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Dance seedlings flower on stage March 27, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Ballet Dance Opera.
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27-03-08_ndt.jpg  Dance magic. Jiri Kylian’s “Toss of a Dice”. Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon’s “Silent Screen”. The Nederlands Danse Theater at the Athens Concert Hall for performances on 27, 28, 29 and 30 March at 21:oo hours.

A dozen dancers gaze into space while their bodies stand motionless like Japanese symbols on stage. Susumu Shingu’s striking sculpture is suspended from the roof, conveying the feeling that we are facing the dancers of the future. That is choreographer Jiri Kylian’s «Toss of a Dice», but he has more surprises in store. The famous Nederlands Danse Theater is set to present a highly interesting program at the Athens Concert Hall until Sunday, starting tonight. The Dutch company, one of the world’s most acclaimed and popular dance ensembles, will perform choreographies by Kylian as well as by his younger colleagues Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon.

The Nederlands Danse Theater, especially its main section, NDT I, has visited Athens in the past. This week, local audiences will be able to enjoy its new face, meaning its new generation of dancers.

The program features two choreographies, one by Lightfoot and Leon and another by Kylian. Both premiered in the Hague in April 2005. Earlier in the season they had been forced to cancel a big tour in the Far East. To have an unpredictable, mid-season change is a nightmare for any artistic director; but on the other hand it can provide opportunities. So they decided to give their main choreographers an extended period of time, which in turn led to the program that it will be staged in Athens.

Lightfoot and Leon’s «Silent Screen» is inspired by silent cinema. Although there is no specific plot, the choreography is like a narrative. The music is by Philip Glass. As for Jiri Kylian, his work in general is inspired by Japanese culture. «Toss of a Dice» is no exception – here Kylian worked with Japanese artist Susumu Shingu, whose sculpture features prominently on the sets and has a direct influence on the stage and the dancers’ relationship with it.

Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali Street and Vasilissis Sophias Avenue, Athens.

A common view for visual arts at the theater March 18, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Stage & Theater.
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The second part of “Common View” a project that aims to bring the visual arts into dialogue with theater, opened yesterday at the New Stage of the National Theater.

Curated by Ghislaine Dantan and Eleni Koukou and initiated by Yiannis Houvardas, director of the National Theater, the project invites visual artists to make works that address issues related to performance. The works have been placed in the foyer of the theater, the first part took place in the vestibule of the Rex Theater, part of the project’s challenge is to make contemporary art relevant to both a visual arts public and adherents of theater.

18-03-08_dimitra_vamiali.jpg  Installation view by artist Dimitra Vamiali

The newly inaugurated second part includes an installation by Dimitra Vamiali and a performance by Giorgos Sapountzis. Vamiali, who will also participate in the upcoming third and final part of Common View at the end of the month, has taken excerpts from the scripts of the plays performed this season by the National Theater and presented them in the form of panels that resemble old-fashioned commercial signage.

Giorgos Sapountzis, who has made several public performances aimed at sensitizing us to urban sites, will be showing a three-hour, audience-interactive performance scheduled for Friday night at the Pedion tou Areos. His performance makes reference to Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” which opens at the Kappa Theater on the same day. For participation, the general public should contact > commonview@n-t.gr.

Dimitra Vamiali’s installation is being shown at the National Theater’s New Stage, 41 Evmolpidon Street, Gazi, Athens. The installation is open during the theater’s hours of operation. Videos documenting four different performances by Giorgos Sapountzis are also presented alongside.

Related Links > www.n-t.gr

Athens pulling on its dancing shoes March 10, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Ballet Dance Opera, Stage & Theater.
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The Griffon Dance Company is staging “One Flesh”, choreographed by Ioanna Portolou, at the company’s studio in Plaka every weekend until the end of March.

With spring almost upon us, the Athens dance scene is slowly emerging from hibernation. It won’t be long before the well-established dance festival by the Association of Greek Choreographers takes place once more. Major foreign dance companies including the Nederlands Dans Theater and Diversions of Wales, are expected to perform toward the end of the month. Yet right now the spring’s first shows are being held by two local dance companies.

Well-known choreographer Ioanna Portolou and her Griffon Company have this time chosen their studio in Syntagma Square to stage their latest production. Portolou never ceases to amaze the audience with movement inspired by gestures and reflections of daily life as well as special musical choices and interesting clothes. “One Flesh” staged every weekend until the end of March, was inspired by the wedding ritual and explores the concept of that union of lovers. How can two people become one peacefully? To become one, must the other person exist or must they be made to disappear? What is the “male” role and what the “female”? In that role-playing game, what belongs to which parter? All these questions are explored in the performance.

Equally interesting questions and suggestions are sought by the newly founded Angeloskoni Dance Company, which will stage Angeliki Papadatou’s “Fotosoma” from March 15 to 18 at the Ledra Theater in Plaka. The production is a joint collaboration by the Athens School of Fine Arts Photography Workshop and Very Special Arts Hellas. Photographers and dancers, some with disabilities, meet on stage and try to find their own identities using the visual and aesthetic perception of their bodies as the starting point.

What is our true image? How do we perceive ourselves? How do others see us? These are definitely ideas well worth exploring.

Griffon Dance Company, 23 Apollonos Street, Syntagma Square, Athens, tel 6932436034.

Ledra Theater, 12 Kekropos Street, Plaka, Athens, tel 210 3245969.

The Pilobolus > Bodies that are flexible October 30, 2007

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Act that defies limits, gravity > The Pilobolus dance troupe will give a series of performances at the Badminton Theater until Friday

Founded in 1971, the company, considered to be one of the greatest American dance companies today, has toured extensively around the world. Its two Athens performances in 2003 were much discussed and took place in front of a tightly packed Herod Atticus Theater.

Bodies that are so flexible they seem to be able to take on any shape, in a never-ending battle against gravity and the limits of the human body, are about to make their appearance in Athens. The world-renowned Pilobolus Dance Theater, a highly unusual dance company, will embark on a series of shows at the Badminton Theater, starting tonight and running to Friday.

The group is named after Pilobolus crystallinus, a tiny fungus that loves the sun and has a unique way of reproducing. The company, founded in 1971 at Dartmouth College, may rank as one of the greatest American dance companies today, but it still functions as a collective. Pilobolus is a tightly knit ensemble, with a general director, three artistic directors and seven dancers, all of whom work together for the production of new material.

The company is based in Connecticut but performs live as well as on television all over the world. Since 1973, it has been performing every year at the American Dance Festival. It has given shows on Broadway and at New York’s Joyce Theater, as well as London’s Sadler’s Wells, Rome’s Teatro Olimpico, Paris’s Theatre de la Ville and Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens. The ensemble has toured extensively in South America, Asia and Europe.

Pilobolus’s reputation spread even further when it performed at the 79th Academy Award Ceremony in Los Angeles last February and then Oprah Winfrey screened its choreographies in a special tribute on her television show.

The ensemble’s latest productions of the past few years, some of which it will perform at the Badminton Theater, include the choreographies “Memento Mori,” “Prism” and “B’yzrk.”

The Badminton Theater, Goudi Military Park, Athens, tel 211 1086024. Tickets can be purchased at the theater box office, open daily between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., at Virgin Megastores, over the phone on 210 8840600 and online at www.ticketnet.gr

Contrasting worlds of two dance masters united October 30, 2007

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Sylvie Guillem and Akram Khan perform their culture-bridging ‘Sacred Monsters’ at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall this week.

Their class shone through when they performed in Greece last summer at the Herod Atticus in Athens. Now Sylvie Guillem and Akram Khan are returning to the country for their first ever performances in Thessaloniki at the northern city’s Concert Hall this Wednesday and Thursday. Their project, “Sacred Monsters” bridges dance styles from East and West.

“I’m a classical dancer and have been trained for this, but I can’t say that what I support,  my religion, is one style, one technique, one tradition,” says Guillem, the acclaimed French ballet dancer who has performed with the Paris Opera Ballet and is currently a guest principal dancer with the Royal Ballet in London. “What I can say is that the place I dance in, guided by any technique, is a sacred place for me. The stage is a monster. My sacred monster,” continued Guillem, who set herself free for her collaboration with Khan after the 33-year-old British choreographer of Bangladeshi descent came up with a novel and impressive proposal.

In the words of Khan, a master of Kathak, the classical dance style of northern India, the duo, through this project, get to display their “common but also personal experiences from the field of classical dance. ‘Sacred Monsters’ is a meditative work on the journey from classical world to contemporary world… the body has the ability to absorb the transition from one world to the other… that’s when it finds ways to combine the contrasts.”

Thessaloniki Concert Hall, 25th Martiou Street, Thessaloniki. For ticket information and bookings, call 2310 895938 or 2310 895939.

Dance Platform in Athens October 10, 2007

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Young choreographers from all over the Balkans will present their work at the Athens Concert Hall

Works by young Balkan choreographers are about to jump to the stage of the Athens Concert Hall. The Fourth Balkan Dance Platform, which takes place in Greece this year, kicks off tomorrow and runs to Saturday. The dance performances, the seminars and the discussions will be held at the Megaron’s Dimitris Mitropoulos and Nikos Skalkottas halls.

The three previous platforms, which took place in Sofia in 2001, in Bucharest in 2003 and in Skopje in 2005, left audiences with a happy feeling and the impression that something special was in the works. The BDP is the only nomadic contemporary dance event that presents works by young and up-and-coming artists from the Balkans. It features an international team in charge of the organization and selection of the works.

Participating artists work hard, focusing on the promotion of the region’s multicultural character, the need for dialogue and communication and a goal of international collaborations. The platform aims to promote the work of these artists by introducing to the international dance scene an area where dance is still at its very early stages. It hopes to provide them with opportunities that will transcend the prevailing political tendencies and beliefs.

Greece first participated in the platform in Bucharest in 2003. “It was the first time we were going to meet our Balkan colleagues and we felt a bit ill at ease. We came across something unexpected, performances of great quality. That gave us the strength to go on,” said Christina Polychroniadou, in charge of the organization of the Athens platform, in a recent press interview.

“Modern dance in the Balkans is still in its early development, so everything is at the beginning. Many of the countries don’t even have a tradition of contemporary dance, which means that those interested in getting involved have to either wait for a teacher to conduct seminars in their country or to travel to some European country to attend courses.”

Polychroniadou spoke about dance in the Balkans and its current development. “In that respect, Greece is privileged in terms of education, structure, funding and production. Balkan choreographers carry the signature of the style of the school or the teachers they have worked with abroad. In some we can spot British academia, while in others the influence of German dance theater. The work of the artists we will see at the platform is definitely authentic. The choreographers have their own style and their work promises future development.”

“I am very happy to present my work in Athens, especially in a pan-Balkan meeting that enables artists to place their work in a wider context,” said Jelka Milic, a young Slovenian choreographer who studied at Austria’s Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance. She will present her 20-minute choreography “Folding” featuring music by Patsy Cline, Chris Isaac and Serge Gainsbourg.

“My work is inspired by social theories, psychology and the deconstruction of human thoughts and relationships. I am just curious as to what guides our basic behavior. Above all, I am inspired by my dancers, their inner world and their views. All those participating in ‘Folding’ are unique and have a deeper understanding of human nature.”

One of the highlights of the platform is “Monday in the Sun” by Turkey’s Bedirhan Dehmen and Safak Uysal. The choreography, which unfolds on a set reminiscent of boats traveling the Bosporus, is a male duet with a background of images from Istanbul’s coastline.

Greek highlights include newcomer Patricia Apergi’s striking solo “Anorexia Socialis” Evangelos Poulina’s interactive spectacle “Verge” and Tassos Karachalios and Georgia Vardarou’s duet “Serenity Square”.

“My Private Biopolitics” a solo by Serbian Sasa Asentic, is a comic commentary on the rules that define contemporary dance today. Another eagerly awaited work is “Imago” by Violeta Vitanova and Stanislav Genadiev from Bulgaria, a technically powerful choreography, unusual for Bulgarian artists, who have been more geared toward performance art.

Related Links > www.megaron.gr