Tero Saarinen (born 1964) has made a significant international career as a dancer, choreographer and artistic director of his own company.
Saarinen began dancing at the Finnish National Ballet in 1985. His solo career took off in 1988 after winning the First prize in the contemporary section of Concours International de Danse de Paris. He has since worked with several internationally renowned choreographers alongside his own choreographic work.
In 1992 Saarinen left the ballet to seek new influences from western contemporary dance as well as Nepal and Japan where he studied traditional Japanese dance and Butoh. These experiences have significantly influenced his unique choreographic style.
Saarinen founded his own group in 1996 as a canvas for his own choreographic work. Today, Tero Saarinen Company is one of Finland’s leading cultural exports; the group has appeared in more than 30 countries and its activities include running an international teaching program as well as creating and licensing Saarinen’s choreographies for other prominent dance groups. Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT1), the Batsheva Dance Company, Lyon Opéra Ballet and the Finnish National Ballet, to name but a few, have had Saarinen’s works in their repertoires.
Saarinen has received numerous acknowledgements of his work as an artist. He has been awarded a five-year grant by the Arts Council of Finland in 1999 and 2004. In 2001, he was awarded the Finland Prize and, in 2005, the Pro Finlandia medal – the most prestigious recognitions given to artists in Finland. Saarinen was awarded the International Movimentos Dance Prize for Best Male Performer in Germany in 2004. In June 2004, he was honored with the title of “Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the Ministry of Culture in France. In 2008 The Finnish Cultural Foundation awarded Saarinen for his achievements as an artist.