another, get different shades and manifestations. I like collaborations and bands that last for years, even decades. These darlings clarify my ideas and put them in their right places in the world.
A part of my works is music, a part combines different art forms. I don’t see a big difference between music and sound but hear sounds as music. Sometimes what I do takes a turn towards the motional. Folk music is my language, regardless of genre. I cherish preservation in memory only and things being in change. Improvisation and play are my ways of exploring and discovering.
Often a machine is more organic than organic.
Sometimes tradition is the new new after all.
Archaic is avant-garde.
Oskari Kaarne is a primarily Helsinki-based freelance lighting designer, and a dance, theatre and ritual artist. At the moment, Oskari is studying at Uniarts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy (BA+MA in Theatre and Drama) in the Degree Programme in Lighting Design. As a part of creating theatre, he is interested in, among other things, ritualistic practice, and the fundamental trance-state-inducing characteristics of movement, sound and light. In his previous studies, Oskari studied to become a dance teacher (Bachelor of Culture and Arts) at Oulu University of Applied Sciences, with a specialisation in folk dance.
Oskari is an intuitive psychedelia lover and a mystic that explores life with a spectrum as wide as possible. In his art, you approach different worlds emerging from the subconscious, testing the interfaces of reality and exploring the extent of experience. Oskari believes that movement and dance are a creative force that makes life possible and light is its first language.
Anni Kaila is a dance artist and translator from Helsinki. She graduated as a contemporary dancer from Amsterdam’s Academy of Theatre and Dance in 2015 and received her MA in Dance from the Theatre Academy’s Master’s Programme in Dance Performance in 2020. Kaila has also studied Finnish literature and writing and combines her interest in language and, especially, poetry with her work in dance as well.
As a dance artist, Kaila endeavours to think of dance and the dancer’s work as a ground for different experiments, pieces and bodily events. She is especially interested in the work of a performer and what a performance can make possible for its maker and experiencer. Kaila works both in Finland and Central Europe in the free field of dance art as a part of different ensembles.
Aino Simola is a costume designer, artist, and artisan. She received her MA in Art and Design from Aalto University in 2021 and has worked as a costume designer with, among other things, immersive theatre, circus and children’s theatre. Simola has her background in dressmaking, and she still works as a dressmaker and milliner in different productions in the culture sector. Indeed, doing things with one’s hands in a material-driven way is an important part of her artistic work. Simola is interested in the manner in which handicraft tradition becomes reshaped through repetitions and imitation as time passes, and with techniques, makers and ideologies changing.
Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth
Arvi and Rauha Haukka
Tuomas and family
Kukka, Tilda and Ruu