Mr. Freundlich began his artistic career in music and lighting design, but at age 20 was inspired to become a contemporary dance choreographer. Despite his late start, he was accepted into the professional training program of the Finnish National Ballet School, from which he subsequently graduated as dancer in 2001. He has since created some 35 choreographic works both in Finland and internationally, encompassing ensemble pieces, solos, contemporary opera, theatre and dance film. Mr. Freundlich studied jazz dance with Russell Adamson in addition to furthering his dance training in New York and at the Boston Conservatory. In mime, movement theatre and dramatic dance, Mr. Freundlich’s teachers were renowned mime artists Adam Darius and Kazimir Kolesnik.
Thomas Freundlich is one of the leading dance film practitioners in Finland, with work ranging from dance short films to projection design for stage works and stereoscopic 3D projects. Mr. Freundlich and his longtime colleague Valtteri Raekallio are the artistic directors of Loikka dance film festival (www.loikka.fi). Their joint work includes the internationally acclaimed dance film North Horizon, shot on location in the arctic wilderness of Spitsbergen and seen at over 20 film and dance festivals worldwide.
Mr. Freundlich’s stage work regularly stretches the possibilities of contemporary dance theatre and performance technology. His recent pieces include Human Interface, an evening-length piece for two dancers and two industrial robots, which Mr. Freundlich also programmed. The piece was seen in 2012 at Zodiak Center for New Dance, Finland’s leading production organization for contemporary dance.
Thomas Freundlich’s recent solo work Closing Time, danced by Neil Owens, was premiered in March 2013 at the International Solo-Dance-Theatre Festival in Stuttgart. Two of his earlier works have premiered at the festival in previous years, with Dreamcatcher, performed by Tanja Kuisma, winning two awards at the 2005 edition. Dreamcatcher has subsequently been seen at numerous dance festivals in Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Spain.
Since 2005, Thomas Freundlich has collaborated with Helsinki Skaala Opera on seven contemporary operas, including the highly praised Finnish premieres of Philip Glass’s operas Les Enfants Terribles, In the Penal Colony and A Madrigal Opera.
Thomas Freundlich has served as a board member of numerous cultural organizations in Finland, and is a co-founder (with Valtteri Raekallio) of Liikekieli.com, Finland’s online dance magazine. In 2008, Liikekieli.com was awarded the Finnish State Award for Dance Arts, Finland’s highest accolade in dance.
Mr. Freundlich’s work has been acknowledged with some 40 grants and awards from cultural foundations, arts councils and festivals in Finland and abroad. From 2011 to 2013, he is the recipient of a three-year artist’s grant from the Arts Council of Finland.