TaikaBox was born in Cardiff, Wales in 2010 when choreographer Tanja Råman and video artist John Collingswood decided to formalise their 5 years of collaboration into an organisation dedicated to creating new ways to experience dance.
In 2015 they moved to Finland and established TaikaBox as an association.
In 2020 they rented their first studio on the island of Pikisaari, and met up with Elena Vlasenko, a journalist, who soon became part of the team.
In 2021 they moved operations to an empty shop on Oulunsalo and launched the Taidepaja.
TANJA: “I love to move, I love to see people moving. It is fascinating to try to understand another person by just watching them moving. I think that sometimes, when people are dancing, if you look closely enough, you can get a glimpse of their soul.
I started dancing quite late in life – I was 16 when I found my first dance class in a small town in rural Finland. From there, it has been a rollercoaster of a ride that took me to England to train (Leeds, then London) and to Wales to start up my company and my family. I have finally managed to convince my parents that choreographing and performing is a proper job.
I believe that humans are made of much more than flesh and bone – that we are a complex recipe of matter, energy, experience and emotion. These provide an endless source of curiosity to me and my goal is to explore them through movement and choreography.
After eighteen years of living in the UK, I returned to my roots in Northern Finland. I am re-discovering my native country and its beauty is having a huge influence on my artistic practice.”
JOHN: “I create art out of hybrid systems, combining humans and computers into something that’s more post-digital.
I grew up in a cultural tundra in the Midlands of England, and have travelled far and wide in search of new ways of being creative, for a while settling in Cardiff where I constantly expanded my knowledge by collaborating with myriad performers.
Now I’m in Northern Finland, and permanently astounded by the proximity to nature and the elements. My work has recently been focussed on finding ways to involve the audience in dance work, and now my aim is to bring in some of the outside world as well.
You can find out more about my individual practice in my portfolio: dbini.com“
LÖLÄ: “I have worked as a reporter covering some dramatic events in the Post-Soviet world from where I come, such as war conflicts and persecution against journalists, activists and independent artists.
A long and sophisticated chain of events has brought me to Finland and TaikaBox where I explore working with four languages: translating Finnish to English and body language to the one of hypertext (and vice-versa). I’m fascinated to be sustaining the feeling of commonality between and within the communities of artists and audiences through social media, trying to find words to describe the abstract, the free, the postmodern, the subtle in the contemporary art I am lucky to be witnessing in TaikaBox on a daily basis.
As a journalist specialising in human rights and political art I’ve come to the conclusion that freedom of expression is losing in terms of freedom of speech. We face censorship that leads to deaths and hardships on the one hand, and careless misuse on the other – when those who have the privilege to be heard and are listened to, keep their mouths shut when it comes to homophobia, wars, racism, nationalism, domestic violence, climate change, sexism, corruption, etc.
In the same time freedom of expression is evolving into something more resistant, unifying and genuine than speech, which I see in the artistic expression including independent dance art.
Bodies talk, when words are not enough or even not possible to be pronounced. It is harder to silence them.
The very abstraction of contemporary art in its order can tell more than a thousands pages wounded by censorship – abstraction knows no fears. “