Jani Talo leaves the door open for the world of dance

Jani Talo leaves the door open for the world of dance

 

We interviewed Jani Talo, whose career as a ballet dancer at the Finnish National Ballet is almost done. We asked Jani a few questions about his warmest memories and plans for the future.

This is your last season as a dancer for Finnish National Ballet. What are your plans for near future?

That's right. In the near future I'll retire from professional dancing. My last show will be at some point of the season 2021-22.

In addition to my work as a dancer, I have worked as a education coordinator for the ballet school of Finnish National Opera and Ballet since August 2020. In the pandemic time this duty has been very challenging due to changing circumstances and unpredictability.

I was accepted to study in the School of Educational Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland and the plan is to progress these studies. In addition to these things, I have two children, one is almost five and the other is only seven months old. So, I think I'm in for quite a busy future.

What led to your retirement decision?

In the Finnish National Ballet, dancers retire at the age of 44 and I turn 44 in October. I've been a professional dancer since I was 17, so now it actually feels like it's time to retire.

Different aspects of the world of dance still interest me, but dancing and constantly performing is not for me anymore.


" Different aspects of the world of dance still interest me, but dancing and constantly performing is not for me anymore. "


 

Gaala Tuonelan Joutsen

 

What are the most memorable moments and performances of your career?

I've had the chance to perform great roles and meet hard-working people. One of the most memorable things has been the friendliness of my colleagues.

Trying out different occupations in the world of dance has been fascinating. Working as an amateur dancer, student, professional dancer, choreographer, trainer, education coordinator, representative and teacher, I've always had the chance to develop in some ways.

From my roles I remember the wonderful stories and my roles in those stories, such as Romeo of Romeo and Juliet, Vronski of Anna Karenina and few roles of John Neumeier's ballet The Seagull. I also really enjoyed Angelin Preljocaj's work Les Nuits and Marjo Kuusela's Seven Brothers was memorable too.

I participated in ballet competitions when I was young, and I mostly remember them for the tension and pressure.


" One of the most memorable things has been the friendliness of my colleagues. "


Do you think you'll keep on working with dance art, perhaps in another position?

It's very possible. On the other hand, moving to work with something entirely different would not be bad for my personal experience. I'm open to everything.

The most important thing I want from my future is that even if I worked very hard, I'd still have time to spend with my family.

You and your partner are both professional dancers. How does that translate into your everyday life?

I think that we are in the same situation as every other family with two little kids. You have to pick up kids from kindergarten, you have to cook and do laundry.

The most challenging time is when the performances are going on, we'd have to work in the evenings. Luckily, I'm about to retire from performing, so the logistics will get easier in that sense.

Maybe body maintenance has a special importance in our family. My daughter learned to say the word chiropractor very young!

Text: Kalle Saarela
Photos: Petri Laitinen. From 50th Anniversary Gala (2019). Finnish National Ballet. Swan of Tuonela pas de deux from Lemminkäinen ballet, chor. Imre Eck. Dancers Mai Komori & Jani Talo.


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