Days Without Names: Dance Without Choreography

Where is dance and where is choreography?

What is happening on the stage: dance or choreography?

After all, when dance is happening on the stage without choreography?


Maija Hirvanen in her new choreography Days Without Names, the last part of her trilogy Operation We, looks at a dance act as something that still carries a strong role as a contemplative practice and as a motor for strengthening communities.

Days Without Names is full of ideas, thoughts, meanings and atmospheres. The performers Fornier Ortiz, Aino Voutilainen and Tuovi Rantanen are all together in shaping choreography’s elements around the subject of unknown.

Kuvassa: Tuovi Rantanen (vas.), Fornier Ortiz, Aino Voutilainen. Kuvaaja:  Aki-Pekka Sinikoski.
Kuvassa: Tuovi Rantanen (vas.), Fornier Ortiz, Aino Voutilainen.
Aki-Pekka Sinikoski.

Red leather cuttings, white long fibres, metallic decorations of a warrior’s costume on the black; performers stay in the circle, performers move in the circle. Each detail conducts a ritual ceremony. I happen to think about Henri Matisse picture Dance, which hangs on my wall; I happen to recollect a shamanistic voodoo-show in Benin, Africa, created to entertain tourists there.

The sound design of the performance is intriguing. The male dancer speaks with female voices; the female dancers speak with male one. Ortiz’s body produces a robot-like-cracking-noise. Rantanen’s body tells to the microphone about the experiences sealed in its memory archive: female voice speaking French comes out of the stomach; sound of church bells is recorded in the knee; whether a tournament or a football match is broadcasted out of the armpit.

Kuvassa: Tuovi Rantanen. Kuvaaja:  Aki-Pekka Sinikoski.
Kuvassa: Tuovi Rantanen.
Aki-Pekka Sinikoski.

Maija Hirvainen is one of the choreographers, in whose hands dance, as smooth sequences of movements, is a rare choreographic tool to create a performance. In Days Without Names she doesn’t make her dancers to deal with rhythmically set steps, but they are challenged through out the whole piece to wander about the stage, to wander about the subject of unknown dance with their whole presence.


Voutilainen’s body is carried away by a continuous whirling. The long white fibres of her costume come along to dance in this movement flow. This is where performance ends and, I happen to think, that is exactly when dance starts happening on the stage without choreography.

Maria Prokhorova

Writer is a dancer who tries out different ways of viewing and reviewing dance.


Days Without Names

Choreography, direction: Maija Hirvanen

Performers: Fornier Ortiz, Aino Voutilainen, Tuovi Rantanen

Sound design: Mikko Hynninen

Light design: Heikki Paasonen

Costume design: Jouko Korkeasaari, Ville Häkkinen

Production: Zodiak – Center for New Dance, Baltic Circle, Stoa, Maija Hirvanen

Residencies: Atalante (Gothenburg), Theaterdiscounter (Berlin)

Premiere: 14.11.2014