Choreographer Kaari Martin (born 1972) has built an international career as the reformer of contemporary flamenco. One of her many dance productions, the solo performance The Raven, won all the awards possible in the choreography competition in Madrid in December 2012: the best choreography, best original score for dance, and best costume design. Her latest work, KILL Carmen, premiered in the Helsinki Festival in August 2015 and was loved by both the critics and audience. Martin’s other works include, for example, On a String together with Minna Tervamäki composed to the Sibelius’ violin concerto (2010), Pippi Longstocking for the Helsinki Festival (2009), that won the Thalia award for the theatre music act of the year, and Tell Me Rain (2006) that won the third prize in the choreography competition in Madrid as the very first foreign group. Martin has combined dance, for example, with prose by Rosa Liksom and poetry by Pentti Saarikoski. Together with her composer husband Roni, Martin runs Compañía Kaari & Roni Martin which is one of the most significant contemporary flamenco companies outside Spain, with performances in more than 14 countries.
Besides as a dancer and choreographer, Martin has made a career as a pedagogue in the Theatre Academy, Finnish National Opera Ballet School, and Helsinki Conservatory of Music, among others. She has also taught in eight foreign learning institutions, including Danhögskolan in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2014, The Finnish Cultural Foundation honored Martin for an outstanding cultural accomplishment and the triumph of Finnish flamenco.
Mariana Collado began dance studies in the Conservatory of Almeria, later continuing with a scholarship in Fundación de Cristina Heeren in Seville and Centro Flamenco de Estudios Escénicos in Granada led by the legendary choreographer Mario Maya. Mariana was hired to Maya’s dance company and has since then performed in several productions and dance companies together with many top names in flamenco, such as Belén Maya, Rafaela Carrasco and Manuel Liñan. Mariana also works closely with the interdisciplinary choreographers Carlos Chamorro and Karen Lugo.
At the moment, Mariana works in Madrid as a dancer and choreographer with several different projects. In 2014, she composed the choreography Flamencos de plomo y cobre for the American tour of Fundación Casa Patas. Mariana also works as a pedagogue in the flamenco school named after probably the most unique and famous choreographer in Spain, Antonio Canales. Mariana’s individual style is visible especially in her choreography Lady´s Circus that was first performed in the Mercat de Flors festival in Barcelona in 2009. She won the second prize in the flamenco competition in Almeria in 2013.
Carlos Chamorro is a lone rider, whose original vision has created completely new and innovative flamenco. Chamorro masters also the techniques of ballet and contemporary dance, and he combines them in his style in an interesting and personal manner. Chamorro founded his own dance group Malucos Danza in 1998 representative of this style. Chamorro has also delivered various demanding pieces of commissioned work, as the Dressed to Dance choreography compilation for the Guggenheim museum of New York. The dancer prized for the best solo choreography in 2008 in Spain has performed also in Spanish National Ballet, in addition to leading his own group.
Dancer-choreographer Maija Lepistö has been living in Sevilla since 2002. She is familiar with Andalucian flamenco heritage as well as modern trends of Madrid and has performed at festivals in Finland, Sweden and Spain. Lepistö started her career as a choreographer in 2003. Her debut Aquelarre Flamenco dealt with distinctive features of the Spanish dance tradition. In 2008, together with dancer-choreograher Katarina La Graca she created one of her most important pieces, Sum....
Lepistö works as a guest teacher in the various Finnish dance schools and flamenco associations. In 2008, she started an educational project for advanced flamenco dancers in Helsinki.
Auri Ahola trained at the Finnish National Ballet School and worked in Finnish National Ballet in 2004-2013. She performed in classical ballets, neoclassicaland contemporary works by Tero Saarinen, Ohad Naharin and Jiri Kylian among others.
Since 2013 Ahola has worked as a freelancer in Compania Kaari & Roni Martin, Raekallio Corp., Pori Dance Company and Tero Saarinen company.
Auri has created short works with artists such as Jay Gilligan and Minna Pensola and performed in Finland and abroad. Ahola has also studied Ohad Naharin’s technique in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Ahola is currently living in Inari, Lapland where she is creating her own work and studying sami language.