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Neverland takes Peter Pan to ice in Nicosia March 23, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Stage & Theater.
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The classic tale of Peter Pan gets its skates on next week for three performances in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Full of pirates and fairies, it’s a place where kids love to visit and adults love to remember. After all, there can’t be many grown ups out there who haven’t spent at least some of their childhood in this dreamy place. Now is the time to embrace the world of wild imagination as you and the kids join the mischievous Peter Pan, his hot tempered pixie pal, Tinkerbell, and the Darling children as they soar away to the mysterious Neverland, where childhood lasts forever.

But don’t think of theatre curtains drawing open and actors taking centre stage, this Neverland gang will be easing off the chill factor as they prance around on ice in a show at the Eleftheria Basketball Stadium in a week’s time.

A basketball stadium in the capital may not quite be what the Scottish JM Barrie had in mind when he thought up the tale, but then again, it’s all about forgetting reality as we’re taken to a world where boys fly and magically refuse to grow up. As the playful Peter arrives to blow fairy dust over Cypriot audiences you can expect a show featuring world class and Olympic champion skaters from the Russian Ice Stars in a production by the UK’s Wild Rose Company and John Yiannakis. “Having toured around the UK for the past two years, our performances are fully booked around the country until next summer,” says Yiannakis. “Because of the high standard of skating, the story may be for children but it’s also quite a visual experience for adults.”

It’s all things normal when the story starts off as we are introduced to the bedtime rituals of the Darling children living a proper middle class life in Edwardian London. Things take an unexpected turn when Peter Pan sneaks into the room one night to listen in on their bedtime stories. Convincing them to fly away with him out of the window and into the depths of Neverland, all sorts of adventures begin in the mysterious place. There are the mean pirates led by Captain Hook, while a whole bunch of Indians, mermaids and crocodiles transport the audience into a world of make believe. Having been so relentlessly hashed and re-hashed over the years, we often forget just how witty and delightfully odd the story is.

The character of Peter Pan first appeared in 1902 in a section of a novel for adults called The Little White Bird. It was so successful that Barrie reprinted it as a full story for children, first performed as a stage play 1904. Little did he know that it would become such a worldwide theatre success, a Walt Disney smash hit in 1953, adapted into the 1991 film Hook, and even providing the inspiration for the more recent Finding Neverland starring Johnny Depp.

All this action is under the direction of Italian Guiseppe Arena, a former member and teacher of La Scala Ballet Company in Milan, often regarded today as one of the most innovative ice choreographers throughout the world. In 2004 Giuseppe was rewarded by the Italian government for his contributions to dance and was bestowed with the Italian equivalent of knighthood and the title of ‘Cavaliere’. In 2006 he was responsible for the choreography of the opening ceremony of Turin’s 2006 Winter Olympic Games. The music of the show has been composed by Maestro Silvio Amato. Who can say no to a little make believe brought to life by real talent?

Peter Pan on Ice > The magical classic children’s tale brought to life by the Russian Ice Stars. March 30 and 31. Eleftheria Basketball Stadium, Makedonitissa, Nicosia. €25 adults/€12 children. March 30, 8pm. March 31, 5pm and 8pm. For information call 22 818212.

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Olympic Flame Ceremony Rehearsal in Ancient Olympia March 23, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Olympic Games.
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The final rehearsal for the Olympic Flame Lighting ritual of the Beijing Games was held today in Olympia, the Greek city where the Ancient Olympics were born in 776 BC.

23-03-08_rehearsal1.jpg  Hazy skies that persisted to the last minute prevented organisers from lighting the Games’ sacred flame through use of a polished mirror. A flame lit during a prior rehearsal yesterday was used instead.

23-03-08_rehearsal2.jpg  Actresses dressed as ancient Greek priestesses performed a choreographed ceremony which for the first time included six young boys acting out racing, wrestling, long jump, javelin and discus throw events from the ancient pentathlon.

23-03-08_rehearsal3.jpg  Head priestess Maria Nafpliotou then lit the Beijing Games torch carried by the first relay runner, Greek taekwondo athlete Alexandros Nikolaidis, a silver medallist in the Athens 2004 Games.  The official ceremony will be held tomorrow, Monday 24 March.

23-03-08_rehearsal4.jpg  In case of heavy rain at the scheduled time, there are contingencies for the ceremony to take place indoors at the site’s Archeological Museum. Only once have we had rain for the summer Olympics, in 1956 ahead of the Games in Melbourne. 

23-03-08_rehearsal5.jpg  Concern over protests in Olympia against the 57-year occupation of Tibet by China, and last week’s crackdown in the Himalayan province by Chinese forces, has also introduced unprecedented security to this year’s ceremony. Hotels in Olympia are opening their guest lists to police inspection, officers are patrolling the hills around the ancient stadium where the ritual is held and there are plans to prevent spectators from lining the relay route.

23-03-08_rehearsal6.jpg  Thousands of people are expected to attend tomorrow’s ceremony, including 2500 accredited journalists and dignitaries, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, Beijing Olympic organising committee chairman Liu Qi, and the President and Prime Minister of Greece. 

23-03-08_rehearsal7.jpg  A number of Chinese athletes are scheduled to run the early relay leg out of Olympia, including Chinese swimmer Luo Xuejuan, a gold medalist in the 2004 Olympics, who will be the second relay runner.

23-03-08_rehearsal8.jpg  The flame will be handed over to the Chinese Olympic Committee on March 30 in another ceremony at the all-marble Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.

New theater places emphasis on technology March 23, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Arts Events Greece, Arts Museums, Stage & Theater.
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23-03-08_theatron1.jpg  The Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Center welcomes the Theatron [Theater]

23-03-08_theatron2.jpg  A digital view of the venue’s main hall, the Antigone, which can be transformed in 12 different ways so as to cater to all kinds of performances as well as conferences.

As of yesterday, the Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Center on Pireos Street can boast a new acquisition. The brand new theater, called the Theatron, makes its debut with a show commemorating the venue’s 10th anniversary, directed by Yiannis Kakleas. Fully equipped with the latest technology, the Theatron promises to become yet another cultural landmark on this fast-developing part of Pireos Street.

23-03-08_ime1.jpg  It comes just a year after the opening of the Tholos, the Hellenic Cosmos’s striking virtual-reality theater.

A guided tour of the theater on Tuesday revealed a highly efficient building with a high degree of functional diversity. Seating that can be re-arranged in various ways, excellent acoustics and sound-proofing and a stage with multiple possibilities are just some of the theater’s many features. “The sound-proofing is so good that theoretically we could have a rock concert downstairs and a poetry reading upstairs,” joked Dimitris Efraimoglou, Managing Director of the Foundation of the Hellenic World, the institution that has founded the Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Center, at the press conference.

23-03-08_theatron3.jpg  The three-level theater has two halls: the main one, Antigone, can be transformed in 12 different ways and can host anything from a theater performance to a large conference. The second, Iphigenia, can be used independently but can also open onto the main hall. Additional features include three foyers that can host exhibitions and other performances, rooms for rehearsals and a garage that will eventually have a 1000-car capacity. “We want to offer a hospitable venue to actors and dancers,” said Efraimoglou. He explained that the theater’s emphasis is on technology and one of the aims is to enable artists to combine live action with digital technology.

According to Thrasyvoulos Giatsios, program director of Hellenic Cosmos, the venue will focus mostly on contemporary spectacles and young artists without, however, excluding more classic-themed repertoires. “With the exception of our first performance, we will not host our own productions. We are interested in working with institutions that bring ensembles from abroad,” he said. Theater and dance shows as well as concerts by local and foreign artists will find a home at the Theatron. Giatsios did not rule out the possibility of booking the theater for an entire season for just one production, although there is a preference for ensembles giving a limited number of shows.

23-03-08_ime2.jpg  The program has yet to be announced, but there will be collaborations with the Attiki Cultural Society, the company that has brought actors such as Charlotte Rampling, Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant to Athens, a concert organized by the Athens College Alumni and a tribute to the work of lyricist Lina Nikolakopoulou.

“The Theatron is ideal for directors who love technology. You can experiment with mixed media on body movement, music and vocals without losing the warm atmosphere of traditional theaters” said director Yiannis Kakleas. “Personally, I love multimedia productions. So many possibilities open up when live action co-exists with different kinds of sets thanks to virtual reality. Within the context of theater or dance you can create a visually beautiful show. Most theaters don’t have the structure for that. But this one does.”

The opening performance, which bears Kakleas’s signature, is a tribute to the past, present and future of the Foundation of the Hellenic World featuring live music by Haris Alexiou, among other things. It premiered yesterday and will be staged again tonight.

Related Links > http://www.ime.gr

Olympic Torch to be lit by sun rays tomorrow March 23, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Olympic Games.
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The Olympic Flame torch will be lit by the sun’s rays in Ancient Olympia, tomorrow March 24, in Ancient Olympia, to be held 12 o’clock at noon Greek time.

“We will continue with the traditional way to kindle the flame as it symbolizes the purity of the Olympic flame” Li Ping, spokeswoman for Beijing Olympic Torch Relay Center, said. “The flame is lit using a concave mirror to focus the rays of the sun, and a back-up fire will be prepared the same way during the rehearsal phase in case of cloudy weather on March 24” she added.

23-03-08_olympic_flame_lighting_ceremony.jpg  Greece is in its full wings for the Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony. According to Greek mythology the Sun God Apollo originally lit the Olympic flame to bring brightness and warmth to human beings. The flame will be handed over to Beijing at 3 pm on March 30 at the Panathenian Stadium in Athens, the city where the first modern Olympics Games were held in 1896.

23-03-08_artemis_ignatiou.jpg  Artemis Ignatiou, the choreographer of the Flame-lighting Ceremony. The Olympic flame ritual for this year’s Beijing Games torch relay will introduce new elements such as male dancers, live music and a tableau recreating the frieze displays of ancient Greek temples, Ignatiou said.

After a reception in Beijing on March 31, the Olympic Flame will begin its global tour of 135 cities around the world on April 1. The relay will cover 137,000 km in 130 days before the flame finally arrives at the National Stadium in Beijing on August 8, for the opening ceremony.

The highlight of the torch relay, involving a total of 21,780 torchbearers, will be an attempt to take the Olympic flame to the summit of Mount Qomolangma, known as Mt Everest in the West, in May. Li said the list of some 19,400 torchbearers and the roadmap for the torch relay over 700 cities in China would be made public soon.

On the occasion of Greece’s National Day on March 25 March 23, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology, Greece News, Greek Diaspora, Special Features.
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Message of Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, Theodoros P. Kassimis, to all Greeks residing abroad >

Dear Compatriots,

It is with great pleasure and emotion that I am communicating with you on this historical day [25 March 1821] of National rebirth that brings to our minds so many memories and which is full of meaningful messages to Greeks, all over the world.

187 years ago, our ancestors, deprived of any substantial material means and falling short in number, motivated by the dream of a free homeland, fought against not only a powerful enemy but also against the prevailing status quo, which was dominant in Europe of the 19th century. It was an unequal fight, and seemingly destined to fail; however they won. They won because they believed in what nobody could even conceive, sacrificing their lives in the battlegrounds, unwilling to compromise themselves with the idea of defeat, which would have resulted in the loss of the dream of freedom. They won giving to us a free Greece, which with many efforts, sacrifices and hard work has earned the respect and the appreciation of its partners amongst the Nations.

187 years after, the challenges that our country is facing are different but not less important, consisting in the preservation of its territorial integrity, the protection of its cultural legacy and the defense of its rights. The battles are fought on a daily basis, not on battlegrounds, but in various fora, and as Greeks we are expected to prove that we are worthy of the legacy that our ancestors left us. We should never forget that what they achieved was the result of unity and resolve in the final cause. Let us then proceed as of this day, guided by the very same elements, proving once more to the rest of the world that the greatness of nations is not computed and measured by digits, numbers and material means, but by the heart, the courage and the grit shown whenever circumstances are challenging and demanding. We owe this to our ancestors, and furthermore to our children and ourselves.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all health and prosperity, and I avail myself of this opportunity to extend to you my warmest patriotic greetings.

Theodoros P. Kassimis.

Sparta Journal > Discovering Ancient Spartan and Greek History March 23, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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Sparta Volume 3 No 2. Discovering Ancient Spartan and Greek History > The second issue of the Sparta Journal, magazine’s third volume, continues to be a unique journey to ancient Spartan history.

Markoulakis Publications have produced the second issue of the third volume (volume 3 no. 2) of the printed and online educational periodical entitled Sparta. The periodical is accessible for review purposes for all visitors to the following website > www.sparta.markoulakispublications.org.uk.

Read about the decision-making of Sparta and answer the question: what was the theory that propelled Sparta into war? Read the answer written by Nikolaos Markoulakis.

Did the Kings of Persia seek to win hearts and minds as they extended their empire? Cyrus, in 546BC, defeated Croesus, King of Lydia, and swiftly overran the Greek cities of Ionia. Four years of bitter fighting ensued (498-494 B.C.) before King Darius was finally
victorious. Travelling with Xerxes on his march to Greece was ex-king Demaratus of Sparta. Should that king be Leotychides, or the much more respected Leonidas? Was there any hope of stopping Xerxes? Read the answers written by Robert Montgomerie.

In the Odyssey, Telemachus, searching for news of his father’s return from the Trojan war, visits King Menelaus and Queen Helen at Sparta. Explore the King Menelaus’ palace complex with the assistance of Robert Montgomerie.

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as “Doric Philosophy”. The Doric Greeks of Crete and Laconia did practice philosophy and may be the founders of Greek philosophy. First, this article is about doing forensics; rediscovering Doric philosophy. It is about restoring some things that have been lost or obscured. Second, this is a “general overview” article. This article doesn’t go into detail but covers rapidly many points and ties them together into a coherent whole. This article is about generating interest and further research and speculation. By W. Lindsay Wheeler.

Focusing on an unusual 6th century monument discovered in Sparta, this article seeks to identify the two couples depicted on its broad sides and the function of the standing snakes on its flanks. The aim of the article is not only to resurrect discussion of this highly unusual monument after a period of neglect, but to bring to the readers’ attention, with both text and images, some aspects of Spartan visual culture in the 6th century with which they may not be familiar. Written and illustrated by Jane E. A. Anderson.

The periodical is available for subscribers in both print and electronic versions. To view the subscription rates and prices, visitors should go to the Sparta website and follow the Subscribe & Order link. This will direct them to the subscribers’ choices and prices. The website electronic payments use Paypal.

Sparta (ISSN 1751-0007) is an incorporated title with the Journal of Laconian Studies (ISSN: 1749 5814) and the former Sparta’s Journal (ISSN 1747-0005). The free electronic version of Sparta’s Journal is available on the Sparta website under the Volume’s Archive link. The website also offers a great number of free monthly articles, news and announcements that focus on Spartan and ancient Greek history.

Sparta also introduced a series of supplements, which will cover concisely important issues of the ancient Spartan society by original academic research material -more information at > http://www.sparta.markoulakispublications.org.uk/?s=supplement

For further information > www.markoulakispublications.org.uk