How to riot through joy in the artistic process, in the performance and while performing? Joy Riot, by Zodiak’s house choreographer Sari Palmgren, focuses on the revolutionary qualities of joy from different perspectives and explores a type of movement that both energises and recycles energy. Could a performance bring real joy to its performers, the environment and the audience in its different stages?

Joy contains melancholy and many different shades; it is laughter and crying side by side. Joy comes out of facelessness and darkness, is renewed, and shares the space with the audience. Joy Riot, bursting with energy, smoke and body hair, moves from riot and chaos towards harmony. What is it that brings joy?

The five theses of Joy Riot are:

  1. We are dancing animals and we need to move around!
  2. Mending and making whole are part of the experience of joy.
  3. Motion means energy and enjoyment.
  4. The working process and the performance should nurture everyone involved.
  5. It is time to bring joy back to the stage.

The movement material of the performance is based on the energy economies and recycling methods of traditional Chinese medicine, various martial arts, and the Passing Through and Flying Low dance techniques developed by David Zambrano, which Sari Palmgren has studied. The workgroup looks for ways to maintain the energy and the joy in different stages of their work.

Welcome back to life!

Practical tips

Entrance to the theatre hall takes place through both doors (left and right side). We kindly remind you to take care of the safety distances while queuing. The beginning of the performance is flexible, so so you can take your time.

Please leave your shoes in the designated area inside the theatre hall. You can also borrow slippers for the duration of the performance.

The performance is meant to be experienced walking. There is no auditorium, but we have a few chairs available for those in need.

Please maintain safe distances to others during the entire performance. We also recommend you wear a mask.

Background information

Joy Riot comes from a three-year residence project called Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland (2016–2019) between Zodiak – Centre for New Dance, Dance Info Finland and the West Kowloon Cultural District. During the project, Palmgren became familiar with local artists and the dance scene in both Finland and Hong Kong while working in six difference residences.

The current performance is inspired especially by energy work with dancer, choreographer Wayson Poon and Palmgren’s meeting with costume designer Kay Wong.


The working group was in residency at Zodiak during the summer 2020. Here are some impressions from that working period.



Choreography and direction: Sari Palmgren and working group
Performers: Minna Karttunen, Oskari Turpeinen, Kaisa Niemi, Krista-Julia Arppo
Lighting design: Heikki Paasonen
Sound design: Joonas Pehrsson
Costume design: Siru Kosonen
Supported by: Samuel Huberin Taidesäätiö, Taiteen Edistämiskeskus, Suomen Kulttuurirahasto

Production: Zodiak, Stoa, Sari Palmgren

Shooting for the residency video: the working group
Editing: Sinem Kayacan / Zodiak

Teaser video shooting and editing: Sinem Kaycan / Zodiak
Sound: Joonas Pehrsson