"I love black humor which I constantly use even in my dance works.”


Arja Tiili

Arja Tiili (1972) has been shaping the Finnish dance world tirelessly since 2001. Not only her remarkable technique, charismatic performers or intriguing soundscapes make her unique, she has a knack for revealing the most intimate, secret traits of the human spirit.

Her work often depicts our dark side: madness, violence, loneliness, greediness… but always with a sense of humor that is recognizable. It is easy to relate to her works, albeit they sometimes create an uneasy atmosphere. 

Arja graduated as a ballet dancer from Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm and has choreography studies from Theater Academy of Finland.  She received 5-years state artist grant for years 2014-18.


Theater Academy of Finland, choreography studies/ Master of dance art, Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm, Ballet dancer 1991. Creada- Further vocational qualification for entrepreneurship 2009.

”I am a dance artist. My worldview and curiosity towards matters, which often are
unpleasant or otherwise hard to handle, are shown in the content of my performances. I love black humor which I constantly use even in my dance works.” 

Dance performances

39 dance perfromances made in following places: Teater Viirus, Finnish Opera house, Helsinki City Theaters Dance Group, Kiasma Theater / National Museum of Contemporary Art -URB- festival, Stoa, Malmitalo and Kanneltalo Culture Centers, Cultural Arena Gloria, Dance Theater Minimi, Kuopio City Theater, Sun Ballet in Turku, Dance Theater Hurjaruuth, Zodiak-Center for New Dance, Helsinki Festival, Full Moon Dance Festival, Kuopio Dance Festival, Danscentrum in Stockholm, Danshögskolan in Stockholm, Dansstationen in Malmö, Dance festival Manifesti in Turku, Tanssin virtaa- festival in Tampere, Tanssia tyrkyllä-festival in Oulu etc.

Personal grants and awards

5-years artist grant from Finnish state 2014-18, Finnish Culture Foundation, 3-years grant 2010-12, Arts Council of Finland, 1-year grant 2009, Arts Council of Finland. 6 months grant 2007, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, working grant autumn 2007, Finnish Culture Foundation, 3-year grant 2004-06, Arts Council of Finland, 6 months grant 2003.

2. prize in International Choreography Competition in Helsinki, Philip Morris Award 2001.

Prizes and nominations in different ballet competitions between 1987-1990; Arktiset askeleet- dance event, EBU:s dance contest for dancers in TV YLE 1 etc.




Own written works

Biografy of own artistic work in encyclopedia Who is who in Finland printed in years 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2015.

Writings about own artistic work in a book Dancemakers – 35 points of views to a work of a choreographer printed 2005.

Several articles and reviews to a finnish dance magazine Tanssi and web dance magazine http://www.liikekieli.com.

Positions of trust

Deputy member of board in Arkadia club 2011-2013 and 2013-15. Arkadia club creates conditions for the members of parliament and the representatives of cultural life of interaction between our country and to promote cultural conditions, cultural political debate and wide-ranging cultural knowledge of its members. 

Co-ordinator of the choreographers section in The Union of Finnish Dance Artists 2009 onwards. Chair woman and founder of Eager Minds Association (Intomieliset ry.) 2007 onwards.

Artistic director of Arja Tiili Dance Company. Artistic director and founder of Break the Fight! Breakdance Against School Bullying Project 2014 onwards and Indie-Art Factory Festival 2003 onwards.

Member and secretary in dance section of Swedish Union for Theaters, Artists and Media in Sweden. (1996-99).

Old Web page where you can find more pictures and info about my previous works:  Arja Tiili & Pain Productions