Z-free is Zodiak’s residency concept. Dance artist Hanna Ahti will work with her new solo project while in residence in autumn 2020. The working title of the project is Francis.

Helsinki, May 19, 2020

For a couple of years now I’ve worked on a writing project that progresses slowly in parallel with my stage work;  I open up, deconstruct and re-organise my practices as a dance artist. In Z-Free my intention is to start sketching a character who performs and embodies ideas linked to my writing.

The idea of working on/with/through a character, let’s call her Francis, was born on August nights on my way home from Sapiens evening rehearsals. I had just recently realised how great it was to listen to music while riding my bike and the combination of rolling through the city late at night with a playlist blasting into my noise-cancelling headphones felt priceless. Anyway, commuting back and forth, night after night,  listening to music, pretty much the same songs all over again; I had time to think how cool it would be to be able to dance all those songs scorched by love as fiercely and as uninhibitedly as possible.

From thoughts of being uninhibited via thoughts about what’s at stake as a performer/dancer to more questions about  what it means in practice to receive and to be free; I started to smoulder together a performer/performance, a character wallowing somewhere on the borderline of truth and fiction and who would bring together life and work of a performer. A semi-fictional and semi-autobiographical character called Francis. ( I suppose I could just as well work the idea as myself, but it feels more fun to at least ostensibly saddle the responsibility to someone  invented.)

The work-in-progress-opportunity at  Zodiak gives me time to try out things in practice, study references and sketch what Francis could shape into.

Anyway, right now it feels important to work on an open-minded and explicit relationship with what is emerging from inside me; to receive and show both the shitty and the wonderful feelings related to the job and to dance."

– Hanna