Joy of Karelian Folk Dance
Motora is a youth association and a Finnish folk dance ensemble famous for its lively and exciting performances. Based in Joensuu – a city of nearly 75 000 inhabitants in the province of North Karelia, Eastern Finland – the association consists of multiple dance groups ranging from small children to adults. There is a total of approximately 200 active dancers, musicians and teachers participating in various kinds of dance related activities on a daily or weekly basis.
Motora specializes in Karelian folk dance, characterized by elements such as rhythm, joy, and powerful emotional expression. Karelia is a frontier region located partly in Finland and partly in Russia, and Motora’s coreographies and overall presentation are influenced by both Eastern and Western cultures. There are both traditional and modern choreographies in the repertoire, and the ensemble is known for delivering fresh and original performances by tweaking and modifying conventional dances, all the while maintaining tradition.
Motora was founded by Rauni and Sakari Riikonen in 1968. Currently, the youth association is led by chairperson Mari Lehikoinen, the main teachers being Mitja Pilke, Eveliina Pilke and Eevi Miettinen. In 2008, Motora earned the title “Folk dance ensemble of the year”, which is the highest rank award within the Finnish folk dance scene. The youth association also received an award from the state recognizing its importance in promoting, developing and sustaining children’s culture.
Music is an essential part of Karelian dance and Motora’s performances. The frontman for Motora’s music and the band, Rälläkkä, is the renowned accordionist Marko Kotilainen. Rälläkkä makes use of various instruments such as the violin, guitar, bass and cajón.
Motora performs at the biggest festivals in Finland and participates in national competitions, often receiving accolades and top level awards. Different groups also travel abroad yearly to participate in international festivals and folk dance events.
List of trips abroad
2019 Belgium, Hungary, Estonia
2017 Slovakia, Latvia
2016 Slovenia, Italy, Belgium
2015 Germany, the Czech Republic
2014 France, Belgium, Italy
2013 The Netherlands
2010 Germany, Spain and Hungary
2009 Estonia and Hungary
2008 Norway and Northern Cyprus (Iskele)
2006 Sweden (Torshälla) and Hungary
2005 France and the Republic of Karelia (Petrozavodsk)
2004 Denmark and Hungary
2001 Romania and the Republic of Karelia
1994 The Republic of Karelia (Suistamo)
1992 Switzerland (Sion)
1991 The Republic of Karelia (Petrozavodsk)
1990 Switzerland (Fribourg)
1987 Germany (Stuttgart)
1986 Germany and the Republic of Karelia
1983 Norway and Germany
1982 Germany (Hof)
1981 Sweden (Linköping)
1980 Lithuania (Vilnius)
1978 The U.S.
1974 Germany (Halle, Westfalen)
Contact information for all groups:
+358 44 35 77 011