Performing Animalities – A Praxis is a dance-oriented study, open rehearsal, and a performance, which moves across notions of human and animal, bringing them closer to each other. It is a bodily event composed of touch, movement, sounds and words of two performers – an invitation to interspecies dialogue. What will take place, when one ceases to define “human” as something that separates us from other animals? When instead we turn to animality as a fundamental part of being and recognize our belonging in the animal kingdom – one species in a spectrum of many. How can other kinds of animalities emerge from and inhabit the performing body?
Matilda Aaltonen is a Helsinki-based dancer and choreographer, graduated as Master of Dance Performance in spring 2020 from Uniarts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy. At the moment, Aaltonen’s work revolves around studying relation between humans and other animals. She is part of multidisciplinary collective Voiko?, which studies the challenges of conceptualizing animals in science and arts. She also works in a research project, combining arts and science, called Speaking on behalf of the biospheric voiceless, led by philosopher Elisa Aaltola. Works of Aaltonen have been seen in programming of Reality Research Center and Zodiak.
Veli Lehtovaara is choreographer and performer working internationally in the fields of dance and experimental theater. He has lived and worked in Brussels for the years 2008–2018. Works of Lehtovaara have been seen on central stages and festivals around Europe, North and South America. During the latest years he has focused his work on the interfaces of choreography, ecological thinking, and diversity of the body. Lehtovaara teaches as well as conducts his artistic doctoral thesis in Helsinki Theater Academy.
Markus Tapio is a Helsinki-based sound designer, who works broadly in the fields of contemporary performing arts. Tapio’s work also includes sound works for radio and gallery spaces. Tapio has worked with themes of animality together with Matilda Aaltonen in works such as Lokkijuttu (Reality Research Center, 2021) and Kettu katsoo takaisin – Eläinrepresentaatioista (Yle Radio Gallery, 2021).
Concept, choreography and performance: Matilda Aaltonen and Veli Lehtovaara
Sound design: Markus Tapio
Photo: Matilda Aaltonen
Supported by: Helsinki City’s Helsinki Model