Press – Grind

“In their trio Grind, performed in Berlin’s Hebbel am Ufer theater, Jefta van Dinther, Minna Tiikkainen, and David Kiers play with a precisely calculated proliferation of images somehow evocative of Baroque painting. The impact of Grind rests upon a sensitive interplay between thoroughly simple formal means. They realize their nightmarish vision by combining choreographies of dance, light, and music, employing a minimum of materials – a rod, a cable, and a body. Movement, light, and sound escalate into a whole, but each art form remains distinctly perceptible, sharply contoured, clearly demarcated. Grind, like many theatre projects of its kind, aims to beguile the senses, but never to overpower them. Quite the contrary. The magic enables the viewer to engage in acute aesthetic perception and participation.

Be that as it may, this hour is filled with more guessing than recognizing. This lies less in the spare lighting than in Minna Tiikkainen’s dedication to the art of sophisticated lighting design. She drives shadows across the floor like bats, blinds us painfully with sudden flashes of strobe light, and agitates Jefta van Dinther’s shivering body into a state of high-frequency oscillation. With the tools she employs, this master of light-choreography manages literally to set the space in motion, enlivening it, and constantly making an indifferent darkness surface where we least expect it. All the while we are surrounded by David Kiers’ cacophonous sounds as they gyrate, hammer, pulsate – often in assonance, sometimes in dissonance. Jefta van Dinther crawls over the floor, whirls a cable in circles over his head like a lasso. As the space gradually becomes dark again and ultimately black, the light bulb at the end of his cable blinks in perfect synch with the sounds and leaves behind a flawless tail of light as if it were a falling star. The closing image – a slowly disappearing human being in the middle of a breathing universe, orbited by a dying sun – opens up a magically rich field of associations, one which can only be created by artists who both love and master their media.”

-Elisabeth Nehring, Tanz, July 2012

“Grind is as sharp as the abrasive metal-cutting knife and after an intensive one-hour performance I enjoy the reverberation that keeps on swinging in the mind like a tuning fork even after the dance has ended.”

-Stefanie Hessler,, 30.12.2011


“…a black scenic hole…filled with flashing electroshock-dance, hard pulsating techno and a kind of 3D sound-effects that with low-frequency rumbling vibrations scares the wax in the ears out through their ear ducts.”

“It is as if the dancer is a machine or a generator. The sound drives the body into such rapid motion, that it ceases to exist. Until the body in the next moment shuffles along in defiance of gravity, or trembles with jolts while the music sounds like a electrical power station. It is like watching an artificial ecstasy.”

“Grind is a strange and brutal experience for eye, ear and body.
The intellect is wiped out and matter is set in motion.”

-Anna Ångström, Svenska Dagbladet, 18.12.2011

“Body, sound and music are presented as frequencies, as lines and surfaces in motion. An invisible condition emerges.”

“The tremendous intensity created during “Grind” can be traced back to a strong and unusually successful meeting between choreography, lighting design and sound. The three elements both illustrate and support each other with consistency, skill and emphasis. The show becomes a synthesis of the different art forms that make no detours to seize the viewer. Everything becomes a strangely familiar yet unknown pulse that meets and sets all the membranes of the viewer in motion.”

-Axel Andersson, Tidningen Kulturen, 21.12.2011

“The darkness is pulverized, as is my own vision. The music by David Kiers and Emptyset is choppy, somewhere between monotonous techno and alarm signals. The lighting design by Minna Tiikkainen is an interlacing of light minimalism and darkness maximalism.”

“…it feels like I’ve been in another country. And I certainly have.”

-Margareta Sörenson, Scenbloggen Expressen, 16.12.2011

“GRIND is a grand play with perception, in which Van Dinther’s body appears as an almost amorphous material. With shadows and strobe lights he makes the impossible possible: while he hauls in a long black cable his shadow separates from his body, and starts leading a life of its own. When Van Dinther later jolts across the floor, his head and hands seem to separate from his body. And by shaking vehemently, his body soon becomes elastic. The contours of his shoulders and hips ripple as if they are liquid. Due to the afterimages of the light flashes, the movements sometimes gain the quality of an old black and white film.

In GRIND Van Dinther arouses a variety of associations. At first you think you are looking at cartoon figure, but quickly the fear hits you at the thought of a massacre. Then suddenly you perceive a horse whip, or you walk through a tropical monsoon, or you are surrounded by racing motorcycles or a helicopter flies over head. The performance is through its intertwinement of sound, light and movement a fascinating and compelling but also terrifying experience, not suitable for people with a weak stomach. On unsteady legs, with bleary eyes and ears ringing the hurricane GRIND leaves your behind in bewilderment.”

-Sara van der Kooi, Theaterkrant, 05.04.2012