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Maria Nurmela: Closer to the Wild Heart


Solo performance Closer to the Wild Heart paints the portrait of a woman caught between reality and fiction. In an installation-style performance, fleeting moments come and go without any claim to finality. The work’s distinct poetics go hand in hand with striking scenography and a sensitive emphasis on the fragility of the human being and body. The performance is set in an imposing mediaeval cellar, which only heightens the contrast between body and space.

Closer to the Wild Heart is named for Brazilian author Clarice Lispector's novel Near to the Wild Heart, but it is not a reconstruction of her work. Lispector's existential prose served as the initial impetus for the creative team, choreographer Maria Nurmela, sound designer Jaakko Vastapuu and lighting designer Kalle Ropponen. The inspiration from the novel is reflected in their approach to the work and their expressive and aesthetic intentions.  The result is a dance performance characterised by minimalism and a pure, infinite aesthetic.  Last but not least, the artists have tried to detach the work from theatricality and illusion to achieve a sense of sincerity and emphasise the authenticity of the moment.


Concept and choreography: Maria Nurmela

Lighting design: Kalle Ropponen

Sound: Jaakko Vastapuu

Collaboration: Liisa Pentti, Tarja Härkönen

Production: Maria Nurmela

Co-production: Manifesti Tehdasfestivaali 2016 / Manifesti Factory Festival/ Katja Lehmussaari

Supported by: Turku Arts Council, Finnish Cultural Foundation (M. Nurmela’s personal grant), Regional Dance Centre of Western Finland, and TelepART mobility grant by FinnAgora.

Running time: 27 min

Suitable for ages: 12+

Venue: Cave

The performance will be followed by a discussion moderated by Ondřej Cihlář.

The performance will take place in the cellar. Blankets will be provided, but warm clothing is recommended.

A recipient of the 2020 ABOA Award for Culture,
Maria Nurmela has worked as a freelance dance artist since 2002. Her practice often crosses the boundaries of different fields, playing out in different performance spaces, in community contacts or on screen. Her work has been seen at various festivals and venues in Finland and abroad, including Critical Path in Sydney (2019), Palais de Tokyo Museum in Paris (2018) and others. 

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