Riina Hannuksela has been working with dancers with special needs since 2010: sporadically in the beginning and regularly since 2014. From 2014 to 2020, she directed a dance club for children and youth, forming the Ihanat group’s basis. The Ihanat is still funded on a production-by-production basis, and most of the dancers are now grown-ups.
Riina is particularly interested in facilitating processes and dance performances, highlighting the dancers' autonomy as performers and creators of the dance performance.
The collaborative processes are long-term and collegial. The personal interests and specific skills of the dancers form the choreographic world. For some dancers, the dance is initiated through interaction with another dancer, while for others, the choreography is built around a character or role that is meaningful to them.
As a director, facilitator and choreographer, Riina is interested in exploring the accessibility of the language used in dance. She has developed her skills in using easy language and other supportive tools for communicating with the dancers. The autonomy of a dancer can only be realised when everyone has a sufficient understanding of the shared goals or outcome of the activity. This kind of work takes time and does not always fit into the conventional ways of working and performing in the dance field.