Tanja Tuurala

Tanja is a Sweden Finnish educator and choreographer based in Stockholm. She has a long-term practice of investigating what a trivial choreography is and what role it plays. It is a state of need to create with dance, choreography, movement and to relate to the world by that. Trivial choreography is an ongoing independent research on how dance and choreography from different situations can occupy space? Experimenting on what dance can be, what is manifested in dance? "I want to question the "inaccessible" in dance. That dancing from different positions can be a part in influencing and itself be influenced.  I want to explore what happens choreographically and what happens to the people, to me". An important source of material for Trivial choreography are the educational movements, the dance material from Tanjas educational context, from her everyday dancing. Tanjas artistic practice is examining how to live (of) art and how to create (of) life. Her work appropriates material from her educational work, therefore it is influenced by many different geographical places. A major influence is flamenco which is one of Tanjas main dance styles. Trivial choreography examines different positions of dance: style, class, economy, what is considered “trivial” and what is considered “high class” etc. It is a practice examining how bring together different dance experiences.Trivial choreography is also about the exploration of the relationship between process and product. 

I see my participation as a dialogue with Ana Sanchez Colbergs process at the Joshua Tree and the participating artists processes, meeting them with my artistic practice of the Trivial choreography. My aim is for this to result in 11 days of (interrupted) reflection and 11 publications during the 11:th month, which can be materialized in the stuff I find most suitable in the situation I am surrounded by. I see this coming month as a beautiful possibility to share, learn and work in an international context, trying out new ways of doing artistic practice in dance and choreography, internationally.

November 6

I have been taking it in. There are many impulses that I have to spread out to make some sense of them.
The stories that already are told in this project by the collaborators pushed me to tell a short story. How many stories! In fact I have a complicated relationship to stories. Sometimes the words make me ashamed. Everybodys words, my own words, them also, but words in general. But at the same time how different people tell or write can be so beautiful and opening up the understanding for the world. Also the understanding of myself from another angel.
For many years I didn´t like biographies or especially auto. This was because some of them had become instrumentalised, because of repetitive questions or because of that some of them assumed that the receiver on the other side didn´t have a story to tell. I connect to what Niurca is writing that for her the dance begins where the words end. Do I remember it right? I have had a real difficulty of putting in to words what I am dancing, or all that influences my artistic practice.
The first written in letters autobiographical text, in adult age (which is not a presentation), short story of mine follows here:


In the beginning the exile was outside of me. I didn´t understand what my Swedish teacher Siv was saying to me. I saw her big eyes behind the thick eyeglasses. I just saw the eyes and her welldefined hairstyle and listened to the sound of the language. I did not understand. She was trying to tell me something. I tried to see it in her eyes. I could see decisiveness in her eyes.

What was I telling? What was Siv seeing?

For many years the name of Siv made me feel Day 1: uncomfortable, like there was a lack in me, Day 2: giggly and stubborn, Day 3: Did it make me feel? Day 4: Did it just make me see and hear? Day 5: my memory playing games with me. 
Till I met another Siv, who was  the same age as I remember Siv the first, but now I was older.

Now when I think about this I recognice that I do listen to the sound and rhythm of singing or rap most of the times. Not what the words are telling. Which sometimes gives me quite a bit of surprises.


In the shower I started to think about the interior exile. And about the hand, the bushy landscape of Joshua Tree, the dryness, Dawns investigations with objects. This led me to a process with film.

November 8



November 13

Short story that contains a mix of memory, memory loss, fiction, now and a confusion of people and time.

Morning of the move

It was late autumn early in the morning. When everything in Stockholm is grey, dark, cold and damp. The boat from Finland had just arrived to the port. I was sitting in a van. In that van we had all our furniture and belongings we could handle to take with us in our move to Sweden. I was sitting beside my grandmother. I was looking out of the window of the van. We waited in the line of cars to get out from the port area with the other cars that rolled out from the big boat. It was dark. You could hear the metallic sounds when the cars where rolling on the metallic bridge that took them to land. Suddenly I saw a beautiful woman. She had long boots, her jacket was open. She had a hairstyle with a bang, the rest of the hair was long and medium blonde, her lips where red. She was running, on winding pathways. The lights of a truck came on. The woman focused and directed her running towards the truck. The truck started rolling slowly. Me and my grandmother were watching this. My grandmother said “She is running like a hen without a head”. My grandmother had seen some of those I believe as she lived on the countryside and handled cows and pigs. Maybe she had handled also hen. But not during my lifetime. I said “yes”. The woman raised her arms to the air, she was screaming something with a desperate voice. She was standing in the light of the truck. The truck stopped. The woman ran closer to the truck. I never saw what happened then, the line of cars was moving on.

Did they know each other before, the truck driver and the woman? What had happened on the boat to make her desperate? Was he ignoring her? Why?

November 16

Approx. Stockholmer

I live in a neighborhood called Tensta in Stockholm. Tensta has approx. 18800 inhabitants. Approx. 60,5 % are born abroad and approx. 88,1%  has foreign background which includes the first categorisation but also if both of your parents are born abroad, then you are categorised as foreign background. When I was approx. 14, ups! Memory! Can have been approx. 12 or approx. 18, well, I was walking and thinking to myself "I have taken the streets of Stockholm to my heart, why do I feel sometimes that Stockholm didn´t take me to its heart" The thought irked me, till something else happened. I am still not sure if it was teenage melancholy or if it was the truth Stockholm? There is a saying that you are not a real Stockholmer if your family hasn´t lived in Stockholm for three generations. I always thought it mystical that there exists a saying like that. And then what happenes? When you are a real Stockholmer? What happenes then? 

A Tree in Tensta, the sun didn´t shine in weeks.

November 19

Taking on the space theme, of responding to the space instead of actual people, that Niurca mentioned in her text. I recognise that play. Also thinking about the exile as space, an original where, that Ana is writing about. I am thinking about this in relation to my work. In my artistic practice with Trivial choreography. The change of context and the adaptation to a new context, changes the meaning of the movement and makes me as a dancer/ choreographer and the audience to experience the movement in a different way.
In this adaptation I consider timing, spatial structures, dynamics, relationships, the context, and what is meaningful to do and to who? I make the movement exiled from its original context. I separate the movement from its habitual musical context. By doing this I create room for the movement, to have a dialogue with the space.
When working with flamenco, I can also do the other way around. I can take the movement from the Trivial choreography and shape it into a flamenco context, playing with its musical structures. When I have this possibility I enjoy it very much.
Space has for me been about a situation. How to go on dancing and what will I dance and choreograph in my situation. My dancing being part of my situation and how that situation gives the choreography its form. Lately I have understood that because of the lack of flamenco play, well yes before I go on I have to mention that the play has been a very important part of my interest for flamenco and dance/choreography in general, the communication, the play is my favourite element. The play also inhabit the more serious styles of flamenco. But it is hard to find relationships, the time, and space that is required to do this play when flamenco is in exile at my place and I am at the same time in exile from the origins of flamenco. What happens to this exiled flamenco? In my case I started to play with the space. Keeping elements from flamenco, which enabled me to keep my interest for the choreography alive. Taking other movements from my everyday educational context, combining those elements. I need the sound produced from the stamps, the finger snaps, the claps….to take it somewhere else.
I may be repeating myself, its late, can´t structure it better now, maybe it is more clear if repeated...

I´ll see If I wake up to say a quick hello to Joshua Tree and the other participants who can make it!