Mr. Tomi Paasonen

ITAK - Regional Dance Centre of Eastern Finland, Artistic Director Kuopio, Finland

Tomi Paasonen, born in Helsinki, Finland, is currently the artistic director of ITAK – Regional Dance Centre of Eastern Finland, an organisation creating infrastructure for contemporary dance and performance art, based in Kuopio Finland.

After dancing in Germany and the United States 1989-1997, Mr Paasonen co-founded KUNST-STOFF, a San Francisco based experimental inter-disciplinary physical theatre and arts-event production company. In 2002 he moved to Berlin, where he launched PAA (Public Artistic Affairs) and has since worked internationally as a choreographer, stage director and teacher.

His eclectic dance-, opera- and media works have a strong aesthetic language that often is rooted in documentary layers, provided by the theme-specific casts he chooses for his productions. His practice of working both with professional performers and laymen, ranging from disabled performers, prisoners, sexual minorities and people from all walks of life, has led him to develop an expansive array of working methods.

Tomi has been awarded with the critic’s awards in San Franciscos 1998, “Theatre Event of the Year 2000” in Finland for his piece Olotila – State of Being and “Pro Dance Award” in Finland for innovations in the field of dance. KUNST-STOFF has been awarded with the Bay Guardian Goldie Award – Company of the Year in San Francisco and his piece “W” was nominated for the Isadora Duncan Award for best piece of 2004 in San Francisco. Critics Choice “Collaboration of the Year 2007” by Arnd Wesemann / Ballett/Tanz for the piece “Interface”. His piece “Monogram” won 2nd price at the International Solo Dance Festival in Stuttgart in 2009. His work has been performed and produced throughout Europe, in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Brazil, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

On Friday 13th of March, we invited 6 International delegates to give us an overview of the dance sector in their region. What are the landscapes, trends, difficulties and new directions coming out of their country or region? What are their influences? Where do they fit on a global stage and how what connections do they see with Australian Dance? This is what Tomi Paasonen had to say.