Tero Saarinen Company - Apollo Tanssii! / Apollo Dances (2012-2016)
I have had the privilege of working at the Tero Saarinen Company´s community outreach project Apollo tanssii!, in 2012-2016, funded by Helsinki City. This special project was built up in close collaboration with Apollo High School in Malminkartano neighbourhood of Helsinki. Over a four year period I was developing Apollo Tanssii´s pedagogical and artistic curriculum, consisting series of workshops for teenage boys and girls, as well as an interdisciplinary workshop specially designed and held for teenage girls in particular. During the four years theme project was themed "I am present" and aimed of increase interaction, communality, body awareness and creativity in upper secondary and high school students through contemporary dance. The starting point of each project in all four years was both individual strengths and in group formation. Because half of the participating students were immigrants, the project also wished to enhance their integration into the Finnish society and school system.  

Every Autumn (2012-2016) the workshop for both boys and girls lasted usually six weeks. It was realized either in the Apollo High School, or at Tero Saarinen Company´s home studio at the Alexander Theatre, aproximately 3 times per week (3-4 hour in each session). In Autumn 2012 I led the pilot project with Tero Saarinen Company´s repetitor Henrikki Heikkilä; in 2013 and 2014I collaborated with Tero Saarinen Company´s dancer Mikko Lampinen, and in 2015 with TSC dancer David Scarantino. Each year participants, both boys and girls in the workshops series had the extraordinary experience of working with two musicians who improvised and created the music not only for the workshop sessions but also for the choreography developed in tight collaboration with each participant duirng the six weeks.  We were honored to collaborate with first class Finnish jazz musicians such as composer-musicians Jarmo Saari, Olavi Louhivuori, and Mamba Assefa. Each year these unique and courageous teenagers also had a chance to perform on the home stage, The Alexander Theatre. The choreography was born in a shared process throughout the six-week project.

From 2013 to 2016 the Apollo tanssii! project included a special workshop designed especially for girls: an interdisciplinary workshop run by me and the visual artist Hanna Azevedo, lasting approximately 2 weeks. The aim of this workshop was to give girls an opportunity to work intimately in an all-female group, to deal with the awakening of womanhood and the accompanying physical changes through dance. Together we created a method combining movement, drawing, sculpture, and creative writing. The result of the intense interdisciplinary work was seen every year in an exhibition, held in different gallery spaces in Helsinki. The exhibition portrayed a visual record of the girls’ path into the worlds of contemporary dance and visual art.

Choreographies performed at The Alexander Theatre:
Tapestry of Dreams from Those who Throw Themselves into the Moment, (In collaboration with chroreographer Mikko Lampinen 2013), Gravity Walk (In collaboration with chroreographer Mikko Lampinen 2014), Dreams of tomorrow (In collaboration with chroreographer David Sacarntino 2015)

Elämän askeleita, Akkuna & Tovi Galleries, 10.–19.4. 2015, (In collaboration with the visual artist Hanna Azevedo), Sukellus mieleeni - tanssin oman reittini, Kirjasto 10, 19.4.-29.4.2016, (In collaboration with the visual artist Hanna Azevedo)
The project was completed when the funding of the project ended.
Andrea O. Collective and community outreach project Aspettando (2011)
Andrea O. collective (Finland) has created several community art projects aimed at organisations and individuals (including patients) involved in institutional care in Turku (Finland) and Lucca (Italy). The aim of the collective’s work was to leave an imprint on different communities through imparting methods to transform feeling through art. The community art project ‘Aspettando’ (‘Waiting for’) was held in Lucca city space and Lucca Mental Health Center in June 2011. It was based on the photobiographical methods and basics of contemporary dance. The project involved members of Co–operativa Zefiro and Laboratorio di Arte Terapia Multimediale ASL2 Lucca, Andrea O. collective artists, and researchers from Finland. Before this project the group had worked together in Phototherapy Europe—Learning and Healing with Phototherapy network. Lucca Mental Health Center has developed artistic methods to promote social inclusion and wellbeing of psychiatric patients, and to increase the sense of community.
The work was dedicated to developing artistic means to cope with dreams we are waiting to happen or with things we have lost and whose return we await. This experimental community art work included live performances where the whole group was included in the artistic process. The result of the project was a series of five short dance films, which Maria Nurmela directed with film-maker/photographer Merja Isokoski in collaboration with six participants from the center. The film Aspettando was presented at the World Congress of Art Therapy in the City Museum of Lucca during a week long exhibition in Autumn 2011.



Aspettando 2011. Photo Merja Isokoski.