Morning Walks

Dancer Liisa Heikkinen, Utajärvi, immigrants, November 2017, February–May 2018

On a November morning, a group of people walked around Utajärvi, pausing every so often to perform exercises, appreciate the surroundings and engage in discussion. Dancer Liisa Heikkinen led ten students from Utajärvi’s integration-oriented Koto class on morning walks twice a week. Liisa created a short physical routine to start the morning walks that focused on body weight distribution, breathing and movement based exercises for the torso. Next, the groups were issued “walking tasks” related to the way we observe the environment and interact with it. The tasks were related to senses, colours and familiarisation with a new environment. The colours and other vocabulary were also discussed during lessons, so in addition to the dance element, the morning walks also supported studying through the combined use of perception, movement and speech. The group participated in the exercises with enthusiasm and became better acquainted with each other through humour, physical contact and understanding.

“Over the three-week period, I developed an impression of how important it is for us all to be seen and heard. What we need is not a shared language, but opportunities for encounters. I feel that the Lähde! project is intended for just this purpose, to enable encounters through the means of art.” – dancer Liisa Heikkinen

The morning walks continued in the spring of 2018, studying the role of movement in integration and language studies.

Photos: Martu Väisänen


Liisa Heikkinen
Dancer Liisa Heikkinen is known as the entrepreneur behind the HAHAHA Dance School and as a teacher – and for her joyous laughter! She has also worked as a dancer in productions of Jojo – Oulu Dance Centre and engaged in artistic activities through H-Kollektiivi consisting of her family. In the Lähde! project, Liisa Heikkinen completed her teaching training for the Master’s Programme in Dance Pedagogy at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki by organising morning walks for immigrant groups at Utajärvi and afternoon activities for women.

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