Alice glanced nervously along the table, as she walked up the large hall, and noticed that there were about fifty guests, of all kinds: some were animals, some birds,
 and there were even a few flowers among them.

From the book Through the looking-glass, by Lewis Carroll

A warm end-of-the-summer-hello, combined with some more insights about this year’s Moving in November festival (about to happen between November 5th – 15th).

How does one plan an international contemporary dance festival in times when countries all over the world simply close their boarders to protect their citizens from a circulating virus? A situation that has thrown us back to the local, to everything in our closer and closest surroundings. An enclosure, that brought forth how small our world can become while at the same time we can stay zoomed out and be virtually in contact with almost everybody around the globe. A situation that added to my ongoing reflection about the role of the local artist scene within Moving in November. How can the festival engage in a stronger way with artists living and working in the Helsinki area while building bridges to traveling artists coming to town? Under my term as artistic director, I would like to engage with this question, creating various frames that further connect the festival with the visiting artist, the local artists scene and you, our audience. Apart from the pieces the artists bring with in their luggage and that are presented in the festival.

This year we establish a discursive line that stretches over the whole period of the festival. The Soup Talks are a series of informal conversations with the artists presenting their work during Moving in November. We welcome you around a big table with a bowl of warm soup and bread. We invite you to join in, to listen, to pose questions and to discuss. Each of the talks will be hosted by an artist based in the Helsinki area. The Soup Talks are the first attempt to connect the presenting artists in a stronger way with the festivals’ audience and the local artist scene. Enhancing discussions and encounters in a casual manner, providing a platform to join in and share. The talks are expected to take place every day between November 6th and 15th at lunch time. The details and the whole festival program will be announced in September.

Coming back to the initial question: how does one plan a festival in these times. In our case, we plan it with a lot of conviction, curiosity and hope. That the richness of our daily interaction with one another can be allowed back. That we are curious to explore together an alternative that hopefully lies between the ban of physical closeness and installing it as the new norm and our old way of interacting with one another. That it will be possible to invite you, our public and the invited artist back into the theater spaces in November. (Especially also, as the artistic communities all over the world have been heavily affected by the global lockdown.) We will of course invent new forms of presenting art works and we are well prepared to receive you as an audience in a different way under a special safety protocol, but in the end we have to be highly flexible while planning and acknowledge that the situation can change overnight.

Stay well and hopefully see you in November!

Kerstin Schroth & Moving in November festival team