Steps and traces in exceptional times

While waiting for the start of the 2021 Side Step Festival, I have been insecure: partly sad, but above all waiting and impressed.

This time creates uncertainty for each of us about the outlook and expectations of everyday life and the near future. The future is foggy. However, the feeling of anticipation and enthusiasm is built on the fact that we did not cancel Side Step as a whole.

During this Side Step, we decided to do what is possible and by the means that are always safe to implement within the current restrictions. And without compromising the inner values ​​of art, supporting their uniqueness.

Side Step Festival once again reflects the prevailing world and the things that need to be considered in the present moment - the importance of encounter and community building and understanding in our lives; on the other hand, voices left in the fringes or the buriend ebehind the buzz of a fast-paced global world.

We had already planned different versions of Side Step’s international program, but month by month we realized that none of them could be implemented in February 2021. We have therefore planned this program at a very fast pace during the past month.

And here I want to thank all the artists we have contacted and our various partners for how quickly you have responded to our various proposals and built this year’s Side Step prorgramme together. It is a pleasure to do this work with you! I would also like to thank my co-thinker and curatorial partner choreographer Elina Pirinen for our trip towards this February’s festival season.

Side Step 2021 is, above all, a festival showing solidarity towards the Finnish freelance dance field, which has suffered during the corona pandemic. We want to be present and enable art to be created, as well as provide the public with safe places and ways to experience the art of dance. We provide places for artists to do work, and in particular, we support the work of local artists through a variety of means.

We offer both studio and stage residences for different working groups to experiment and further develop their own artistic work, to build the future. Towards audience, these residencies open up both as open events for the small audience and as live stream demo performances.

In addition, we will present a dance work for a very small audience in a virtual world, as well as a varied program in the online environment during the festival weeks.

With the festival, we want to create visions of hope and tomorrow, through doing the work and sharing these results. Welcome to Side Step festival to experience the steps of this exceptional period and leave common traces in these shared moments. Following in the footsteps of American writer and activist Margaret J. Wheatley: To do what we can, with what we have, where we are.

Harri Kuorelahti
Artisti Director

p.s. Follow our website and social media, we'll publish some additions to the programme on the last week of January.