Jorma Uotinen - Biography

D.O.B: 28.6.1950 Pori Finland

Artistic director, choreographer, dancer, performer

Artistic director of KUOPIO DANCE FESTIVAL since 2002-present

Artistic director of FINNISH NATIONAL BALLET 1992-2001

Artistic director of dance company of HELSINKI CITY THEATRE 1982-1991

Work as a dancer:

Finnish National Ballet 1970-1976

Groupe de reserche Theatrales de l'Opera de Paris 1976-1980 (dir. Carolyn Carlson)

Teatro Danza La Fenice 1980-1981 (dir.Carolyn Carlson)

Work as a choreographer:

Several works for Finnish National Ballet, Helsinki City Theatre, independent dance companies in Finland.

Works for Ballet and dance companies in Europe:

Royal Danish Ballet, Opera de Paris, Teatro La Scala, Royal Swedish Ballet,

Staatsoper Berlin, Introdans, New Danish Dance Theatre, West Australian Ballet,

Ballet de L'Europa, Grand Theatre de Geneve, Göteborg Operan, and several others.

Uotinen has worked as a danceteacher in several dancecourses in Europa, Tanz Impuls Wien, Stage de danse Thonon les Bains, Groupe de huit, among the others.

Participation in several theatre productions, cinema, jury member of international dance competitions.


Jussi-award for supporting role (Pessi ja Illusia, 1983)

Pro Finlandia 1985

Cultural Award of Helsinki 1989

Groupe de Huit d'Or 1990

Prix d'Italie 1998

Suomi-Award 2000

Chevalier des Arts et Lettres 1997

Officier des Arts et Lettres 2003

More detailed information on Jorma Uotinen can be found at

When I was five years old I wanted to buy the theatre in the city where I was born. At the age of ten I went to ring the door bell of the theatre director to ask if he had any work for me. It turns out he did. I got some acting parts and took care of the actors children, dogs and cats. I soaked up the atmosphere of the theatre in my early childhood. And it all started there:

My wandering, my restlessness, my belief, my suspicion, my impatience, my hallucination, my love , my revenge, my heart, my theatre, my dance.

It is often said that artists are mad, exaggerating, crazy people. Thank God for that. At its extremes this madness provokes, compels and encourages artists. It helps them to take their own understanding of the world to completion. Art arises when a person's mental activity, intellect and spirit work together. Creative work requires effort, comparison, and a perception of differences. Originality is great sensitivity, intelligence and courage, courage to take a risk. A mere desire to dance, to write, to compose is not enough: one has to civilize oneself in order to become an artist, a communicator of one's own time.

Les artistes ne sont pas differentes malgre les apparances les plus evidentes mais ils font sauter aux yeux les differences par une certaine audace d'etre hommes avec ces moyens particuliers que donne l'art. En realite ce sont les hommes qui sont extravagants. Heureusement.

For me, art is like all activity, a song of force and energy, but as art is produced by human beings and is therefore a product of life, the form of the force revealed in art are the forms revealed in life.

Art is made out of feelings and in order to create feeling is rooted in sensibility. Sensibility is therefore the life of art.

To feel is to create, but what is feeling: feeling is understanding. To see, hear, smell, to have a hankering to touch - these are the sole commandments of God. Feelings are divine because they are our relationship with the Universe.

Ce ne pas diminuer l'artiste que de dire qu'il n'est que le lieu de passage du sens. D'une part, on ne devient pas artist si facilement. Il faut cultiver quelque chose de la personne pour lui permettre de devenir un mediatuer des choses du temps. Et ce quelque chose ne touche pas seulement a la technique qui, pourtant dans l'art constitue une condition sine qua non. L'apprentissage artistique ne consiste pas en une simple liste de recettes.

The true artist is driven by inner motivation. A need to express himself.

The artist may not be intelligent, but he must be intellectual. Art is the intellectualization of feeling through expression. The intellectualization is given in, by, and through the expression itself. That is why great artists are so often unintelligent people. Bernard Shaw said: The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

When I was working as the director of Finnish National Ballet I often said: this institution needs a crazy idea or a dignified creative thought. I believe that a major insight in the creation of spirit is the observation that progress does not occur in logical steps.

Technical facilities and constant rehearsal are there to create skillful art. Rehearsal itself is arduous. An artist has to remain in a state of constant arduousness. Indeed, it would be much easier to give in to routine, but if you only satisfy yourself with the standard already achieved, the degeneration sets in immediately. A passion for quality, a devotion to creativity, a commitment to follow plans through to the end are the factors every artist has to internalize and surrender to.

La folie, la passion, la liberte seront forcement contenues dans une technique rigoureuse. Mais si l'artiste est fou, il faut devenir fou avec lui. Les ouvre d'art ne sont pas un resume, une syntese d'un individu. C'est la trace d'un travail, du travail d'un homme sur le langage et la culture de son epoque. a la recherche de son identite. Alors, il n'a pas besoin de nous la decliner.

Of course there are no recepies to achieve a successful, artistically sure result. But all art begins with sensibility and is actually based on it. Sensibility is the origin of all civilized creation.

Creative work is highly responsible work. Fortunately, significant artists reject compromises and are aware of their freedom. By artistic freedom I do not mean a rejection of all standards. It is important that artists are rooted in some tradition and order, but also in a perception that all order is changeable and insufficent.

When talking about the quality of art, people, particularly journalists ask me, if this or that work really has international quality. What is "international quality" I ask: good is good everywhere, and shit is shit, even in Paris.

Culture always has to show its necessity. It has to be able to speak about matters that touch the people of today. Art, like any social phenomenon, always has to evaluate its historical links. Art, like science too, is in the service of society on its own terms. When the society is at the turning point, the message and influence of art is changing at the same time. The Finnish poet Arto Melleri says: Don't say that something is the page of the world-it turns.

L'art n'a pas besoin de se justifier d'etre. Il nous faut accepter un au-dela des explications: l'homme meme dans son mouvement. Et si l'absence de raisons nous laisse nus, il faut nous y faire.

Au commencement etait l'action.

Est bon tout ce qui nous mettre en route : a reflechir.

Charlie Chaplin writes in his biography: As I become older I have increasingly begun to think of faith. We live on faith more than we imagine and we achieve through faith more than we realise. Faith, as far as I am aware, is the harbinger of each idea. Faith is an extension of our mind, a force. Denial of faith is denial itself, a denial of spirit which gives impetus to all creative powers. My faith is faith in the unknown, in everything we are unable to understand with our mind. I believe that behind all understanding lies the truth of other dimensions and in the sphere of the unknown lies an indeterminate store of power, which can be achieved. Faith is the beginning of all achievements.

My favorite poet, Portugese Fernando Pessoa's words:

Put everything you are in the smallest thing you do, do not exaggerate anything in yourself, do not exclude anything. Be open to everything: even the moon fits into every pond because it shines from so high.

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