Matti Tauru, dancer of tanzmainz, performs for the first time in his home country

German contemporary dance group tanzmainz brings to the festival an enchating piece “Soul Chain”, choreographed by Sharon Eyal. We’ll also get to enjoy domestic expertise in the performance, as the group includes Finnish-born dancer Matti Tauru, who performs for the first time in his home country.

© De-Da Productions

We asked from Tauru, 31, how the path to tanzmainz has been like and what thoughts he has about the piece and the upcoming festival.

”I started dancing when I was 9 years old in my hometown Kouvola, when I follow my older brother Mikko to comptetitive dance. Music was always a big part of my life, and movement naturally connected with it. Comptetitive dance gave me first lessons about movement and its control.”

At 19, Tauru transitioned from competitive dancing to contemporary dance and ballet. The young promising dancer spent a year at the VNF School in Karjaa, after which he was accepted as a student at The Place Conservatoire in London for a bachelor’s degree. 

“In my third year at The Place, I started auditioning for different companies. I got an invitation to perform with the tanzmainz contemporary dance group at Staatstheater Mainz, led by Honne Dohrmann, and was offered a contract.” 

tanzmainz – where different kind of performing arts meet

tanzmainz is part of the State Theatre Mainz, acting as a bridge between the State Theatre institution and the field of dance. 

The group does not have its own choreographer. Instead the group is visited by both renowned choreographers and young rising talents from the freelance field. 

“We also don’t have a distinctive movement language, which makes it quite a challenging group for dancers to work”, Tauru explains. 

The dance group constantly aims to expand its repertoire with innovative dance productions.  

“tanzmainz is a place of creation, collaboration, and combining different kind of performing arts. Dancers with very different backgrounds create a versatile and rich working environment.”  

In Soul Chain, extreme precision, elegance and physical movement language are combined into a powerful whole. Matti Tauru is the second dancer seen from the center on the left © Andreas Etter

The extremely physical Soul Chain is inspired by love

In Kuopio, tanzmainz presents the captivating piece Soul Chain, choreographed by Sharon Eyal. Who is one of today’s most sought-after contemporary dance creators.

“Soul Chain is a piece that deals with repetition, routine, rhythm, community, and the individual. The piece is like a massive human-made machinery that lives, behaves, and breathes like its own ecosystem. It portrays humans as both primitive and highly evolved simultaneously.”

The theme of the piece stems from love, although romance may not be apparent too much.

“Sharon says that love is the key word in her work. Love in all its colors from light to dark. I think Soul Chain is a piece that evokes emotions when you see it. And not just seen—it’s more about experiencing it.”

The extreme physicality of the piece creates a holistic experience. The choreography for the 17 dancers is incredibly challenging, pushing the dancers to their limits.

“The choreography is very repetitive and physically constrained—like an obsessive mantra in movement and also mind. The choreography has us spend long periods of time on our ‘half-toes’ or in massive grand plié positions. Giving the piece characteristics of pain and anguish.”

Simultaneously, the almost soaring rising body, humor, light, and even the ecstatic atmosphere color these visibly physical struggles.

” The piece is entirely counted from start to finish, and there for is quite rational. Even though we know how and when everything happens, the experience for the dancers is very different every time.”

Performing for a Finnish audience is an honor

Tauru’s journey as a dancer has taken him from Kouvola to some of the world’s largest stages, such as the Bolshoi in Moscow, Theatre de La Ville in Paris, and The Joyce in New York.

Tauru says that the choreography takes the dancers for long periods of time on “half-toes” or in huge grand plie positions, which give the piece features of pain and agony. Tauru is second from the left, seen from the center. © Andreas Etter

“These experiences on big stages have been absolutely incredible. The best thing in my dancer’s career, however, has been my colleagues, my coworkers, who have become part of my family. They have taught, inspired, and supported me from the beginning to this day—not just as an artist but also as a person.”

Having traveled international stages for a long time, Tauru is looking forward to his upcoming visit to Kuopio. Although the city is familiar to him from his competitive dancing days, this will be his first visit to the festival— and the first performance in Finland after the start of his dance career.

“It’s a big step for me to perform in my home country. The opportunity to come to Kuopio and dance in front of a Finnish audience will be a very emotional experience that I am eagerly looking forward to!”

Tauru mentions that he sees his future abroad but always holds his homeland in high regard.

“Finland is always my homeland, the place where my roots are. I strongly feel Finnish culture as my own. I look forward to sharing the Finnish summer with my colleagues. I especially look forward to the sauna, the lakes, the singing of birds, and the food!”

Soul Chain by tanzmainz / Sharon Eyal will be seen at the Kuopio City Theatre on June 14 & 15.

Tauru encourages everyone to come to the performance with an open mind:

“You don’t need to ‘understand’ the performance; you just need to watch. It’s not intellectual but more of an experience that we lovingly share with you! Enjoy!”

Check the trailer of the piece and book your tickets here!