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SUSANNA LEINONEN BECOMES ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE AT STOA

Choreographer Susanna Leinonen has been invited to become Stoa’s artist-in-residence during 2012-2014. She will open up her dance works through working with the audience, meetings with artists, open rehearsals and workshops. Stoa will host both new and previously premiered works over the next three years, as well as collaborative evenings with international groups.

“Stoa3-year residence is a wonderful opportunity for me to bring dance closer to the spectator. It is a chance to increase interest in contemporary dance and let spectators witness the birth of a work through the meetings with artists”, says Leinonen.

Leinonen rose to become one of the most interesting Finnish choreographers with her work in 2000 No one, just your friend, which presented a unique movement language and refined visuals and was an uncompromising total art work, something that has become her trademark over the years.

Leinonen’s Susanna Leinonen Company celebrated its tenth anniversary last year. The group is at the cutting edge of Finnish contemporary dance, and its time in residence in Stoa will begin with Blind Mind. This was the dance event of spring 2011 – it sold out and will run again in Stoa on 14-19.4.2012.

Leinonen’s new work Romeo and Juliet, a collaboration with the choreographer Jouka Valkama, will be performed in Stoa in September 2012. The inspiration for the collaboration came from an idea to differentiate between the main characters with different choreographers’ movement language. “I want to dive into this most famous of all tragic love stories and find a new interpretation by combining ballet and contemporary dance techniques. I can’t wait to share the artistic process with another choreographer”, says Leinonen.

In recent years she has made several parts of works in collaboration with many artists from different art fields. “I hope I can inspire other artists to take part in all different kinds of collaborations because I think this will serve not just the artists in the future but the audience too. Above all I hope my 3-year period will find a broader audience for contemporary dance”, Leinonen emphasises. The coming cooperation with international groups will bring a new dimension to Leinonen’s term. “Collaborative projects give energy and thoughts to one’s own group too”, she adds.

Susanna Leinonen graduated from the Theatre Academy of Finland’s Department of Dance in 2000. Four years later she was awarded the Finland prize and Dancework of the Year. Since 2008 Leinonen has worked with a 5-year state grant for artists. Her works have been performed in 18 countries.