Malin Grahn

Malin Grahn is a dancer, dance instructor and educator specialized in the African-American dance tradition. She performs and teaches in various styles of traditional jazz, including both solo, partner and group dances and incorporating both choreography and improvisation. Currently she teaches dance classes for adults and children in Helsinki at Kääntöpaikka, Arbis and Caisa. In her performances, teaching and lectures, Grahn connects the dance movements and steps to their cultural and historical background. She has studied the traditional styles of the African-American dance as well as the history and philosophy of jazz and blues in New York, and for her, dancing is always intertwined with social and cultural meanings, communication and storytelling. She has been teaching philosophy at the University of Helsinki from 2007, and she approaches also dancing from a philosophical point of view, emphasizing the connection between dancing and such intrinsic human experiences as emotions, self-understanding, self-expression and freedom. In her work, she constantly sees the therapeutic effects dance can have on individuals, bringing them physical and mental well-being, and enabling them to find a balance both within themselves and with other people. Grahn is the artistic director and choreographer of Helsinki Traditional Jazz Dance Company who actively appear on various festivals and other cultural events, bringing their audience back to the different eras of jazz with their rhythmically and stylistically refined performances. She has been actively working with community art and cultural programming, and she e.g. produced the dance program at the Arabia Street Art Festival in 2012 and 2013. In spring 2013, Grahn was the executive producer of and performed in dancer, choreographer Clyde Wilder’s show Jazz History Through Times which showed the development of the language of jazz, starting from its roots in traditional African dances. She and Wilder spread the liberating and healing effects of jazz in their performances, workshops and dance historical lectures. Their repertoire varies from uplifting Charleston and rhythmical tap-dance to expressive blues and acrobatic lindy hop, and includes also other dance traditions such as Latin, Caribbean and African dances.

Links

http://helsinkitraditionaljazzdance.wordpress.com: http://helsinkitraditionaljazzdance.wordpress.com
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Photographer: Ane Orue-Etxebarria