Kuopio Dance Festival exceeded its target number of visitors

The festival attracted thousands of dance enthusiasts to Kuopio more than last year.

Article picture: Uppercut Danseteater @ JP Korpi-Vartiainen

This year, Kuopio Dance Festival met the expectations of the organizers both in terms of the number of visitors and the occupancy rates of the performances. The target number of visitors was 35,000, which was exceeded. The performance by the Ballet School of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet was sold out, and other shows also saw full houses.

The festival week was opened by the award-winning tap dance group Dorrance Dance and the world-renowned dance theatre group Peeping Tom. The German tanzmainz group presented a captivating contemporary dance piece Soul Chain, choreographed by Sharon Eyal.

The week continued with Supervisual Gala evenings. At the sold-out Gala on Friday, June 14th, the Young Creator of Dance Award was presented, this year going to Biret and Gáddjá Haarla Pieski.

Peeping Tom: Diptych © Ulla-Mari Lindström

“Kuopio residents can be proud of the festival”

This year, the festival’s works particularly addressed the themes of love, desire, and longing. Pori Dance Company also brought a delicate piece called Songs to the festival, with choreography by the festival’s artistic director Riku Lehtopolku and the dancers of the piece. Lehtopolku also performed in the piece.

Pori Dance Company: Songs © JP Korpi-Vartiainen

This summer’s festival was the last for the artistic director, who began in the role in 2019, and with this piece, Kuopio Dance Festival expresses its gratitude to Lehtopolku for a magnificent five-year tenure.

Lehtopolku describes his feelings:

“Now that the festival has ended, my predominant feelings are satisfaction and gratitude. The audience found the festival events well, and the feedback I’ve received on the performances has been enthusiastic, which is the best reward for an artistic director.”

“It has been a rare privilege to do this job, and I am deeply grateful for the support I’ve received. I want to wholeheartedly thank the audience and everyone who has been involved in building the Kuopio Dance Festival and whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting over the years. The festival is a collective creation of a large group, of which Kuopio residents can be proud.”

Heavy rain soaked the dancers, but did not interrupt the performance

Towards the end of the dance week, French Collectif Petit Travers and Indian Aditi Mangaldas were featured. Young domestic and international talents took the stage once again in the Dance Schools On Stage concepts. The Ballet School of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet presented a brilliant collection of family-friendly miniature works. 

This year, dance also extended beyond traditional stages. At the Lake Oasis Luoto, the Danish Uppercut Dance Theater and Petri Kekoni Company captivated the audience, with the latter’s four-hour performance undisturbed even by heavy rain.

The winning team of the Carnival Parade “Here we go again” @ Ulla-Mari Lindström

Additionally, the main library hosted two professional performances: one by Jyrki Karttunen and another for children presented by Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth.

As usual, the festival included a lot of free admission programme. On the Savonia Stage and Elo-Forum, dance and culture enthusiasts showcased their talents. The Dance Pavilion offered daily programme such as artist meet-and-greets, workshops, concerts, and evening parties.

The carnival parade featured eight teams that fully embraced the spirit of the event. The newly introduced Dance Challenge charmed the audience with four well-known Kuopio residents, who showcased what they had learned after ten dance lessons on the Maxim stage.

The festival also participated for the first time in the Kaikukortti initiative, with about 200 people attending performances using the Kaikukortti card.

Festival photos can be found here: kuopiodancefestival.fi/en/media-3

Kuopio Dance Festival thanks all festival visitors, artists, partners, and everyone else involved in the dance week!

Next year’s Kuopio Dance Festival will be held from June 6th to 14th, 2025!