Tomi Paasonen

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


Tomi Paasonen, born in Helsinki, Finland, is a choreographer, artistic director and curator and 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. As part of this position, he curates two festivals: Lonely in the Rain takes place in Joensuu, Finland every November and is a meeting place for international and local productions and focuses on socio-political and auto-biographic works. Paikallisliike festival in Kuopio is a platform for dance art created in Eastern Finland adjacent to the Kuopio International Dance Festival.

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 and stage director.

His eclectic dance-, opera- and media works have a strong aesthetic language as he mostly designs the costumes for his productions himself. The productions are often rooted in documentary layers, provided by the theme-specific casts he chooses for his pieces. 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. His pieces often break the 4th wall into immersive happenings, giving the spectator more possibilities to shape the experience.

Tomi has been awarded with the critic’s awards in San Francisco 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, Houston, San Francisco, Brazil, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Curatorial statement

Looking forward to deepening and widening the various relationships between ITAK – Dance Centre of Eastern Finland and the Australian dance community at large. Our main interests include finding individual progressive artists with an experimental and courageous edge, engaged in socially conscious work with political relevance that question and expand the possibilities of what dance has to offer both to the performing arts and society as a whole.

Dates attending Dance Massive: 13 – 27 March


Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts