Last week we had the first ever Nordic Dance Helsinki Spring Party where we celebrated our first successful year! It was such a fantastic night. Everyone seemed happy and joyful, people talked with each other, danced and seemed to enjoy themselves. The music was beautiful, danceable and very special since you don't hear Ampron Prunni playing so many gigs these days and Topi Korhonen and Matias Tyni played their first ever gig as a mandolin duo. We as Nordic Dance Helsinki team were really happy that so many people turned up and seemed to enjoy the evening.
A B O U T N O R D I C D A N C E
Nordic Dance Helsinki is a folk dance club I've been arranging since last autumn with folk dancer Riina Hosio and folk musician and dancer Saana Kujala. At Nordic Dance I'm a musician and sometimes also teach dancing. I met Riina accidentally last spring and we found out we had the same dream: to have a place in Helsinki where people could dance folk dances in the social context regularly, with live music and without any pressure or commitments. Also we wanted to share the experience of social dancing based on Nordic traditional dances with as many people as possible. We both knew Saana shared our dream and instead of only dreaming we decided to act!
With Nordic Dance Helsinki we want to create interactive and social dancing culture that invites you to join even if you aren't familiar with Nordic folk dances. That's why we have always a workshop where we teach couple dances like waltz, schottish, polska etc. and also group dances that were originally danced in Finland around 17th hundreds – like ceilidh in Schottish or Irish culture or American style square dancing but with Finnish traditional elements! Our aim is to create the atmosphere so easy-going that everyone gets the feeling of dancing and music no matter how much they've danced before.
It's been a bit surprising for me to end up arranging such thing as Nordic Dance. I've learned to dance folk dances as a kid, by imitating adults and trying on the dance floor. But it's only lately I've realised I have that skill in me. And that I could actually use it to give other people some of that joy I myself have got by dancing at the festivals, getting to know people by asking them to dance or being one (or two as a couple) in the crowded and hot dance floor.
Lately I've also realised that I actually enjoy so much all the occasions where people do things together. Such things are for example watching ice hockey and celebrating the world championship by going out on the streets (Finnish people are very passionate about ice hockey) or going to rock festivals and being in the festival bubble wearing weird clothes and hugging everyone. Social folk dancing at its best gives me the same feeling and as I love both, being together in a big crowd and folk dancing, why not to try to combine them!
At the Spring Party the whole year really got wrapped. So many people came and stayed for the whole night. We hired Ampron Prunni all the way from Kaustinen and Halsua to come and play. We chose the band because we think they really play traditional music straight from their hearts and that's what gives an extra magic to our first spring celebration. This is them playing for dance at Højbystævnet in Denmark, check them out!
The venue, an old villa in Helsinki, was very beautiful in the sun light with the old wallpapers and plants and the most perfect dance floor. The atmosphere was cheerful, warm and open, people danced and spoke with each other, no matter whether they knew each other before or not. The evening was relaxed and filled with dance and music but also there was a pinch of something very festive and formal, as there is when the schools end and summer is about to start. I got to play with Nordic Dance Helsinki Extended House Band and also danced with many people. BEST. Here's a video of us playing Kolomuunen, traditional tune from Kauhajoki, Finland, originally sung by Sofia Risku. The dance is called kolomoospolkka! See what a feeeeeeeling!!!!
This world definitely needs occasions, places and times for people to connect and do things together. That's what we try to make Nordic Dance Helsinki to be, besides a folk dance club. As the first year is over, it seems that we are getting there and we definitely want to get going and growing. Can't wait to start again in the autumn. Hope to see you on the dance floor then, starting on Tuesday the 10th of September!
I hope you have a good weekend and find something nice to do together. I'm going to find a jam session to play at! Thanks for reading, until next time!