The 2015 L A Film Festival Review: “Maiko: Dancing Child”



By: Vernon Nickerson

Norwegian Writer and Director Ase Svenheim Drivenes has crafted a beautiful tone poem of an artist risking all for the love of her chosen profession – prima ballerina – in his film “Maiko: Dancing Child”. It is easy to see why it was nominated as Best Documentary at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival.

We are introduced to this story of a thirty something year old dancer’s life in service to her chosen art and dance with archival home movies depicting her childhood. Recognizing their daughter’s talent and passion for dance has led Maiko’s parents to sell their home in order to ensure young Maiko receives the best instruction in dance growing up mostly away from home in boarding school. Maiko’s mom plays a crucial and pivotal role as her daughter’s main cheerleader and counselor; whether up close during Maiko’s visits home or from a distance, encouraging her daughter to stay focused on her career and life goals or counseling her through seasons of loneliness and missing home.

Gently yet powerfully, we are treated to multiple images and vignettes that reveal the physical pain, blood sweat and tears behind the beauty of ballet. At one point, a mealtime discussion with Maiko and her fellow dancers focuses mainly on various pain medications that allow dancers to continue to perform. Maiko’s journey, and that of any professional dancer, is not for the faint of heart. Indeed, to whom much is given, much is required.

The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree as we hear Maiko express her desire to have a child, but not to sacrifice her career to become a mother. Fortunately for mother and child, Maiko lives in a world and corporate culture, in this case the Norwegian National Ballet; where baby Eilif and mommy are welcomed and encouraged to work together. One could imagine a much different set of outcomes in an environment hostile to working mommies and daddies. This makes Maikos’ journey and triumphal return to dance ( lead role in the classic “Swan Lake”) all the more compelling and sweet.
Treat yourself to a delectable feast of a movie and see “Maiko: Dancing Child”.

 “Maiko: Dance Child” screened At the 2015  Los Angeles Film Festival and is director Ase Svenheim Drivenes first feature length documentary. For more information on “Maiko: Dancing Child” go here: or here:


Maiko: Dancing Child 70 min

Director: Ase Svenheim Drivenes