A real-time interdisciplinary conversation between movement, poetry and soundscapes.
We are thrilled to announce the latest production of the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux – The Texture of Connection. A performance inspired by Ethiopian traditional dancing, breaking and hip hop cyphers. The work premieres on the 15th of June at the URB festival at Kiasma Theatre, Helsinki, Finland.
The Texture of Connection is an organic performance created by Amsterdam-based artist and dancer Yohannes Henriksson (b. 1992). The work brings spontaneous, raw and untamed ways of dancing and expressing from the underground dance cyphers to the public stage, which is realised through real-time experimentation.
With little preparation and pre-designed choreography, the performers respond to each other in the moment of performing, blending their styles and techniques in a layered and ever-evolving result. The performance aims to blur the lines between the different disciplines, but also to blur the lines within the disciplines themselves, by challenging the ”norms” of how they should be performed. Through this blurring, the artists find a common language by sparking a conversation between the artists and the different art forms.
The work brings forth different voices: brown, black, and white, men and women, and sexual/gender minorities are represented in the ensemble. At its core, The Texture of Connection is an improvisational performance, which creates a safer space for the artists to be themselves in their performance process, and by such allows for untamed ways of expression on stage.
“The performance allows the audience to experience what is usually practised behind closed doors, in the rehearsal studio. It is not about the end result, but about the process, which is where you find the magic. I’ve been based in The Netherlands and Belgium for seven years and have found that people push the boundaries further in break and street dance. The URB festival is the perfect fit for this performance, as it challenges the traditional way of doing things.” shares Yohannes Henriksson, the Creator of The Texture of Connection and current Project Assistant at the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux.
“The performance embodies cross-disciplinary artistic interventions in a unique and organic creative ensemble, which is something that The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux not only supports, but actively encourages. In his project, Henriksson has brought together artists from the Netherlands and Finland, and given them a chance to blend their creative practices in a collaborative performance piece, which will be shown on one of the most important stages in Finland,” shares Malin Bergström, Head of Programme at the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux.
The performance is commissioned and produced by The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux and premieres on the 15th of June at URB festival at Kiasma Theatre, Helsinki, Finland. The production is made in collaboration with Kiasma Theatre and Alpo Aaltokoski Company in Finland.
Yohannes Henriksson (BE/NL/FI), Project Creator and Coordinator
Hamis Ahmed (FI), performer, dancer
S*an D. Henry-Smith (US/NL), performer, performance poet
Sebastian Kurtén (FI), performer, soundscapes
Saskia Nartey-Wemegah (NL), performer, dancer
Sara Lehto (FI), lighting designer
Yohannes Henriksson (BE/NL/FI, he/him) is a movement artist and photographer. Through his intuition driven artistic perspective, Yohannes explores expression, liminal spaces and abstractionism.
Hamis Ahmed (FI, he/him), also known as “Hamis Zzy” is a movement artist, dancer and photographer based in Helsinki. His work focuses on movement and expression. Through movement, Hamis mirrors different forms of expression of the body and his surroundings.
S*an D. Henry-Smith (US/NL, they/them) is an artist, writer, and collaborative practitioner engaging Black experimentalism in and across poetry, photography, sound, and performance.
Sebastian Kurtén (FI, he/him) is a music producer, sound designer and dancer. His work is inspired by daily life, everyday objects, and sounds. Sebastian is interested in the process of turning something casual and recognisable into something unrecognisable and abstract.
Saskia Nartey-Wemegah (NL, she/her) is a club style dancer and movement artist with her main dance styles being house and waacking. Her artistic work focuses on honest expression and on interaction with her surroundings.
Sara Lehto (FI, he/she/they) is a lighting designer based in Helsinki. She has worked on many different kinds of performances, mainly dance and music shows. In their work, they try to bring out the best in each performance by trying to focus on the fundamental pieces of the performance.
The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux, Belgium
The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux, based in Brussels, builds bridges and maintains connections between cultural practitioners and institutions in Finland and the Benelux region.
URB festival, Kiasma Theatre, Finland
URB is an annual street art and culture festival that presents the influence of ever-changing street art and youth culture on different forms of contemporary art. The festival, founded in the year 2000, is produced by Kiasma Theatre in Helsinki, Finland. The festival program includes premieres by young Finnish artists, international guest performances as well as residencies, presentations, artist talks and workshops that illuminate the processes of creating art. URB23, 9.6.–17.6.2023. See the full festival programme.
Alpo Aaltokoski Company, Finland
The performance is made possible by a mini residency in Helsinki, kindly provided by the Alpo Aaltokoski Company. The Alpo Aaltokoski Company was founded in 1995 to perform contemporary dance works under the direction of choreographer-dance artist Alpo Aaltokoski. During his career, Aaltokoski has created more than 65 choreographies and the Company’s works have been performed in nearly 30 countries on five continents: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America and Africa.
The Texture of Connection at URB Festival
15.6.2023 at 17:00–17:45 (EEST)
1st floor, Kiasma Theatre, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
Mannerheiminaukio 2, Helsinki, Finland
The performance takes place in English.
Tickets: free admission
Yohannes Henriksson, Project Assistant at the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux
Please contact Ela Suleymangil, Communications Officer at the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux
+32 (0)486 84 42 48
You may use the images free of rights for articles about the performance. Please do not crop the images and always mention the full copyright.