The artist for the international Haihara Dance Residency has been selected. Meet Anna Riley-Shepard! She will be working in the residency in the autumn 2022, in Tampere.


Anna Riley-Shepard is a dancer, maker, neuroscientist, and social & environmental strategist based in Amsterdam, NL. She holds a degree in cognitive neuroscience & dance from Harvard University and advances intersectional sustainability through her work across cultural, non-profit, and private sectors.

As a dancer, she has had the pleasure of collaborating and performing with, among others, Boston Dance Theatre (Itzik Galili/Jessie Jeanne Stinett), Plan d- Theatre (Andreas Denk), Lali Ayguadé, Iris Woutera Co., TerazNow Dance Theatre (Maciej Beczek), and the Otherwise Collective.

As a maker, she is concerned with the dangerously powerful human practice of “othering”. It is this ability to “other” that has precipitated the most pressing relational breakdowns of our time: the breakdown of our relationship to ourselves (manifesting in mental health as it intersects with identity/body politics), to each other (manifesting in local and global structural inequities), and to our planet (manifesting in natural resource depletion, environmental destruction and climate change). Her recent works, The Plant Is Present (2022), A Wave is Just a Circle Dispersed by Time (2021), Vincula (2020), and now, Rewilding The Body, all engage with and seek to subvert this practice.


Humans seek out wild places to fulfill parallel desires: to “reconnect with nature”, to shed oppressive societal norms, to heal ourselves. We have forgotten that, like any other animal, we are already part of nature; that the wilderness we seek is our own. Inspired by the global rewilding movement (which lets go of traditional “managed” conservation to enable emergent, instinctive, entangled ecosystem restoration processes), maker Anna Riley-Shepard explores how rewilding can also start inside us, viscerally, in our bodies.

In the Haihara residency, she will work to develop her movement research project, Rewilding The Body, into both a danced solo “concept album” and a shareable social practice. Drawing on the two guiding concepts of unlearning mastery and becoming other, she will bring various movement methods — including exhaustive trance, extreme slowness, somatic deconstruction, and queer semiotics — into play.

She will invite the community to a weekly sharing evening, with a guided movement session, conversation with her musical, theoretical, and movement collaborators and regeneratively grown food. The residency will culminate in an informal work-in-progress presentation of the solo.