As we are getting ready for Oulu Dance Hack 22b – an event that brings together artists, designers and tech specialists (this year’s second instalment – after some of them couldn’t make it to Oulu due to COVID-related restrictions back in February) we are remembering some of our favourite quotes from past dancehackers.

Meet dance artist Kira Riikonen. We worked with Kira during Oulu Dance Hack 2021, which took place despite one of the heaviest periods of Corona-related lockdown. The limitations didn’t prevent us from magically connecting our studio on Pikisaari with Bethlen Szinhaz – the home of Central Europe Dance Theatre in Budapest, to research, improvise and perform together. 

Kira in action during ODH21

Through technology and choreography we created a hybrid live/online space for artistic exploration – #TaikaBoxConnectedStudio. We were very happy to collaborate with Kira!

Here’s what she says about herself:

– I am originally from North Karelia, but at the moment consider Helsinki my home city. Although I have been in Oulu many times it still amazes me with its vibrant attitude towards dance. Whether it is nature or winter wonderland’s amount of snow, or all the beautiful natural sights so joyful to walk through, it somehow feels like everybody here has space to explore what they like. 

Maybe here the competition, so natural in life, doesn’t feel like the main fuel for things to develop. And that is exactly what serves you as the main key to be a creative artist. This freedom gives you focus. 

Daily routine in a smaller city helps me dive deeper into art and doesn’t disturb my concentration.

I was naturally dancing as a child till I was a teenager. Then I came back to dancing through jazz because of the physical sensation that comes out of it and the unlimited research on what the movement creates in emotional and thought level. 

I would define dance as a contact with my inner self, or wisdom, or the soul, or – the craziness. Everything happens and changes so quickly when dancing, the emotions, memories, ideas appear immediately and unexpectedly – just as if you were dreaming while being awake, something beyond words for me. 

Kira performing in HYLKY – Flow Productions’ 2020 immersive performance about shipwrecks

Corona did have an impact on the dance scene and modern art. We became aware of touching differently or not at all. This is something that many of us miss most and at the same time something that should never have been taken for granted. Now we have to develop the new, zoom-reality touch to build a strong connection without the physical closeness. But no Corona can influence art’s reason – to connect the artist and the art with the rest of the world, which is also changing as the power of money is hopefully becoming less important… 

Photos: Kira Riikonen’s personal archive, Lauri Hepo-oja, Kulttuurivoimala – Culture Power Station ry

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