Virpi Pahkinen | BIOGRAPHY
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When you reach the deepest state of the dance you are beyond words. The body turns into a question mark and dives into the unknown to be in dialogue with the universe

“The works of Swedish/Finnish choreographer and dancer Virpi are full of secrets. Onstage, she sometimes bodies a spiritual warrior, a spectral gardener, or a shaman in metamorphosis. Pahkinen is well known for her stunningly chiseled shapes and almost otherworldly moves that act like an incantation – creating a mysterious, meditative atmosphere.


Pahkinen’s work has been performed to critical acclaim in 133 cities in 48 countries around the world.


Other than being commissioned by several companies such as Ballet Poznanski, Vietnamese National Opera Ballet, North 59° and Finnish National Opera Ballet, Pahkinen’s dance pieces have been staged on a vast list of venues – Mongolian steppes, opera stages, and floating bridges to name a few.

Among her many collaborators transcending the artistic borders are the famous theatre director Ingmar Bergman, and the world-renowned clarinetist Martin Fröst.


In 2011 Pahkinen was awarded the Swedish royal medal Litteris et Artibus, for her outstanding artistic contributions as a dancer and choreographer. She was also awarded the City of Stockholm’s Cullberg Prize in 2014.


The magic of Virpi Pahkinen’s expression lies in the intense presence and interpersonal connection with audiences all over the world. With humour and gravity, Virpi Pahkinen’s choreographies offer to lead the way to new, deeper insights.”


– by Virpi –


Electric silence
The psycho-physical glamour of Pahkinen’s text appeals to all the senses and her insatiably alert prose demonstrates that there is a lot more to a dancer’s life than merely eating apples under the pressure of strict training.

The evenings in bars and sensual encounters speak a universal language as part of the whole. They are not intimate confessions as such, but rather light ways to touch time and the world, find more meaning outside oneself, or alternatively lose the meaning in human doubt.

Meetings with friends, new acquaintances or one-night stands manifest the electricity created by chance. Yoga on the other hand offers the dance artist a way to concentrate her power through silence.

Meanings in Pahkinen’s dance grow from the inside out and back again, away from the flow of time. The ‘snake’, which varies in many ways throughout the book, also serves as a motif for the mythical cycle of life and death. It reflects the idea of metamorphosis: striving for the world and to escape the world, always in a new way.

Reija Palttala, Keskisuomalainen
Translation: Don McCracken

(Serpent holder)
MBM Förlag, Sweden, 2013


Atena Kustannus, Finland, 2009

“Pahkinen is a traveller with antennae and an appetite for spiritual experiences and those of the flesh. Her words are full of poetic imagery, overflowing with the power of nature and hysterically funny.”
Anna Ångström, Svenska Dagbladet
“As an author Pahkinen has a fine eye for the discoveries of travel. Her prose varies between precise observation and evasively poetic… Beautiful, fascinating, readable.”
Örjan Abrahamsson, Dagens Nyheter


Nöjesguidens Stockholmspris, 1995

Finnish national prize for young artists 1996

Svenska Dagbladet Opera prize 1996

Golden Antenna for the film Bardo 010. 1998

1. choreography prize at Int.-Solo-Dance-Theater Festival, Stuttgart 2001

Carina Ari gold medal 2002

The Swedish-Finnish Cultural Foundation award 2005

The Swedish trade union association Kommunal´s culture award 2007

The Swedish section of Int. Association of Theater Critics Dance Prize 2009

Swedish royal medla Litteris et Artibus 2011

The Church of Sweden culture award 2013

City of Stockholms Cullberg Prize 2014

PHOTOGRAPHER: Mattias Lindbäck