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.

Mikko Niemistö ja Lau Lukkarila

Mikko Niemistö

Mikko Niemistö is a choreographer, performing artist and curator who works in Helsinki and abroad. He has created both solo performances and multidisciplinary works where different forms of art engage in dialogue. He has graduated as a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography from the New Performative Practices MA program from the School of Dance and Circus in Stockholm in 2017.

In his works, Niemistö explores the relationship between the human body and its environment and probes the human body's conscious and unconscious physical connections to the structures of the society. He is especially interested in silent physical knowledge, the background noises of the body and accumulations of bodily memories. He currently focuses on the blind spots and shadow zones of everyday reality, like dreaming, protesting and the digital world.

Lau Lukkarila

Lau Lukkarila is a choreographer and performer born in Oulu, Finland. Between 2008-2013 they studied theatre, acting, contemporary dance, voice and performance in Finland and Spain.

Lau is interested in the notion of ‘emotional body’ and sentimentality with subversive intent.

Since 2016 Lau is based in Vienna, where they received the Austrian Federal Chancellor’s Office’s START scholarship and the danceWEB Scholarship at ImPulsTanz Festival. In 2019 Lau performed the solo work Trouble at Rakete Festival in Tanzquartier Wien and published an internet EP Super Like. In 2020 they premiered NYXXX at imagetanz with brut Wien and published the internet EP HUFKLANG. In 2020-2022 they are part of the Freischwimmen production platform for theatre and performance.

Lau has worked with Keith Hennessy (US) & Peaches (US/DE), Marta Navaridas (ES/AT), Veza Fernández (ES/AT), Karin Pauer (AT), Mzamo Nodlwana (SA/AT), Costas Kekis (GR/AT), Michael Turinsky (AT), Manuel Riegler (AT), Berivan Sayici (AT), Franziska Kabisch (DE/AT), Magdalena Fischer (AT), Alison Kopit (US), Be Hope Heintzman (CA), Kaaos Company (FI) and Reality Research Centre (FI).