“Spectators are brought to tears, then made them laugh until their abs hurt.”
30 years ago young dancers Tiina Lindfors, Eeva Soini and Lassi Sairela went to make the impossible come true. They only had talent and each other. No space, money or fame.
Eeva’s contacts helped them get two square meters of space from Turun Tanssioppilaitos (Turku Dance Institute) office. The stage could be used for practice in daytime. Performance spaces were made to empty shops, cellars and visiting galleries and churches. Åst gave their studio for the young theatre with a budget. There was also collaboration with Turku City Theatre.
A game changer was renting their own space in 1992. Dirty old glass-blowing factory was renovated to a theatre with the dancer’s own work. Slowly the audiance base got bigger, spaces were renovated three times and ERI started getting public funding due to both quality and amount of work. With almost 400 shows abroad in 30 different countries and over 4500 shows, ERI’s members have gotten some of the country’s biggest art awards.
Today ERI is the biggest dance theatre in Finland, seven permanent dancers bringing an unquestionable first place in Turku. How was the miracle achieved? Definitely with a heavy amount of work. Artistic and organisational skills, absolutely. With great love and humility, with the audiance as well as in the theatre. One most important thing is believing in your way to do theatre. Lets leave a little credit for wonder, that’s what art is at it’s best. A great and demanding road from heart to heart, experience to experience.
The dancers in Dance Theatre Eri are Tiina Lindfors, Lassi Sairela, Eeva Soini, Laura Alho, Toni Laakkonen, Karoliina Lummikko and James McNamara. The group is known for their original and influential dance performances both home and abroad.