Director Antti Suniala and the collective Race Horse Company are creators in the field of circus arts, movement and dance, but together make a step further with their short screendance project Walls Beneath Our Feet. Since 2008 their goal has been to create performances with uncompromising acrobatic skills, chaos aesthetic, dark humour and surprises without limits. Race Horse Company is one of the well-known Finnish circus companies travelling around the world with their shows. They  are a delicate mix of adrenaline from the sense of danger and joy provoked by various comedic elements. With their project Walls Beneath Our Feet, Race Horse Company bravely jumps into another field – the world of dance on screen – and in a perfect way proves their artistic taste for experiment and freedom of expression.

In 2023 this dance film was part of the Official selection of the 8th edition of Moving Body Festival and won the awards for Best Use of Location  and the Audience choice award. Walls Beneath Our Feet is inspired by Pasila Street Art District in Helsinki and the authors define it as ‘a movement research in urban spaces from unexpected angles’. In the film and its editing, street artworks dynamically take turns with the ‘flights’ of the performers of Race Horse Company, who easily overcome gravity and create their own rules for navigation through the urban – as if beyond physics, merging with the colours and shapes of the street art around them.


The artwork may be perceived as a love letter to the circus – the creators’ biggest passion. The mission of this film’s revelation is to turn the attention, and the camera lens, to the circus arts, pulling them out of the cliché that describes them as something old, dying, traditional, forgotten, unable to change and be up-to-date with the world here and now. On the contrary – with the help of the cinematography the creators present their art as a boundless inspiration, alive and energising, as a starting point for new artistic creations. As in dance, as well as in acrobatic stunts, the body moves in a specific way. It stores the memory of all repeated minutes of choreography, of the pain of the failed attempts, and of the joy of the acquired strength, athleticism, power and agility. The body has learned its lessons and is a refined instrument by itself, so at one point it acquires freedom to once more connect with the imagination and take flight. And all this is possible. It is no coincidence that the circus performers look like superpeople. Walls Beneath Our Feet creates the same feeling – high jumps override time and turn space upside down. The screen emits confidence and might, and invites the viewer to experience freedom, or at least to have the desire for such an urge.

Кадър от Walls Beneath Our Feet с режисьор Анти Суниала 

It is interesting that neither the choreography, nor the eye of the camera can be placed in the chosen locations. We are forced to watch and absorb with different perceptions for up, down, left, right, earth, sky, ceiling. The post production elements, the visual effects and editing, are worthy of our admiration, because they boost the sense of wonder, we ask ourselves ‘how did they film that’? Walls Beneath Our Feet breaks the conventional and plays with the viewer’s anticipation, using new techniques of movement as well as new ways of capturing the body – its swirls and turns. 


Without a doubt, the viewer is in awe with the movements of the bodies and the film reminds us that the primal inspiration is to talk about the importance of circus arts. At the same time, the artwork hides more layers in itself, as it is a valid social message. It is entirely placed in city landscapes in between street art in Pasila District in Helsinki. It is known that New York City in the 60s is the place and time when street art and graffiti were born. Back then street art raised the voices of the marginalised and vulnerable groups and started debates on various community problems. Suddenly, a few words and minimalistic illustrations on top of un urban ‘canvas’ could express the position of thousands of people, turning the public environment into an arena for discussions on valid and meaningful topics – wars, political crises, ecological issues, racism, sexism, homophobia, economic inequality, and concerns about the technological world we live in. There are no limits, and artists, who oftentimes are anonymous and depending on their local context, on the verge of the law, can create and present their thoughts and thrills. The film Walls Beneath Our Feet is a gesture of honour to this most important context of street art, artists and walls that they dare to paint with meaningful comments and questions about human life. The combination between impressive visuals and the movements of Race Horse Company dancers defines the film as a call for freedom, rebellion, and courage to speak and dance what is debatable today, so tomorrow may be a little brighter. 

Кадър от Walls Beneath Our Feet с режисьор Анти Суниала 

Last but not least, Walls Beneath Our Feet provides the viewer a chance to experience the urban cosmos of Helsinki. The cosmos as a system – the city and its people move in structures and choreographies, everyone with their own direction, with a potential to provoke destruction or creation. From another point of view – as is in the cosmos, as well as in the film – gravity is defeated by a vast array of opportunities and dreams. A vastness that is beautiful, because it’s unknown but inevitably it is also our home. This magical feeling touches the viewer. Maybe that is why the film won the Audience award. We keep the faith that we can be a bit more like the artists from Race Horse Company – conquering the concrete verticals of buildings and the horizontals of surfaces, fighting for meaningful causes with art as our weapon. That is why it is wonderful that media like video and photography exist: so that they capture and archive. If someone decides to smear and cross out images or words from the walls, to forget the dance moves and acrobatics, screendance is another medium that is here to memorise and send forward the meanings of the walls beneath our feet.

The article is translated by Miryana Mezeklieva.

This material was created within the project Translation on Air – a section dedicated to dance for the screen or screendance. Every month we invite the professional and amateur audience, tempted by this intriguing symbiosis between cinema and dance, to join our readings, conversations, and discussions with active practitioners and choreographers in this field from the country and abroad.

The project Translation on Air is implemented with the financial support of the National Fund Culture under the program Audiences 2020 and One-Year Grant 2021.

Видеография и референции: 

Short film Walls Beneath Our Feet

Official website на Race Horse Company

Article: The Helsinki mayor who got caught spraying graffiti: ‘I painted GCM – great career moves – which is ironic

Article: Street Art: How political and rebellious is it today? by Anja Koller 

Ana-Maria Sotirova graduated with a degree in “Film” at the University of Reading, as well as a master’s degree in “Film Studies” at the University of Amsterdam. She is the author of articles in the “Translation on Air” column, part of the activities of the “Moving Body” platform.

Miryana Mezeklieva graduated in Cultural Studies at Sofia University Kliment Ohridski. Since 2008 until today she has been working as a translator of feature films and series for dubbing mainly for the channels of Nova Broadcasting Group.