Side Step Festival 2021 has invited dance artists from different backgrounds to share a conversation with each other. This artist dialogues will be published on Zodiak’s website at the beginning of the festival, and they can be viewed until one week after the festival ends.

We wanted to offer a place for collegial meetings and peer conversations about issues important to each artist.

These times have been hard and demanding for everyone, but especially for people working with performing arts and other art forms based on meetings between people. We wanted to start conversations by going back to the core of making, experiencing and loving art. This felt important especially now when the world around is chaotic and uncertain in many ways.

We asked the artist these questions, among others:

  • Why do I do what I do?
  • What is the core reason for me being an artist, and a dance artist in particular?
  • What are those fractions in time or around me, that have created a guiding spark for my artistic activities, both now and in earlier phases of my career?
  • Towards what have I travelled, and towards what am I gravitating at this moment and in these times?

The dialogues will be published on Thu, Feb 4, 2021. They will be available until Feb 21.

Auri Ahola ja Veli Lehtovaara

Auri Ahola

Auri Ahola has worked as a dance artist for 17 years. She has forged an extensive career ranging from classical ballet to contemporary dance and multidisciplinary works. Auri has performed in leading Finnish dance companies in numerous dance stages and festivals internationally. In 2015 she settled in Inari, where she has created dance works, dance films and curated other art projects, often combining contemporary dance with themes and elements of Sámi culture.

Auri’s home languages are Finnish and Inari Sámi, and she lives in her homestead on an island. Artistically she is currently inspired by bringing aspects of everyday life and the surrounding reality into her work. She is interested in a kind of arts craft rooting in the Inari reality and manifesting itself in a physical expression.

Veli Lehtovaara

Veli Lehtovaara is a Finnish choreographer and performer working internationally on the field of dance and experimental theater. He lived and worked in Belgium for the years 2008-18. His works have been presented in central venues and festivals in Europe as well as in South and North America. Lehtovaara often works in a highly collaborative manner and combines elements from multiple disciplines in his choreographic practice. His creations vary from stage work to film and performance-installations. From 2015 onwards his work has been focused on interfaces of ecological thinking, choreographic practice and corporealities.

Currently Lehtovaara is working on a new creation Ikimetäs, which focuses attention on temporality and diversity in old growth forests. The creation is a combination of choreographic work and radio play to be performed in the shopping centres as well as online. Lehtovaara also performs the work Ontto harmaa tanssi (2020) together with choreographer Anna Mustonen and poet Olli-Pekka Tennilä. In 2020-21 Lehtovaara is taking part in a research project by Elisa Aaltola, Outimaija Hakala, Salla Tuomivaara and Matilda Aaltonen: Voiko eläintä kertoa? Years 2018-20 Lehtovaara has been working as a mentor, teacher, assessor and adviser for the bachelor and master programs in dance art at Helsinki Theater Academy.