Today 29th April is International Dance Day and a Finnish folk dance group is showing how you can fight COVID-19 with polka.
At the moment most of the world is in lockdown mode, but the Finnish folk dance group Polokkarit has found a way to combine dancing and social distancing. Ever since Finland introduced official COVID-19 restrictions, weekly video calls have gathered the group together to practice, keep in touch and socialize. These sessions resulted in an idea of “Polka in Quarantine”, a video piece for celebrating International Dance Day with the aim to help ease the group’s yearning for dancing together and at the same time brighten the day of people all around the world.
The whole production of “Polka in Quarantine” was carried out remotely. The piece introduces the variety of Finnish polka steps in the characteristically cheerful Polokkarit style while offering the dancers’ national costumes a long-awaited outing as well. The video features 28 Polokkarit dancers altogether, scattered to different parts of the country due to the pandemic. Despite the physical distance, this video piece brings the dancers together, thanks to Finnish polka. As well as demonstrating a variety of traditional Finnish polka steps, “Polka in Quarantine” also gives the viewer a unique chance to take a peek into Finnish homes.
Polokkarit is a unique and original folk dance ensemble based in Oulu, Finland. The group consists of over 30 grown-up dancers with a passion for Finnish folk dance. Polokkarit was founded in 1995 within the youth society Oulunsuun Nuorisoseura, and in 2020 the group celebrates their 25-year-long dance journey.
Polokkarit consists of dancers of various ages and backgrounds who all share a mutual love for movement and crazy ideas. The ensemble is led by dance teacher and choreographer Hanna Poikela. With 12 male and 20 female dancers, Polokkarit is one of the most impressive folk dance ensembles in Finland. In 2016, Polokkarit was nominated ”Pispalan Sottiisi Folk Dance Ensemble of the Year”, one of the highest honours a folk dance group in Finland can achieve.
The author, Daniel Wallenius, is from Helsinki in Finland and is a member of the Polokkarit dance group.