The workshop was organised as a part of Writing Movement in Finland by Liikekieli.com and started with 12 participants – six writers and six dance artists in September 2013. It has now come to its end. However, the participants as well as the workshop leader journalist Raisa Rauhamaa still share the interest and are eager to continue meeting with this group at least a few times a year around their texts about dance, to go and see performances together and share writing processes to deepen their skills in and understanding of dance writing.
The workshop participants have all been working in pairs since autumn and some of them also continue to collaborate based on the good experience of dialogue during the workshop. The workshop had monthly one-day session together in Helsinki with a different theme each month.
It started with dance criticism with viewpoints from both artist’s and critic’s in September, and was followed by light, sound and costume design in dance with three designers’ presentations of their work. In November two dance researchers from University of Helsinki visited the workshop and shared their thoughts, interests and professional paths to dance in an academic context. In December the theme was dance in communities and outside the stage; the vast variety of social and applied dance.
After each session the participants wrote different types of text about performances they went to see: suggestions for program texts, reviews, text based on the audiovisuality of the performance, texts based on artist interviews, or texts about freely chosen forms of dance happening outside the dance venues: in school, out in the street – or more provocative columns about dance in a larger societal context.
The writing workshop wants to continue
At the end of January 2014 was the last official session with the group. We gathered to get feedback and discuss the last writing tasks with good food and drink. Coinciding with the annual meeting of Liikekieli.com organization’s board, the latter part of the meeting was open for anyone interested to join in. We also talked with the workshop group about the possibility to continue meeting independently, even if the Writing Movement project ends. The way to continue is still open, but we will start it this spring and are confident to find a place and time for keeping it alive in Helsinki.
Liikekieli.com collected feedback from the writing workshop participants. The diverse content and the speakers in the workshop was appreciated. The participants felt they had gotten open feedback and constructive commentary on their own texts and also had taken part in interesting discussion and gained new perspective on dance writing.
It had been empowering to claim the right to write one’s own reasoned opinions in the text. The workshop had also inspired the dance artists and writers to consider ways of combining journalistic text, narrative and the writer’s personal voice in the texts.
Writing Movement in Finland continues still in Kedja Encounter in Mariehamn, on the self-governing Åland Islands in August 2014. There it will be coordinated by Dance Info Finland and Dance Information Norway.
The writer is Writing Movement project coordinator in Finland together with Liikekieli.com’s editor in chief Veera Lamberg.