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in the air – dance workshop about climate emotions

Dance Pedagogy student Nella Turkki together with a workshop group explored movement practices and dialogue for sharing climate emotions.

How does the climate crises move you? 

Climate change touches and moves us all, in one way or another; it causes fear, anxiety, helplessness, ignorance or wakes up hope for something different. Meanwhile, the news often focuses on this phenomena as an outside-of-our-body issue, but how can we get interrelated with this topic? How can we approach those feelings, so that they do not just get stuck into our bodies? How can we move from ignorance towards sensing and small actions? 

Dance Pedagogy student Nella Turkki is interested in how the climate emotions can be shared, recognised and expressed through dance improvisation and dialogue in diverse groups. This project has started from the understanding that emotions are felt and experienced bodily, like anything else in our life. The motivation for this workshop was to create a space, where a variety of emotions could be expressed through dance improvisation movement, and where one could feel empowerment through the support of the group. 

The group gathered for two weekends during September and October 2019 to explore the sensations, feelings and emotions in our bodies through shared movement practices focusing on sensing the shared air and one’s breathing body. The cross-generational group offered a unique possibility to also broaden the conversation apart of one’s habitual ways of thinking. Sparks of joy and hope were ignited throughout the sharing during the beautiful autumn weather in Mustikkamaa, Helsinki. Many participants commented that moving these heavy emotions out of the body felt like a relief for a moment, and even though the topic was complex, the atmosphere was light, trustful and supporting. 

Today, the global focus is more on the COVID-19 than on the phenomena of climate change, even if the roots for these phenomena might be the same as they both seem to be human-caused by dominating the more-than-human world. Nella in her thesis work called Woven into the air- towards ecologically and socially just dance pedagogy, has focused on the Pedagogy of (Be)longing, that aims to cultivate practices that revitalize our connection with the world and emphasizes the meaning of being alive before heading to progress.

Methods like dance improvisation based on sharing and feeling the body can work when dealing with any pressure that affects our mind. Our bodies know and carry a lot, and sometimes free improvisation releases some tension, that through verbal sharing might be more challenging to access. 

Maybe this video wakes up inspiration for someone today! 

Languages: English and Finnish (no subtitles)


Pedapproach on teatteri- ja tanssinopettajan maisteriopiskelijoiden 4.-8.5. järjestämä seminaari, joka kokoaa opiskelijoiden ajattelua ja opinnoissa tutkittuja taiteellis-pedagogisia kysymyksiä ja aiheita. Tutustu seminaariin ja sen teemoihin opiskelijoiden päivittämässä blogissa.

Pedapproach is a seminar organised by theatre and dance pedagogy students in 4-8 May that gathers the artistic-pedagogical questions and topics that students have explored during their studies. Learn more about the seminar in the students’ blog. Updates are in Finnish or English.

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