Meeting in Athens 3 · Greek Laboratory key issues

In occasion of the EDN meeting in Athens that took place in November 2015, the local dancehouse, The Isadora & Raymond Duncan Dance Research Center, organized a series of events under the title Map of contemporary Dance in Greece.

The first event was the Greek Laboratory. It was 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.

Hereafter you can find the questions posed during the laboratory. They are followed by some intriguing issues discussed, in order to provoke further thinking and reflection.

Why we do not have academic dance studies (in Greece)?
To whom is this question addressed to? Is there a generational gap regarding the educational needs? How an educational system focused on training dancers can be compatible to the multimedia needs of the artists working in the 21st C?
ΚΕΥWORDS: Interest, intermedial, institutions

Is dance a professional occupation (in Greece) nowadays?
Is there something called culture in work, in negotiating our rights and in taking responsibility for the heritage we pass to future generations? Is the exclusive focus on artistic matters an obstacle for getting interested in the relationship between our work and the economies of the spectacle?
ΚΕΥWORDS: employment, structures, artistic acknowledgement

What are the advantages of ‘Greek dance’?
Despite the lack of cultural policy and the problematic dance education the scene has excellent dancers, but also a great number of amateurs involved in dance activities.
Without having strict hierarchical structures and an official national style there is space for artistic propositions.
We can take initiatives for redefining the criteria and conditions for dance in an open and substantial way.
ΚΕΥWORDS: Exchange, self-confidence, strategy

Is there a Greek dance scene and if yes does it have specific characteristics?
Who defines the scene? Is it auto-defined or hetero-defined? How can a scene be defined? On what criteria? Isn’t it the case that every time we use a definition something is left aside? There is always something that remains unidentified?
ΚΕΥWORDS: dramaturgy-research, clear artistic identity, peer exchange

What do you want to see/what is missing?
Generosity – I what to see the bodies to be more generous.
Intention – I want to see creators to articulate and share their intention – why they do what they do.
Risk – I what to see artists to take the risk of exposure.
Need – I want to see artists to feel the need for sharing.
ΚΕΥWORDS: Need, Dramaturgy/craft, personal

How can we exist between populism and elitism?
The dichotomy is not necessarily bad but it is important to go beyond it.
Those concepts exist on personal and on collective level. There is a kind of double mirroring in-between which a new space has to be defined.
The terms have economic, social, political and aesthetic ramifications.
ΚΕΥWORDS: artistic questions, intentions, economic, social, political and aesthetic dimensions

How can the works have a continuation in time? How can you built sustainability?
Activate the existent network of people and contacts.
Create a consistent event/ platform for presenting selected works.
Educate the artists on promotional strategies.
Share our personal networks and personal contacts.
What do you do to build an audience?  We just need to do something again and again. If it is good…the audience will come.
ΚΕΥWORDS: Event, people/network, artistic education

Except funding, what else can we ask from the State?
To provide spaces. We need space and time.
Connect dance production and presentation with the network of Municipal Regional Theatres.
Educate officials on how to find sponsorship, promote dance internationally and support the need of the artists.
ΚΕΥWORDS: Space-time, networking, generosity

Why we do not pose questions?
The lack of communication between institutions and artists leads to the abandonment of opening the dialogue in the first place.
What do we want from our own field?
What is the role of education? A culture of dialogue can be supported and flourish by a cultivated audience and by a self-reflective artist.
ΚΕΥWORDS: non-linguistic nature of dance, expression as an esoteric matter, self-closure of the field

How the personal can become collective or how the individual effort can become structural reform?
Discern and map the situation.
Personal need has to correspond with a collective lack.
Sustainable does not mean rigid. An open, flexible form can be an alternative method, a technology.
The question is which schemes can be flexible and functional?
ΚΕΥWORDS: Open scheme, re-definition, common needs

Is there solidarity among the dance people in Greece?
Break the fear of compromising personal interests.
Open to the people outside Athens.
Stop wasting time and energy to adversities.
Develop the culture of collaboration and communality through education.
ΚΕΥWORDS: Confidence, collaboration, education