Utopia (empatiasta) / Utopia (on empathy)

Utopia (on empathy) is a multidisciplinary performance where a better and more empathic future is created. The work combines dance, movement, singing, music, and discussions on future visions and the role of empathy in the vision work. The working group comprises 9 members whose performance opens new viewpoints on the future through movement, information and live music – thus influencing our choices in the present moment. The performers act as an orchestra in full unison: building a choreography, playing music, singing, dancing.

Through Utopia (on empathy), the working group examines the future with honest eyes, yet with optimism of the future. If everything went as well as possible, what would the future look like? How can these visions be pursued with the choices of today? What do people really want from the future, and will these wishes meet the definitions laid out by experts? What roles do hope and empathy play in understanding the big picture.

Utopia (on empathy) is composed of future hopes of individuals and their relation to wider societal utopias. The working group facilitates the collision of future visions of different people and experts, and creates a space for dreaming in an empathic setting.

The performance consists of 10-minute scenes that are devised for one spectator at a time. One audience member and one performer sit face to face on chairs, looking at each other. After the act of looking, the performer starts a performative sequence that the rest of the audience can also follow. Each performance is unique and mixes different artistic disciplines. Previous spectators have described the performance as their most wonderful and empathic performative experience.

The group has worked on the performance series since 2015 in many localities, in different types of spaces, and focusing on different topics. Each performance has been unique, site-specific and always different. Each venue has added something permanent to the series. The shows in Helsinki will compile together the layers of the previous performances.

Production: Sari Palmgren, Zodiak - Center for New Dance




Hotel Katajanokka / Katajanokka prison


Music composition, sound design

working group

Choreography (together with the working group) and director Sari Palmgren
Lighting and spatial design Heikki Paasonen
Music composition and sound design Tuomas Norvio & Janne Masalin
Costume design Karoliina Koiso-Kanttila

Performers: Janne Masalin, Tuomas Norvio, Sari Palmgren, Jukka Peltola, Tuovi Rantanen, Jukka Tarvainen, Sanna Hirvonen (Nordplus internship) and volunteers from the Full Year Class Anna Korpinen, Niina Virkkala, Julia Pakkanen, Katia Skylar, Jenni Rytkönen, Jaakko Kaartinen