With her body, a tightwire and a physical composition that draws on the Japanese rope art of Shibari, Hanna Moisala’s WireDo tells a mesmerising story of stepping out into the unknown.
Moisala is a Finnish tightwire dancer and has worked as a circus artist. Performed as a solo using only the Tightwire and various different lengths and gauges of rope, Moisala explores the different spaces, planes of movement and states of suspension with delicacy and balletic grace.
With its three-dimensional view, WireDo explores the inner balance of human behaviour with the question: “What happens to the body when it chooses to surrender and be manipulated?”
The first thing you see is the rig. Sitting on an otherwise empty stage, the steel frame, ropework and wire is a work of art in itself. Moisala has an elegant confidence as she explores the possibilities of all three elements. Early on, there is some stylish work with a long wooden stick and ropes, with some martial art movements.
Moisala next forgoes the freedom of the floor for the restrictions of the rig, and the ropes. There is some wonderful use of the three-strand rope fixed to the rig that provides a shifting support for rolls and balances. I don’t know how she manages to balance her entire body on a single rope, in a sort of minimalist hammock. Throughout the piece Moisala intricately creates new and evolving structures and patterns with both the ropes and her movement.
The musical backdrop to her act, by Terhi Pippuri, with its cymbals, bells and minimalist sounds adds to the Eastern promise of her act, and her dance movements mirror the music perfectly. There are effective moments during the performance where there is just silence except for the breathing of the performer which highlights the pushing of her body to extremes.
The latter half of the show is captivating in exploring how the body reacts to the extreme opposites of restriction and release. Moisala’s routine is perfectly executed and her body goes through an impressive and physically-demanding routine, from the refined shaping of her body during the movement sections to jumping and dancing on the tight rope. One stand-out trick is demonstrating the splits on the tight rope, the physical control is amazing.
During her performance she acquired a nasty gash on her arm, which just shows the demands this routine puts on her body. As she smiles at the audience, you wonder how on earth she looks so comfortable. The ending of the show leaves us with a beautiful final image as Moisala spins gracefully in mid-air, her body curled as if in a cocoon, as she swings, suspended from the tightwire above. This leaves you with the impression that she has surrendered to the ropes, and having let herself become manipulated by them, finally becomes part of them. This really was a spellbinding performance.★ ★ ★ ★
WireDo was at Waterside Arts, Sale on 18 July 2019 as part of the 10 festival Re:Fract