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Anu Sistonen

Anu Marjukka Sistonen is a Finnish dancer, teacher and choreographer who trained at the Finnish National Ballet School. Upon graduation Anu gained a contract in the Finnish National Ballet and soon began dancing principal roles, that included for example Juliet in John Cranko's version of Romeo and Juliet, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Nikia in La Bayadère and Clara in two different versions of The Nutcracker.

She was always interested in contemporary and modern dance and got a chance to work with many of the leading choreographers in the world like Mats Ek, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, John Neumeier and Ohad Naharin.

In 1986 Anu Sistonen joined The Stuttgart Ballet where she remained for four years touring extensively and dancing various roles. The company was at that time under the direction of the famous prima ballerina Marcia Haydée. In 1990 Anu moved to Stockholm to work with Mats Ek in Cullberg ballet before returning to Finland in 1992. During the period 1993-1998 she worked in the Finnish National Ballet with many leading Finnish choreographers like Jorma Uotinen (director of the company), Kenneth Kvanström and Tero Saarinen.

In 1998 Anu moved to Paris and then London to enable her to spend more time working with choreographers outside Finland as well as to develop her teaching and choreographic interests. During this latest stage in her career she has worked with Tero Saarinen Company, taught in England, Germany, Finland, France, Sweden and Luxembourg and occasionally returned to the Finnish National Ballet as a guest artist. Anu is now principally based in Luxembourg and had three times her own dance performances in Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg. In 2003 the evening was titled "Northern Spirit" and it included three choreographies: Out of the Fog (trio), Shivering (solo) and Unison (duet). The second of her own evening was "Soirée Contraire" and it included two new creations: Sibelius-Divertissement and La Fantaisie and 2013 Against the flow and Gives life-Takes life were performed in Grand Théâtre as well.

On 10th of November, 2006 her creation TIMELINE was premiered in Théâtre d'Esch. It was a continuation of the cooperation between Anu and Andre Mergenthaler, a famous luxembourgish cellist. Also premiered in 2006 was Anu's creation Truly Yours, a solo work for dancer Jonna Aaltonen which was extended and made into a duet in 2008 and renamed Moving Light. Anu also created a new work with the Ballet de Lorraine Spleen in 2008.

As an independent production and first cooperation with the Finnish photographer Miikka Heinonen Anu also created in 2008 Contaminated, a co-production with Trois C-L.

In 2010 Anu worked in close cooperation with Aconcagua quintet on LIFE, based on the music of Astor Piazzolla. LIFE was premiered in Théâtre d'Esch Luxembourg in May 2010 and has been performed in the Grand Region of Luxembourg and also in the Fullmoon Dance Festival in Pyhäjärvi Finland in July 2010.

Anu created IMAGE X in 2011 with photographer Miikka Heinonen and composer Emre Sevindik. IMAGE X is an abstract creation around the theme of mystery/secret, a creation of contemporary dance and multimedia.

In 2012, Anu worked on a project specially destined to young audiences (4-7) with two dancers and one musician with his double bass: Duo Duu.

In 2013, Anu delivered two works that are deeply connected with water : Against the flow, using a live piano performance of Chopin's Piano Sonata no.3. Gives life / Takes life, employs five dancers to express water as a source of life and death.

In 2014 Anu worked together with a Finnish contemporary composer Asko Hyvärinen and the new creation Tone hazard was premiered in March at Kinneksbond, Luxembourg. In the same evening Trois femmes was performed by the pianist Beata Szalwinska and the dancers Jonna Aaltonen and Rhiannon Morgan. 

In 2017 she returned to Helsinki (FIN) and continues working as a ballet mistress, freelance teacher and choreographer.

In 2019 she graduated as a Pilates Instructor (mat) from the Somatic Center Finland.

In november 2013, Anu awarded the audience prize at (Re)connaissance, a competition organised by Le Pacifique Choreographic Development Centre (CDC) and Maison de la danse Grenoble (FR) with her piece Against the flow.

Photo: Miikka Heinonen