Four figures in a circle facing centre, just the upper bodies showing, each one with their head tilted back and mouth open, as if crowing to the skies


Maija Hirvanen: Mesh

Read Icon Read
Time Icon Pink 2 min read
Mesh by Maija Hirvanen (Finland). Photo © Sanna Lehto
S pink identity

Humans within a more-than-human world – but does the idea outweigh the material?

On a milky white stage four dancers lie down as if sleeping. A windy sound caresses their bodies and it seems that someone enters their dreams – otherwise why would their bodies move in a crescendo, as if electrified? The intensity of their dreams tunes down, and their bodies change to a side-sleeping posture, arms and legs brushing the floor from time to time. With the sound effects we can vaguely picture their dreams: bonfire? War? Suddenly, the bodies roll on the stage, back and forth. Here we are: the bottom of a valley? A rabbit hole?

Standing up, the dancers look at each other before threading a movement chain in which each dancer grasps another’s forearm, then another, then another. But it is not vigorous enough, and its flatness extends to the following scenes in which the dancers fight, shout like animals, harvest nature, yet even the changing coloured lights don’t manage to filter their nonchalance. The choreographer’s imagination is less promising than the description in the programme: ‘Maija Hirvanen reimagines the human in a more-than-human world.’

The final connection with the audience does add a moment of post-pandemic enthusiasm. Dispatched on both aisles of the theatre, the dancers start vocalising: calling, chanting, or both. Then they look for a seat, crawl between rows, trying to spread their energies with caution among the audience. Yet I hear only one shy reply to the sound, and see only one spectator’s body interact with a dancer. Maybe more interactions are expected? Supposedly yes. Are we turning down the invitation to become meshed in this ‘new/déjà-vu’ world, or is the invitation not warming enough? I left the HAU2 theatre perplexed.

The bottom line: a lukewarm attempt at reimagining a human world
Location Icon
12.08.22, HAU2, Tanz im August, Berlin
Publication Icon

Artistic direction & choreography: Maija Hirvanen
With: Marika Peura, Marlon Moilanen, Suvi Tuominen, Pie Kär
Lighting design: Heikki Paasonen
Sound design: Tatu Nenonen

You may also like...