Meeting in Athens 1 · Map of contemporary dance in Greece · By Penelope Iliaskou

In November 2015 Athens and The Isadora and Raymond Duncan Dance Research Center (DDRC) would be for the first time the host and meeting point of the artistic directors and curators of EDN.

Hosting, “xenia” in ancient Greek, implies generosity, sincerity and reciprocal relationship between guest and host. For us working in DDRC, this meeting was an exciting opportunity for presenting our city, our dance community and its work.

I felt that any attempt of conceiving a form of platform or mini festival would be a fake offer to our guests in regard with the actual situation in Greece.

So, together with a group of artists and thinkers from our community, we conceived a plan of events that, far from focusing on “products”, would mainly reveal procedures and dynamics, detecting, recognizing and depicting the end of an era and the need of researching new materials, new ways of performativity, collaborations and presentation.

This “Map” has been drawn as a series of events of a fragmentary and discontinuous nature which characterizes our artistic community but our city and our country as well, its architecture and its current social and political reality. At the same time, it raised a number of questions regarding the present and the future of dance and highlighted the issues of relevance for dance.

  • What are our main concerns and how we can meet challenges together?
  • How do choreographers present themselves through media other than their dancework or presence?
  • What happens when artists take initiatives and differentiate themselves from conventional structures and mentalities?
  • How the current social and political situation has affected Greek choreographers and how do they respond when asked to comment on it?

In chronological order, this “Map” was composed by:

Event#1. Greek Laboratory

An open invitation to the dance community to convene in order to focus, articulate and discuss vital and urgent issues regarding the place, the essence, the present and the continuation of contemporary dance.

Click here for more information about the questions and the issues discussed

Event#2. In situ dance installation. By visual artist Vassilis Gerodimos

The installation highlighted multiple artistic “signatures” and raised the challenge of stillness in a pre-eminently kinetic art. It also reflected the constraints and deficiencies affecting Greek creators during the last five years (financial support, time for research and experimentation, venues for the production or presentation of their work). At the same time it underlined the necessity of redefining the means of contemporary dance, while allowing for unexpected affinities and proximities.

Click here to know more about this installation

Event#3. Silent itineraries. Curated by choreographer Patricia Apergi

Starting from Omonia Square, choreographer Patricia Apergi and her company Aerites (Elias Hatzigeorgiou, Ioanna Paraskevopoulou, Hara Kotsali, Dimokritos Sifakis, Anny Doumouzi) took us for a walk through Athens that allowed us to get acquainted with each other and with the city. Dancers and choreographers presented excerpts of works inspired by the urban landscape.

Artists presented: Nadi Gogoulou, Myrto Delimichali, Irene Papanikolau, November (Christos Kaoukis, Marion Renard), Katerina Foti, Marianna Varviani, Maria Koliopoulou.

Event#4. Horizons. Curated by Steriani Tsintziloni and Betina Panagiotara

Hosted artists who presented their own initiatives and practices that seek to reposition dance in relation to education, training, artistic production and presentation, the means of articulating the dance discourse and the sociopolitical reality.

10-min presentations (in English) by Gigi Argyropoulou, Paulina Kremasta, Michael Klien and Mariela Nestora, followed by a discussion.

Click here to know more about Horizons

Event#5. Placements

A video screening that presents choreographers whose work is in discourse with the socio-political condition of the last years. How this situation has affected their thinking and work, their thematic content and their collaborations? Have they delved into areas that they wouldn’t have visited otherwise?

Artists presented: Tzeni Argyriou, Ermira Goro, Maria Gorgia, Zoi Dimitriou, Lenio Kaklea, Giota Kallimani, Iris Karayan, Euripides Laskaridis, Medie Mega, Mariela Nestora, Dimitris Papaioannou, Ioanna Portolou, Kostas Tsioukas.

Event#6. Invisible Cities, “Reception”: performance. By Alexandros Mistriotis

A 2-hour “walking essay” in the historic center, aiming to involve us in the understanding of the multiple layers of a city, Athens.

Think tank: Tzeni Argyriou, Penelope Iliaskou, Euripides Laskaridis, Alexandros Mistriotis, Mariela Nestora, Betina Panagiotara , Steriani Tsintziloni.
Consulting team for “Placements” project: Clementine Vounelaki, Christiana Galanopoulou.
Dance installation: Vassilis Gerodimos
Light installation: Miltos Athanasiou
Video-Photos: Vassilis Xenias

Penelope Iliaskou
Director DDRC Athens
22 January 2016