My Oulu: Young dancers move with TaikaBox

”It is harder to silence moving bodies, it is harder to forbid the abstraction of contemporary art, and there are more and more humanitarian messages this abstract essence captures,” says Elena Vlasenko. Photo: Sami Hänninen


Julkaistu: Kirjoittaja: Sanna Riikka Johanna Häyrynen

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TaikaBox is an Oulu-based dance and technology organisation – originally created in the UK in 2010 by choreographer/dancer Tanja Råman and video artist/designer John Collingswood. TaikaBox creates new ways for people to experience dance by producing projects on stage, screen and public spaces and by integrating technology at the core of art making.

TaikaBox is dedicated to developing and sustaining the spirit of community – within artists, audiences and in-between. This spring TaikaBox is working with the local youth group which practices Finnish folk dance. The group is based in Oulunsalo and it is called ”Kepposet”. It consists of seven young female dancers aged 16-22 years old, who have been practicing and performing together for several years.

Kepposet in Oulunsalo. Photo: John Collingswood

TaikaBox is introducing the Kepposet to digital tools which are apt to enhance their artistic activities and help them experience folk dance in an innovative way. Kepposet are keen to make a short video piece to showcase their dancing.

Throughout the project, the young people will be vlogging about their experience – the results will be shared on social media and on the TaikaBox website. The young people direct this project themselves and TaikaBox is tuning in to their goals and dreams. It is funded by Oulu City’s Peliliike programme.

”In Peliliike project we will have innovation competition Skillimylly, where we can make possible for young people to expand their knowledge in the digital world”, explains Tanja Råman.

In Skillimylly groups of 15-29 years olds can make innovative projects about digital playing and youth work.

TaikaBox superteam are John Collingswood, Tanja Råman and Lölä Vlasenko. Photo: John Collingswood

Elena’s nickname Lölä

Elena “Lölä” Vlasenko joined TaikaBox as an intern after having moved to Oulu in 2020 while she was completing he studies of the Finnish language in OSAO. Vlasenko has a degree in piano, she has also studied drums, and it is hard for her to spend a day without playing the piano or dancing.

TaikaBox brings contemporary dance to the people, allowing them to see the beauty in every movement and every body.

”Our activities are about connecting through times, distances and backgrounds – by building sustainable networks within artistic communities and between artists and audiences – both on a local and international level. It is achieved through improvisations in choreography and technology, creating a safe space for innovative immersive experiences in interdisciplinary and performing arts context”, discusses Vlasenko.

Vlasenko’s first name is Elena. Lölä is a very rare nickname for Elena.

”It was captured in some old songs and movies of the early Soviet Union. I like that in Finnish it captures the ö and ä – two sounds that seem the hardest to hear and pronounce for many foreigners in Finland. These two sounds capture a lot in the essense of the beautiful and the musical Finnish language.”


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