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Press Release 1.10.2020

Helsinki Butoh Festival
11th-15th of November 2020
Oranssi, Suvilahti (Kaasutehtaakatu 1, building 11 - Valvomo)

The purpose of the Helsinki Butoh festival is to send a butoh message to the world, to provide
opportunities and to support butoh artists and butoh activities in Finland. I hope that this opportunity
will allow Butoh to enter society and have a positive impact.

Ken Mai
Artistic Director of the Helsinki Butoh Festival

The second Helsinki Butoh Festival is taking place in November 11th-15th 2020 in Oranssi (Suvilahti, Helsinki). The audience is invited to experience over 15 butoh performances by Helsinki based and international artists.

The Festival program includes two to three performances every day created by butoh artists in collaboration with musicians, actors, performance and visual artists from Finland and other countries. During the Festival there will also be an opportunity to taste and experience butoh dance in flesh - at the butoh workshops led by different teachers, as well as at the parties taking place on two last days of the Festival. On the first day (11th of November) and the last day (15th of November) the audience is invited to meet the artists and the Festival crew at to a moderated discussion.

The Festival is supported by the City of Helsinki.

Ticket prices:
20€/10€ a day
30€/40€ - personal Festival pass with access to all the performances every day

About butoh

Butoh is one of the major developments in the unique dance art form in the latter half of the 20th century. It has revolutionized the way people view what dance is, and can be. The influence of Butoh on today ́s dance world equals that of Martha Graham or Mary Wigman in the earlier decades of the last century.

Originating in Japan in the turbulent late 1950s, Butoh was an attempt to create new forms of movement and expression. Profoundly rooted in Japan culture, Butoh looks to traditional movements of the Japanese body – such as the mincing steps that one must take when wearing Kimono to create new forms of movement that belong neither to Western dance nor to traditional Japanese dance. So that Butoh can be understood and appreciated by Japanese and non-Japanese alike.

Today it is enjoying tremendous acclaim in the US, in Europe, Mexico and South America, etc, and has become a strong source of inspiration for dancers in these and other countries. Butoh`s powerful image and its totally new approach to dance have stirred the interest and imagination of a growing audience in the world.

"Shades of Darkness" by Jean Viala & Nourit Masson-Sekine (1988)

For the additional information, media accreditation, or interview requests, please contact us:


Oranssi, Suvilahti (Helsinki)

During the weekdays, the performances will start at 7 pm, during the weekend at 5 pm.

The Festival will open Minja Mertanen (FIN) with And I Followed. Katia Skylar & Laura Martin (RUS/FRA) will continue the program with The Taste of Remembrance, a healing and transformative journey of celebrating and re-establishing the feminine power. The opening day will complete a shamanistic duo Maanväki from Jyväskylä with their Beginning – Alku. After the performances there will be a chance to meet the Festival artists at a moderated discussion.


The program of the second day, Thursday 12th, will consist of two solos: Imprints / Jäljet by Jaakko Kuikka (FIN) and Tirgonen Pitch by Meri Karhu (FIN) and a performance of Rhythmos Noir collective and Madar Matoyo – I efface I.


Friday, the 13th will be the day of three solos by Finnish butoh artists: Rakka by Sonja Kilpeläinen, Korpin Kulku / Raven's Pass by Santeri Vikström and The Flower of Emptiness / Tyhjyyden kukka by Ruusu.


The program on the Saturday 14th will have a strong Japanese influence. It will start with Jodo 静動 - Silence of Movement by Tuuli Malla, Mari Mäkiö & Yukina Yamamoto (FIN/JAP) followed by Anton Vartiainen (FIN) with the Syrjän seudut / Periferia and Ken Mai (JAP) with the Mystery of Existence / 存在の謎 / Sonzai no nazo. Inari Virmakoski’s video installation will also find it’s time in the program!


The program of the last day, Sunday 15th, includes a solo work Lähellä / Close by Aino Aleksandra Johansson (FIN) and a performance Reborn choreographed by Ken Mai, an artistic director of the Festival.


On Saturday and Sunday the audience is also invited to express themselves to dance parties! DJs and VJs will set the mood! In addition to the scheduled program, we will keep some space for surprises and pop up, improvised performances on the Festival’s venue (Oranssi) and some other locations! Stay tuned!

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