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Call for Production Applications

Call for co-production applications (2021—2022)

Zodiak has been a showcase of new contemporary dance thinking since 1986. Today, the art life of Helsinki is richer than ever before, but Zodiak’s goals are unchanged. We want to bring audiences together to experience new, surprising and pioneering contemporary dance productions and performances.

Zodiak’s programme is artistically curated. The work of the curators and the programme selections are primarily based on this open call for applications, but some productions will also emerge through collaboration projects and from other sources. The applications are reviewed by a workgroup consisting of three members run by Zodiak’s artistic director Harri Kuorelahti. The other members of the workgroup are choreographers and dancers appointed into the workgroup for one year at a time.

Zodiak’s production model has changed very little in the past 20 years. During this time the field of contemporary dance has expanded, and the need to make different forms of performance possible has become stronger. Zodiak has always supported artists in different stages of their careers, and that is what we also want to do in the future — but on a slightly wider scope. For this reason, we have updated our production model and our call for applications.

The most distinct change is the new Zodiak CoCommission category, intended for performances that require a big stage. However, the main body of the programme will still be formed by performances of the Zodiak CoProductions category performed on Zodiak Stage. The Z-Free concept will be updated into a more residence-like format under the new name Zodiak Laboratory.

The production cycle of the new categories differs slightly from the previous timeline:

  • Zodiak Laboratory residences will take place 6 to 12 months after the production decision.
  • Zodiak CoProduction premieres will take place 12 to 18 months after the production decision.
  • Zodiak CoCommission premieres will take place 2 to 5 years after the production decision.

From now on, there will be two annual deadlines for Zodiak co-production applications:

  1. Zodiak Laboratory and
  2. Zodiak CoProduction: Deadline is Thursday 10 October 2019.
  3. Zodiak CoCommission: Deadline is Thursday 7 November 2019.

Production decisions will be communicated to the applicants by the end of January 2020.

The Zodiak Laboratory and Zodiak CoProduction categories are open for all artists at any stage of their professional careers. For Zodiak CoCommission applications the minimum requirement is three previous projects staged as professional productions.

We encourage all applicants to consider which of these three categories would be the optimal environment for your project or concept. Do you have an idea for a performance that you would like to test in the form of a short residence project? Or do you have a relatively clear idea for a performance, workgroup, perhaps even a production model? Or do you have an ambitious vision that needs more work, collaboration partners, funding, a longer development cycle and more development stages to materialise?

A separate application form is available for each category. Applicants are advised to familiarise themselves with the application forms in advance. A more detailed description of each production category and links to the application forms are available below.

Please only apply for one category with your project. This category should be the primary category you are applying for. If you have more than one idea or project, please submit a separate application for each. In each category, there is an option where you can indicate if you want your application to be considered for some other category also. The programme workgroup also reserves the right to suggest another production category when the entirety of the season's programme begins to take shape.

In programme selection, close attention will be paid to the personal artistic touch and the clarity of the project idea and its choreographic thinking, as well as the audience relationship it builds. We value brave, dynamic, bodily approaches to contemporary performing art.

We are primarily looking for premieres that are performed on a stage. However, you can still also suggest visiting performances and reruns. These applications should be submitted to the Zodiak CoProductions category. You can also suggest performances that take place outside the traditional stage setup, but please note that all Zodiak performances have entry fee, and audience targets are set for each of them. Performances produced with non-professional participants may also be suggested.

The final selection will be based on the artistic whole formed by the different projects and how realistic their production potential is considering Zodiak’s production resources and schedules of each production year.

Zodiak Laboratory

The Zodiak Laboratory residence supersedes the earlier Z-Free concept. This form of support is intended to provide an opportunity for artistic experimentation without the pressure of an upcoming premiere.

We are now looking for Zodiak Laboratory residence applications for spring 2021. We offer two residence periods. In the autumn 2020 application round we will call for applications for autumn 2021 and spring 2022.

Zodiak Laboratory support includes:

  • Two weeks of continuous studio residence with two demonstration sessions open for audience
  • 500 euros of production funding

The Zodiak Laboratory residences currently open for applications will take place in January and May 2021. Please indicate which month’s residency you prefer in your application.

The deadline for Zodiak Laboratory applications is Thursday 10 October 2019. Please use this form to submit your application to this category:


Zodiak CoProduction

The Zodiak Co-Production category resembles the old Zodiak co-production model. We are now calling for applications in the Zodiak CoProduction category for productions that premiere in 2021. In 2021, Zodiak expects to produce approximately seven performances in this category. Zodiak will be involved in the productions as a co-producer, but it is mandatory that the projects have other sources of funding also.

The CoProduction support includes:

  • Maximum of 5 months of salary, including a maximum of 2 artistic designers
  • Approximately 4 to 6 weeks of studio time in 2021
  • Approximately 1.5 weeks of rehearsal time before the premiere

The aim is to have 8 to 12 performances on the Zodiak Stage or in some other venue.

The deadline for CoProduction applications is 10 October 2019. Please use this form to submit your application to this category:


Zodiak CoCommission

Zodiak CoCommission is a new production category that aims to facilitate the production of big ideas for big stages and big audiences. Our aim is to take the aesthetics of big stages to the 2020s without compromising the hard core of contemporary art.

We are now calling for applications from freelance choreographers and dance companies for the Zodiak CoCommission category with premieres starting in 2022. Zodiak will produce 2 to 3 Co-Commission productions annually.

The application process of CoCommission productions has two stages. In the first stage, we are primarily looking for ideas. No fully formed production plan is required at this point.

Based on the applications that we receive, 4 to 6 ideas will be selected for the second round. The workgroups behind the short-listed ideas will be invited to work with Zodiak’s team on their initial ideas during the spring, in order to develop the production models, audience relationships, potential partners and other preconditions for entering production. Final selections will be made in May 2020 after this development period.

During the year before the premiere, the CoCommission support includes:

  • One week of paid on-stage residence for the workgroup at Zodiak Stage
  • A mentoring program

During the year of the premiere, the CoCommission support includes:

  • 10 monthly salaries
  • Approximately 4 weeks of studio rehearsal time
  • One-week on-stage residence at Zodiak Stage

The aim is to have 4 to 8 performances at (for example) Dance House Helsinki (big or small stage).

The deadline for Co-Commission applications is Thursday, 7 November. Please use this form to submit your application to this category:


General instructions for applicants

Attachments to applications:

  • Working plan, including description of the workgroup (3 pages maximum)
  • Resumés of workgroup members
  • Cost estimate and financing plan (not required for Zodiak Laboratory applications)

Naming the members of the workgroup in the production plan is recommended. We consider especially the performers an important part of the artistic idea. If you have any major commitments that will affect your production schedule, please state them in your working plan.

Please include your attachments with the production support application form. Acceptable file formats include PDF, DOC, DOCX, TXT, RTF, XLS, XLSX and ZIP files.

Providing samples of earlier work is recommended. Samples should be provided in the form of online video links provided in the application form. Please also include any passwords or other credentials required to access the video.

Please also note that participation in the 2021 programme will require flexibility in terms of the final production schedule after the production decisions have been made.

Harri Kuorelahti
, Artistic Director,
Varpu Nieminen, Prdocucer,, tel +358 40 530 9799