Photos by Jean-Claude Néron

I am Wilma-Emilia Kuosa, a freelance artist and I work in many roles in the art field. I am a choreographer, singing dancer, pedagogue, actress and poet. My inclusive practice encompasses several different art forms. I convey stories by dancing, choreographing, and writing. I have always scripted my cross-over dance works both by means of poems and by drawing future stage situations on paper. In the performances, we dance, paint dimensions with video projections, speak and sing my poems, telling the story from start to finish.

I deal with the problems of silenced minorities in a socially critical manner without fear of taboos. I am used to meeting people both in my profession as a performer and as a pedagogue and as a choreographer. It is important for me to give the people around me the experience of being seen and heard. I have been able to work with groups of people from different backgrounds, from Finland to Africa and back. It has given me a broad perspective and tools to make art, drawing from different kinds of starting points. I defend the values of equality and humanity.

The Cage Opera (Häkkiooppera) dance piece and poetry novel were published at the same time this autumn. Their premiere was at KokoTheater on September 14, 2022, and the piece is nominated for several tour programs. Cage Opera is my fourth performance concept.

My second poetry novel Cage Opera (Basam Books) deals with what happens to love when bars are put in front of it. The book has a prison theme and I hope that people who have had to go through the experience of being institutionalized would find it. My mission is to give voices to groups of people who don’t have the strength to do so themselves and thereby create a discussion around painful topics.

Anatomy of a Titanium Heart (Basam Books, Titaanisydämen anatomia) deals with the experiences of a loved one of an alcoholic. It raises awareness for the people who are not addicts but subjected to their choices. Many people found the book a peer support and wanted to share their own survival story with me. It has been a gift to me that people have found the book and thus been encouraged to send me their stories. We toured with DJ Bunuel, making experimental performances based on the book in different environments such as the Akateeminen Kirjakauppa, Retretti, Oodi and the Harju8 club space.

The Geisha dance concert has been performed since 2016 in Asematila, Kanneltalo, Stoa and Villa Karo, Benin, Africa. Each performance period is accompanied by a residency period, during which the work is reworked into a new form and adapted to suit the performance venue. We’ve been working on and performing the concept with the musician Emma Salokoski, who composed for the piece. With the piece I organized an art exhibition to talk about the human rights violations against women, which is the theme of the concept. I have also painted the poems of the Geisha dance concert as part of the already two-part Geisha Photo Exhibition.

In my debut the Neglected dance concert (Laiminlyöty-tanssikonsertti), my poem was harnessed as the voice of marginalized youth at KokoTeater 2016. At that time, I held poetry workshops for the youth of the Youth Crisis Center of Helsinki Missio. From those materials developed at the the workshops I put together a piece with the vibraphonist composer Arttu Takalo from the emerging themes of marginalization. What is it like to grow up to be an outcast?

The Jazz&Dance performance series is my first stage art concept, where jazz musicians met star dancers in the audience-participating improvisation evenings I scripted, for three performance seasons in KokoTeatteri’s repertoire 2015-2017.

I’ve been working as a freelancer doing commissioned work for Yle and drag queens since I was 16. I have been teaching dance in Finland since 2005. I make student choreographies for dance schools and I am a guest coach for intensive groups and professional training programs.

I have been teaching at Helsinki Dance Academy since 2009. I was responsible for the activities and choreography of the college’s first workshop group in 2009–2010. From 2013 to 2017, I worked full-time as a dance teacher and choreographer. In 2014, I founded the showjazz group JazzAttack, whose activities have been on hiatus since 2017. In 2015, I founded the RAW collective, which won silver at the World Jazz Dance Championship in Poland in the fall of 2015. In autumn 2020, I ran intensive groups for 9–11 and 14–19-year-olds at the Helsinki Dance Academy. The performances of both groups were awarded at several events.

I work as a judge for dance competitions representing the  jazz dance perspective. I have done the judge training and judged the nationals with the Finnish Dance Organization.

The tools of all my works are poetry and jazz dance, which I specialize in. My works bring the art of jazz dance into the field of dance pieces, where it would otherwise be completely absent. For the past four years I have danced between Finland and France while working alongside my studies. In the summer of 2021, I graduated as a jazz dance pedagogue with a rare recognition granted by the French Ministry of Culture. I have previously graduated as a jazz dancer with recognition from the same body. With these qualifications and vocational qualifications, I entered the third year of bachelor’s studies at the University of Nice’s Department of Dance. The university granted me Artiste de Haut Niveau status (AHN=Artist of High Level), which has made it possible to combine work and my studies. I graduated from there in the spring of 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in performing arts with a dance specialty.

With all of my work I want to enlighten silenced destinies with light, compassion and acceptance.

Where is the place for what cannot be said
Which throbs there where words can’t reach
When it’s hard to look and the steps don’t dare
but you can’t help but stare
we need more space
for the tenderness
dismantle the web of shame
with gentleness