Photo © Marje Eelma


Katrin Essenson (30.09.1973) freelance and self-employed performing artist, choreographer, dancer, director and curator

Pae 56-158, Tallinn 13620
+ 372 56352993



1980 – 1991    Tartu Secondary School N°7, class of music speciality
1994 – 1998   Tallinn University, BA studies in culture, choreography and dance
1995 – 1997    DanceTheatre Fine 5, modern dance
2003 – 2004  Estonian Academy of Arts, Interdisciplinary Arts, MA studies, unfinished 2013 – 2014   M.I. Massage Therapy School
2017 –               Tallinn University, MA studies in cultural theory and philosophy

Selection of working experience:

1999 – 2000 dancer, choreographer, Sasha Pepelyaev Kinetic Theater, Moscow 2001 – 2005; 2009 – 2010 contemporary and creative dance teacher, Dance and Art School Athena, Rakvere
2004, part of 2005 lived and worked in Berlin, collaboration with an artisic group WILHELM GROENER; more information:
2005 – 2009 creative dance teacher, VHK Gymnasium, Tallinn
2008 – founder and active member of NGO Flea Circus (MTÜ Kirbutsirkus), together with Liina Keevallik;
2009; 2010 courses of experimental solo dance and performance, MA Painting; dance and performance symbiosis, BA Faculty of Fine Arts, Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn 2011 curator and organizer of the International Radio Art Festival Radiaator, together with media artist Raul Keller; / index.php?/press/
2014 – 2008 curating interdisciplinary art festival May Lily Days together with scenographer Liina Keevallik. Event took place every springtime, focused on the fringe activities of some well and not so well known artists. Festival itself was founded and christened by late Sven Kuntu from Eriti Kurva Muusika Ansambel (Especially Sad Music Orchestra)

Foreign languages: English and Russian, good level; German and Finnish language, beginner level

Selection of additional (dance)education:

1999 Sasha Pepelyaev, contemporary dance and composition workshop; 2000 Yoshiko Chuma, improvisation and composition workshop; 2001 Finn Walker, contemporary dance technique workshop; 2001-2002 Chang, Wu Chu training; 2002 Katleen Fincher, contemporary dance technique and composition workshop in Trisha Braun Studio; 2003 Jaan Toomik, sight specific performance workshop; 2003 Claire Filmon, improvisation workshop; 2003 Raoul Kurvits, landscape installation workshop; 2003 Johannes Demling, performance art workshop, improvisation with objects; 2003-2004 Mart Parmas, Taiji training; 2003 Claire Filmon, improvisation workshop; 2003 Raoul Kurvits, landscape intallation workshop; 2009 Takashi Tsumura, Qigong, 5 animal excercises workshop; 2009 Chinese Masters workshop, 5 animal technique, yi ji jing; 2009 Rene Bürkland, Golden clock excercises (hiina k. jin zhong shi er lian shou) workshop; 2014 master Yongsheng Sheng, taiji training; 2016 Matthias Rüttimann improvisation, action theatre method workshop; 2016, 2017 Sten Rudstrom, poetry of improvisation and action theatre workshops; 2018 improvisation courses at festival NOW!

Performances initiacted by Katrin Essenson have been performed in different festivals in Estonia as well as abroad, for exapmle in Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, France, Poland, Italy, Slovenia, Macedonia and USA.
In 2001 she was awarded with annual Estonian Theatre Award in contemporary dance for following works of creation: directing and choreographing “According to the Law” and performances in pieces „1973“ and „New Elysium. Dream Loop”.

Selected works of creation

Performing arts 2000 – 2019:

1998 “I am what I am” – dance performance, choreography and stageing, diploma work, Tallinn University Department of Chorepgraphy, Lindakivi Cultural Center, Tallinn

“Diatessaron” – dance piece, directed and choreographed by Katrin Essenson, Taavet Jansen (S.P.A.), Von Krahl Theatre, touring in Estonia, festivals Baltoscandal’00; Rakvere, Baltic Dance Univerity Festival, Gdansk

“According to the law” – dance piece with four dancers, Von Krahl
Theatre; touring in Haapsalu, Pärnu, festivals August DanceFestival’02, Tallinn; Drama Festival’02, Tartu; Dance Festival Primo’02, Malmö

“…jusqu’ici, ca va bien…”, “so far so good…” – solo performance, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn; touring in Pärnu, Haapsalu, Berlin (Tanzfabrik), festivals Transeuropa’03, Hildesheim; August DanceFestival’03, Tallinn; Springdance Festival Dialogue&Preview, Utrecht

””Sabbatum” – S.P.A. meets music”” – concert-performance, directed and choreographed by Katrin Essenson and Taavet Jansen; medieval music band “Rondellus” tribute to Black Sabbath, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn

“on the fly” – co-operation based piece with artist group WILHELM GRÖNER – Günther Wilhelm (dancer, choreographer), Mariola Gröner (artist, choreographer), Stefan Landrock (video artist) /Berlin and Katrin Essenson (dancer, choreographer), Hebbel Theatre/HAU3, Berlin

“on the air” – solo performance, Tallinn Art Hall 70th jubilee, Tallinn

“We could…” – performance together with artist Krõõt Juurak, Open Space Gallery, Berlin

“Absolutely raw cinematic power, Vol.3.” – performance in international video and performance art festival “Viinistu 2004”,Viinistu

“Powered by Heros, Vol.2” – solo piece performed in festival “UUS TANTS 6”, Von Krahl Theatre, Tallinn

“Designed to make difference” – performance in festival Nu Performance Continental Breakfast, Tallinn, Ljubljana, Macedonia

““flirt with metropol” subheading “ecstasy of communication”” – happening initiated by Katrin Essenson, creating an illusion of Tallinn as a metropol taking place on the streets of Tallinn Old Town, 5 performers, 5 musicians and 5 cultures, event connected to the majorproject Tricht/linn/burg/

“Thoughts with attachment” – dance piece, dramaturgy by Taavi Eelmaa, Kanuti Gildi SAAL; Festival “UUS TANTS 7”, Tallinn

“Thoughts with attachment: §1 Accession to the law of nature” – short cut performance by and with Taavi Eelmaa, Katrin Essenson, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn

„Funeral of the S.P.A.“ – lecture performance, festival „Made in Estonia“ marathon, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn

“Horizon of events” or “ShortCut… of recent fictions and documentary” – dance performance initiated by Katrin Essenson, collaboration with Mari Savitski, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn

“Powered by heroes – Vol.4” – solo performance, Festival Constante Cambiamento, Firenze

“Powered by heroes – Vol.5 “ – solo performance, DramaFestival 2007, Jaani Church, Tartu

“Obscure matters” – performance made by and with Jane Saks and Katrin Essenson, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn

„Why Do Estonian Women Dance?“ – ‘As if the woman is at home’ group performance, Festival May Lily Days, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn

„As if the woman is at home“ – performance, making of music video, ‘As if the woman is at home’ group work in Cultural Cettle, Tallinn

“Obscure matters” – solo version by Katrin Essenson, Tartu Uus Teater; Black Box of University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy

„On the verge of the world“ – fire shadow theatre piece on the sails; idea and staging Katrin Essenson; with folk musician Annika Mändmaa and folkband Svjata Vatra; performers: dancers-choreographers Külli Roosna, Kennet Flack, Endro Roosimäe and firemasters Otto Pierroto, Katrin Essenson. Techical support Eero Ehala. Stage design support Liina Tepand; Estonian Culture Festival “Estonie tonique“ on the Canal of Saint- Martin, Paris

„techically speaking“ – performance, festival „Maraton 2012“, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn

“e s s e n t i a l s” – poetic documentary performance by Katrin Essenson, Kadri Noormets, Jaak Sapas, Margo Teder; NGO Flea Circus and STL coproduction, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Tallinn

“Wake Up! It’s Time to Die” – idea, dramaturgy and performance by and with Katrin Essenson, Jarmo Karing; dramaturgy and stenography Liina Keevallik; Vaba Lava Stage, part of curator program 2016, Tallinn

2018 folk-dance event “The Mystery of Midsummer Eve” fire performances – director of fire performances, Student Festival Gaudeamus 2018, Tartu

2019 “There is something in the past that needs to be reloaded” – lecture performance on given theme, artist Maarja Nurk initiated performance event about the relations between language and death in her exhibition, Hobusepea Gallery, Tallinn

Installations and exhibitions:

2004 “Motorcycle for dreamers”– sight-specific installation, Western Estonia

2004 “Confession chair” – sight-specific installation, together with artist Minna Hint, Western Estonia

2006 bith year of “Artist from Jõhvi” – lo-fi video work, interdisciplinary laboratory project, 6 artists from different working field in Ida-Virumaa center, Jõhvi Concert Hall

2006 “PornoKaraoke” – installation, group exhibition curated by Andres Lõo, VAAL Gallery, Tallinn article_id-537

2008 ”The Stress Station” (“Murepunkt”) – installation-game, by Liina Keevallik and Katrin Essenson, festival May Lily Days 2008, Tallinn

2008 „Artist from Jõhvi“ – series of low-tech videos, Festival May Lily Days, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn

2009 “Self-exposure” – installation, by Liina Keevallik and Katrin Essenson, Estonian Art Union annual exhibition, Tallinn Art Hall

2011 „Stress stations“ installation-game in city environment: co-production with Liina Keevallik and other artists, part of European Capital of Culture programm, Tallinn


2001 “According to the law”– short film, idea, scenario, directing Katrin Essenson, cameramen, montage by Taavi Varm, Esko Rips, (also a part of the performance with the same title), festival Centre National de la Dance (CND) “D’Est en Quest”, Paris

2009, 2010 “Control!!!” – documentary travesty, directed by Silja Saarepuu & Katrin Essenson, short version in Non Grata’s Vilm and Fideo Festival, Pärnu; Festival May Lily Days special screening in public tram and full version in Von Krahl Teatre, Tallinn

2017 “As if the woman is in documentary film” – creative group “As if the woman is at home” artistic documentary; cinematographer and montage Jüri Reinberg Šestakov; Festival May Lily Days 2018 HAPPY END!

2017 – “Going East” – road movie, work in proccess

Other works as a dancer, choreographer, director:

1997 “Pro Impro” – improvisational performance of dancers and musicians, Old Town Music House, Tallinn
1998 “Numbers Stations” – dancer; choreographer Charles Linehan
1998; 2001 “What’s up”; “Unfinished symphony”– dancer, choreographer; director Yoshiko Chuma, Sakala Centre, Tallinn; August DanceFestival, Pärnu
1999; 2000 “One Second Hand”, “List of illusions” – dancer, choreographer; director Sasha Pepelyaev, Hamburg, touring in Europe, New York
1999, 2000 “X-generation”, “1=3″ – dancer, choreographer; director Jarmo Karing Jekaterinburg; Tartu Theatre Lab, Tartu
2000 “Trankvillisaator” – dancer, choreographer, director Peter Bicknell, Von Krahl Theater, Tallinn
2000 – 2005 “Give me some space”; “Once you know how to be…”; “Bearbees”; “Who is Ed?” – choreography and staging with young people, Art and Dance School “Athena”, Rakvere
2001 „New Elysium. Dream Loop“ cyberpunk performance – dancer, choreographer; director Andrus Laansalu, Tartu Theatre Lab production, Sadamateater, Tartu; festival “Baltoscandal”, Rakvere
2001 “Abuzz” – performance with and for dance theatre students, Ohio Northern University, Freed Centre, Ada, Ohio, USA
2001 – 2003 “1973”; “House on Jaama street”; “House in Rataskaevu street” – dancer, choreographer; director Tiina Mölder, Mustpeade Maja, Tallinn St. Peterburg; Tartu Theatre Lab, Tartu, Von Krahl Theatre, Tallinn
2002 „Peeter“ – documentary opera, dancer; choreographer; dir. Margus Kasterpalu Tartu Theatre Lab, Sadamateater, Tartu; festival “Baltoscandal”, Rakvere
2002 „Birthday” – dancer, choreographer; director Minna Vainikainen, Von Krahl Theatre jubilee performance, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn
2004 “TEXTUR – tour de force” – dancer, choreographer in WILHELM GROENER typo-choreography, Hebbel Theatre, HAU2, Berlin
2006 “Powered by heroes – Vol.3” – directed version for Mari Savitski, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn
2006 “The Dragon of the North”, animation film – choreography fragment; director Riho Unt
2007 “Physical education” animation film – dance, choreography; director Andres Tenusaar alias Tencu
2008 “Se Dire” fast time movie – performer; director videoartist Patrick Laffont, Cultural Kettle, Tallinn
2009, 2010 “Luminé” fashion performance – collaborative work; costumes Marit Ilison, festival “Plektrum”, Tallinn; innovative art and technology festival STRP, Eindhoven
2009 “As if the woman is at home” making of music video – presentation of the record, interdiciplinary festival May Lily Days, Cultural Cettle, Tallinn
2010 pilot-project „Shadow Theatre on the Sails“ – director and performer, work with amateur performers and professional folk musicicians Annika Mändmaa and folk band Svjata Vatra, Cultural Landing of Old Ships, Baltic Sea tour 2019 adrenaline opera “Dangerous life” – directing rally thematic piece for young people, IT Festival CADrina X, Kadrina Culture Centre, West Viru County, Kadrina

Soundworks and interviews:

2001 interviews about normality and abnormality research for the solo piece “…jusqu’ici, ca va bien…”, “…so far, so good…”: neurologist Anne Perli, traumatologist Madis Rahu, sorserer Vormsi Enn

2009 ‘As if the woman is at home’ – humming CD release, group work; Liina Keevallik, Mari-Liis Roos, Maria Hansar, Liina Vahtrik, Katrin Essenson, Klaire Kolmann

2010 “Drive-in Silent Disco” – LokaalRaadio live broadcast, “52 suprises and ideas”, EKKM, Tallinn

2011 “Aether” – Raul Keller, Katrin Essenson, LokaalRaadio broadcast for RadioaFM

2012 “Laika correspondence”, “Radio Ballett” – soundscape broadcast formats, part of Mobile Radio program, Sao Paulo 30th Art Biennale

2012 interviews about “mid-life crisis” – audio-video; with artists Marko Mäetamm, Sandra Jõgeva; choreographer Dmitri Hartshenko; zoologist Aleksei Turovski; sorcerer and friend of artists Enn from Vormsi, interdisciplinary festival May Lili Days, Tallinn

2016 “Death Cafe” – death related Estonian contemporary poetry evening, LokaalRaadio recording, Cultural club Kelm, Tallinn

2017 “i’m your thought reader”, “there is something in the wind” – soundscapes for Maria-Kristiina Ulas exhibition, Design Galley, Tallinn

Residencies, laboratory’s, workshops:

2001 guest teacher of contemporary dance technique and composition in Ohio Northern University
2002, 2003 summer dance school workshops, Moscow Dance Agency “tseh”, Moscow 2003 Springdance Festival “Dialouge&Preview” – choreographers seminar from Estonia, Netherlands, India and France, Utrecht
2003 “Kanuti Lab” – proccess driven collaborative project with artists from Germany (WILHELM GROENER), France (Scalen); Estonia (S.P.A.), Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn 2006 “Colina Lab” – Collaboration in Arts, international art exchange lab, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn
2006 residency on proposed media influences theme, Firenze
2007 “Puhuva Puu” (“Talking Tree”); international project with adolescents from Karjala (Petroskoi), Finland (Kuopio), Estonia (Rakvere), imrovisation and composition workshops, Tampere
2007 residency together with Jane Saks, WILHELM GROENER studio, “Politics of Touch” project (prospective to Obscure matters); work in progress showing, Berlin 2008 residency, PAF (Performing Arts Forum), St. Erme
2008 residency, “Se Dire” preliminary work with PAtrick Laffont, Paris
2011 residency “Pühavaimu studio”, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn
2016; 2018 residency, theatre group OFF SZoEN, Switzerland; Massia, Estonia
2017, 2018 improvisation synthesis workshops, Tallinn Folks University

Press materials selection:

– ”Conceptual dance and dance concept”, Leenu Nigu; magazine Teater. Muusika. Kino / Theatre. Music. Cinema, 2008/7: 44-49; article4704.pdf

– “Katrin Essenson is speaking for small things”, Andreas W; Postimees, Culture, 12.05.2003; asjade-eest

– “Keevallik/Essenson: May Lilies is force majeure, as viable as weed”, Madis Järvekülg; ERR culture portal, 20.05.2015; maikelluke-on-force-majeure-elujouline-nagu-umbrohi

Published articles:

– People and Life, Teachers Newspaper – 21.04.2006, Elu, inimesed, Õpetajate Leht, Reede, 21. aprill 2006

– Presentation on paper “Talking Tree Camp” DaCi conference 2009, Jamaika / ‘Cultures Flex: Unearthing Expressions of the Dancing Child”, 2009

– “If you are silent for three days the face starts to change” / “Kui oled kolm päeva vait olnud hakkab nägu muutuma” – Kanuti Gildi SAAL’s webmagazin, Magasin 14.04.2019

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