Helsingin Sanomat - 06/02/2014
”Äh, höh, hii”, sounds are coming from the back of the stage. Eight 10 to 14 year old girls are about to begin with GIRLS, a piece which the Belgian choreographer Ugo Dehaes originally made for 34 to 56 year old female dancers in 2011. The popular performance was called WOMEN. In WOMEN the professional dancers deal with the attributes of the ideal body image of a contemporary dancer and the independence of the dancer's status on stage, whereas the girls in their own version stretch their limits and look for connection and separation in relation to others.
It is an interesting idea to transfer the thematics of physicalness and performativity to smaller citizens. Right in the beginning what stands out is how few roles, layers of sort, there are in the way of being of the younger girls especially. In that sense the piece fulfills the thought familiarised by women's studies about the gender being merely a performative which is built by repeating similar actions and customs over and over again.
In the expression of the girls there is genuine indulgence and easygoingness towards movement. As performers they still seem quite professional.
The gaze circles the audiences in a confident and focused manner, and the timing of the soundscape based on breathing, sounds and growls works smoothly between the dancers.
For the smaller audience members the performance seems maybe a bit too long, because the happenings on stage get their depth from conceptual comparisons.
Towards the end of the performance the smallest, captivating dancer starts counting in English from five to eight. At the end there is a light nod towards the idea of the identity being built and transformed also in the way of linguistic structures.
On the other hand, while observing the in many ways playful going of the girls, you can also for a moment just let go of the analytic eye and focus on enjoying the energy of girlhood.