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BIOGRAPHY

SAM VAHERLEHTO
Pic by Andrew MacFarlane

Sam graduated from the Ballet School of the Finnish National Opera in 2007 and after that worked for the Finnish National Ballet until 2010. He has performed in various classical ballets and works by contemporary choreographers such as Ohad Naharin, Kenneth Kvarnström, Christian Spuck, William Forsythe, Johan Inger, Jorma Uotinen and Jarkko Mandelin. Sam has won three Finnish championships in street dance, placed second in the 2007 Nordic Ballet Contest in Sweden and in 2010 he won the men’s performing arts solo series in show dance. In 2010 he won the first So You Think You Can Dance contest in Finland (TV show), earning the title ‘Finland’s most popular dancer’. 

 

After the Finnish National Opera Ballet, Sam danced with Susanna Leinonen Company, touring to China, Spain, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sweden, and Finland. He also worked in Denmark with Lotte Sigh's Transparency, which was presented as part of the festival “Kick Backs – a festival about corruption. Sam also went to Israel to learn Gaga (Ohad Naharin’s Movement language) before he joined Phoenix Dance Theatre in August 2013-2018 (Leeds UK). He danced works by contemporary choreographers such as Richard Alston, Caroline Finn, Itzik Galili, Didy Veldman, Christopher Bruce CBE, Darshan Singh Bhuller, and Sharon Watson. After Phoenix he danced and act as a rehearsal director with SLATE contemporary dance company based in Shanghai China, where he toured to Italy and around China. 

 

He returned to the UK to pursue new directions, graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. During his time at RCS he made a solo piece, Being. Decoupled, which was performed as a part of Into The New Festival at Tramway, Glasgow. Sam is also a dedicated dance teacher and facilitator, sharing his knowledge with a new generation of dancers from around the world. Taking the knowledge from dance training, university study and everyday yoga practice, he finds ways of incorporating these experiences into his teaching practice. He firmly believes that students should express themselves, connect to their bodies, and move freely in the present, whether in the studio or out in the world.  

DANCER
CHOREOGRAPHER
EDUCATOR

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Being. Decoupled
February 2023

Being. Decoupled  was part of Into the New Festival 2023 at Tramway. This performance uncovers how his own being has materially changed over time in response to encountering a radically different environment, language, and culture.

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Where Are You Really From?
October 2020

Where Are You Really From? is a short film that tackles issues of people labeling others by their look. Sam interviewed people from multicultural backgrounds to collect different experiences to then play, write, move and share these situations. It was a collaborative film installation where these people were in the final film.

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Why?
April 2018

Anneliese Charek's Why? for SLATE contemporary dance company based in Shanghai, China. Tour in Italy and China.

Shadows
February 2014

Christopher Bruce CBE's Shadows part of a Mixed Bill programme in 2014

Phoenix Dance Theatre based in Leeds

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Bloom
February 2015

Caroline Finn's Bloom was part of a Mixed Bill programme in 2015 with Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds.

Mapping
February 2014

Darshan Singh Bhuller's Mapping part of a Mixed Bill programme in 2014

Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds. Tour Germany, Spain and UK.

DANCE 

2010

FINNISH FIRST 'DANCE' WINNER

FINNISH FIRST 'SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE' TV CONTEST WINNER 2010

CERTIFIED 

YOGA

TEACHER

FINNISH FIRST YOGA CHAMPION

CERTIFIED EVOLATION

YOGA TEACHER 2017

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