Maija Hirvanen (FI)

Maija Hirvanen is a choreographer and performance maker based in Helsinki. After her earlier studies in dance varying from the Kuopio high school for Music and Dance and Turku Conservatory’s dancers education to training in various workshops, she studied her BA in interdisciplinary performing arts (Turku Art Academy & Dartington College of Arts/Performance Writing) and MA in Visual Culture (Aalto University). She has created a series of solo works and group performances that have been presented at festivals and venues in Finland and internationally. She was in-house choreographer at Zodiak – Center for New Dance from 2013–15. The Arts Promotion Centre Finland has admitted Hirvanen a 5-year artist grant for 2019-2023.

Maija’s interests range from the relationship between art and different belief systems, collaborative processes within cultural practices and performance as collective memory to mechanisms of re-learning. She has shown her work in theatres, public spaces and galleries.

Maija Hirvanen (FI):

Choreographer and performance maker Maija Hirvanen's new work Magic and Despair instigates some of the not so obvious sides of empathy. One of the starting points for the performance is a recognition, that skills of collective imagining and the capacity to face feelings of sorrow and desperation both play a central role in the formation of empathy.

In the situation of a performance, the viewer is looking at another human being - who looks back. Magic and Despair is working around the potential of this situation. The performance also performs and investigates empathy towards other animals, creatures and forms of life. The dramaturgy of the piece, as typical for Hirvanen's work, is episodic and build through associations.

During the process of making the work, Hirvanen asks the the following questions with her working group: What are the edges of empathy? How and where is empathy directed? Why? What is the darker side of empathy?

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