The 2022 edition of Zodiak's international Side Step Festival will be canceled. The financial risk, created by the big international programme in the current uncertain situation, was in the end estimated to be too high.

At present, the decisions of the Southern Finland Regional Government Agency regarding public events extend until the end of January. However, the guidelines published by the Finnish government on Tue January 18, together with the high daily covid statistics, do not anticipate that restrictions will be eased in time.

- In this situation, the implementation of a large international programme, constantly afraid of possible restrictive measures, is too great a financial risk for us. Theaters and events cannot operate with a few days’ notice, and the terms of the contract with the international guests make the risks significant. Therefore, we came to this painful solution, says Ari Tenhula, Zodiak’s Managing Director.

- After two years of the pandemic, the cancellation of the festival in the final stages feels especially sad. It would also have been the 20th festival, and much of the festival’s program was to be offered to the public at the new Tanssin talo as the first public performances. Now the party will not take place, says Harri Kuorelahti, Zodiak's artistic director.

- This is frustrating not only for the audience, but also for the great artists who were coming here. Many of them were going to visit Finland for the first time and were very much looking forward to meeting the audiences in Helsinki, Kuorelahti continues.

With regard to Johanna Nuutinen’s OPIA, which was to be presented as a part of the festival program, official decisions concerning February are still awaited.

OPIA premiered as a digital version in Zodiak's programme last spring. The work was originally intended to be part of Zodiak's spring 2020 season programme. If covid restrictions allow, OPIA will now be presented twice at Zodiak Stage, on February 17 and 18.

The festival was also going to feature the premiere of choreographer Maija Hirvanen’s new group work Mesh. The premiere will be postponed to early August when it will be seen in Berlin, in the programme of the work’s other co-producer, Tanz im August Festival.

Zodiak will provide more information to all ticket purchasers in week 4.

Side Step Festival is an annual international contemporary dance festival, organized by Zodiak – Center for New Dance. The next festival will take place in February 2023.