Saara Roppola is a visual artist, performer, Butoh dancer and puppeteer currently based in Brisbane. Her work considers 'embodiment'; encompassing notions of post-humanism, universal structures connecting micro and macrocosms, hermaphroditism, death, trans-speciesism, and the transformative potential of the body.
After completing her Bachelor of Visual Arts with Honours (performance, video art and installation) at the Queensland University of Technology, Saara moved to Amsterdam for four years. In Europe she continued to research dance and performance disciplines while focusing on intensive Butoh dance training. Studying regularly with Masaki Iwana and Akira Kasai, she also trained and performed with Stefano Taiuti and Tadashi Endo. This research lead to a definitive solo performance career, that accrued regular performances at venues Studio 80 (Amsterdam), Supperclub Amsterdam, 360 ˚ (Istanbul) and other events and arts festivals in Europe. As an interdisciplinary artist, Roppola handcrafts sculptural costumes that augment the body during her performances. She has also studied with Butoh masters in Japan, performing with Diarakudakan (2017), and as a solo performer at Kamaitachi Village Art Festival (Tatsumi Hijikata Museum, Akita, 2019).
Since returning to Australia at the end of 2014, she has presented her performance art works at Sword in the Shell (ARI), SX+ Collective, Pop Gallery, Yonder, Metro Arts, Crackx (This Is Not Art Festival) and BARI festival. In 2016 she performed at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) as part of Nick Cave’s HEARD. She also performed in Hermann Nistch's ACTION:150 at Dark Mofo (MONA, 2017).
Saara has extensive experience working in collaborative settings. In 2018 she worked with artist Bill Platz to develop their work Drawing Labyrinth that was situated in Picasso's Vollard Suite exhibition in the Queensland Art Gallery. Roppola also developed performance-drawings with artist Kellie O'Dempsey at the Museum of Brisbane (2019), and the Metro Arts (2018) and has worked in collaboration with Leon Rhodes at Penny Contemporary (Hobart, 2018) and Burnette Lane Art Landing (2019).
In 2017 Roppola completed a Masters of Professional Practice (Performing Arts) at the University of the Sunshine Coast. She currently tutors in Butoh dance at her Brisbane studio and curates the monthly interdisciplinary performance series Pollinator at House Conspiracy (Artist Residency).
In 2014 Saara established the physical theatre company Kimera Productions to present boutique performances involving elaborate sculptural costumes and puppets. Kimera Productions is repeatedly featured at Woodford Folk Festival, Earth Frequency Festival, Jungle Love Festival, Yonder Festival, Island Vibe, Andromeda Festival and at exclusive events around south east Queensland.
Roppola is also a teaching artist in both visual art and butoh, performance and movement practices. She has been teaching children's visual art workshops with Raw Art since 2017. This is also her second year of weekly Butoh classes (structured as 8 week terms), teaching a unique blend of Butoh practices and research developed from her experiences with teachers and own experience.