Dance House Helsinki Executive Director Hanna-Mari Peltomäki takes up a new position

Executive Director Hanna-Mari Peltomäki, who has successfully led the Dance House Helsinki project since 2011, will start in a new position on 1 October. As the Executive Director, Peltomäki pushed through the decision to construct the historical Dance House, which had been dreamed of for decades.

Peltomäki has driven the Dance House project forward for seven years, and she feels comfortable about leaving her managerial position in October. The project is well under way and the foundation has been laid.

“When I began working in the project in 2011, no one believed that we would succeed despite the fact that the requirements and possibilities of dance had been recognised. My mission was both to obtain funding for constructing the Dance House and starting its operations and to initiate the construction project. We have performed these tasks successfully, so it is time to let new people create content and make the building become alive,” says Peltomäki.

“I would like to thank all the people involved in the project in various roles: my colleagues, members of the board, stakeholder representatives, people in the dance industry, financiers and supporters, our developer Koy Kaapeli and the entire Cable Factory team. The list is long. I feel that I have been supported whenever I needed it. Countless people have been altruistic in assisting me and spurring me on.”

Above all, the last seven years have been a learning process – not just for Peltomäki herself but for all the parties concerned.

“In the early stage of project, it was vital to focus on, instead of the space itself, the requirements that the house must meet, the nature of its content now and in the future, and what would be required of the spatial solutions,” says Peltomäki.

Developing the Dance House involves a lot of learning about shared ownership, in particular. In order to succeed, the parties are required to establish a trusting relationship as well as common rules, and to approve visions and share expertise reciprocally.”

Various ideas and lessons have been tested and learned along the years by trial and error.

“I wish the team and the entire project patience and support. The Dance House can become a resource and a unifying factor between various parties and the public. Solid structures provide us with a venue to perform, but in the end, art and dance are the most significant ways of giving meaning to our existence in society.

“Nevertheless, it will take years to determine the impact of all this. We all have high expectations,” says Peltomäki.

As the project’s construction stage is about to begin, so is the planning of the programme of the first seasons. Sufficient resources are required for the Dance House to match all the expectations, emphasises Peltomäki.

“I hope that the Dance House’s potential will also be recognised by financiers such as the government and the city in order to guarantee sufficient resources. The following years are vital. Establishing an organisation is bound to generate more expenses than revenue. The new organisation can only set up their operations in the best possible manner to support art and performers by carrying out the groundwork carefully,” says Peltomäki.

“The general public, who get to enjoy, experience and participate, will always be the main winner.”

Due to the early change in leadership, Matti Numminen, who will start as the Dance House director on 1 October, has already begun working in the Dance House organisation.

Peltomäki will remain as a member of the Dance House project’s construction committee and perform other tasks until the end of the year.

“The work related to carrying out the construction project and forming partnerships with restaurants is a unique process, and the reworked schedule means that it is important that Matti can first get to know the strategic approach of our operations and on-going recruitment processes. We have plenty of time in the autumn to share information concerning the design of the building and pass on all the tacit knowledge about the construction process, in particular, accumulated over the years,” says Peltomäki.

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