Between solo and group works

ANY ONE– photo: Dionysis Tsousis

What has changed, what are the developments in your work, since the last interview?

 Our last interview was at the end of 2015. Since then, one could say that social, personal, professional, global things (and miracles) have happened, so separating the professional from the rest feels strange to me. Nevertheless, I will attempt it. It took me quite some time after “Me On Top” to make a dance again. It felt like I had to somehow create the right conditions so that I will be finding my “voice” again. So, in the summer of 2016, I booked myself in a dance studio at Rafina with no specific aim and found myself revisiting the book Monogram by the poet Odysseas Elytis, for one more time. I started word by word to make this book into movement, in my own way and interpretation. This evolved into an informal micro-movement solo which was performed at the MIR Festival that December as part of the Swiss project “The art of a culture of hope”. With this as a starting point, I applied to the Athens Concert Hall program which had just started offering rehearsal spaces free of charge to artists. By Easter 2017, the dance project “ANY ONE” had taken shape in my mind and body. With the contribution of the two fantastic collaborators Martha Pasakopoulou and Hara Kotsali, this production was finally funded by the Ministry of Culture. It premiered in spring 2018, performed by the two of them, Efthymis Moschopoulos and Alexis Tsiamoglou. This was my first collaboration with Bettina Panagiotara (dramaturgy), Elisa Alexandropoulou (lights), Christos Kalkanis (music) and Dionysis Tsoussis (visuals). In “ANY ONE” I taught a strict movement vocabulary to the performers, exploring how different personalities can become integrated into an ensemble; where each one can become a blank page. I was also questioning whether movement can be strictly impressed as a world with rules and relationships for the audience.

The following year I was pregnant with my daughter Leda and the only project and important step for me, was the creation of a solo in-progress, as part of the IPFF festival of Kinitiras residency. I chose the title “SHER” and did everything myself: research, creation, performance, lights, onstage, sound and costumes. It was a dive into the self, focusing on the transformations one undergoes over time and the little ‘deaths’ one experiences, big or small. A unifying process of past, present and future. I have always found the process of making a solo on oneself very difficult (and still do). Unfortunately, “SHER” did not evolve further into completion, yet its process opened doors and revealed to me different creative paths.

Two years later, having experienced a pregnancy, a birth, countless nursing sessions and late nights, discovering a new self and in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, I decided to revisit the studio and my new body. A new sensation emerged leading me to the latest concept I am busy with right now. I felt unfree inside this total freedom of being in a studio alone without a purpose. And this is when I started to wonder what freedom is. My new project ‘Perfect 10: Freedom needs daily watering, dear’ will be presented in spring 2022. It is an improvisational piece for 10 performers of different ages and backgrounds. The intention is to allow each one to articulate their own voice, their own dancing, within a safe framework of relationships, rules, freedoms and constraints. At the moment, I am in the process of research, a series of interviews of diverse people, who have experienced in some way repression, fear, unfreedom and then liberation. Understanding that this subject is bigger than me and with the help of the invaluable Bettina Panagiotara, I have come up with some questions in order to capture the universality of the term as well as the participants’ personal relationship with the concept of freedom. I look forward to the project development.

In the meantime, I created another solo in-progress “Thalia”, this time for the compelling dancer Anthi Theofilidou, as part of the Femininity In Transition residency in collaboration with Kinitiras and Mahol Shalem Dance Centre, Israel. It was a redemptive collaboration in time and in the midst of lockdown. Anthi and I entered new paths of creativity without fear and constructed a new persona for this work. I am looking forward to seeing whether it will be possible to develop Thalia further. Around the same time, Antigone Gyra created a solo for me which is also to be continued.


THALIA photo: Pavlos Mavridis


After a decade of successive crises (economic, social, environmental, health) what changes and developments do you notice have occurred in the contemporary dance scene in Greece and what do you think is missing? 

Really and with my hand on my heart, this is a very difficult question. Perhaps I notice that the gap between the smaller and bigger dance companies is expanding, just like in the socio-economical gap in our country. Perhaps I also notice a thirst for creating while at the same time a prevailing chill on behalf of the public. I certainly observe a tendency for new things, for new creative methods that involve the landscape, both urban and natural. I also notice more people start to dance as a means of exercise and expression with no interest in performing. I also notice that in our field of artists and dance workers, the creative processes of dance classes are evolving towards a performance product more and more. At the same time I notice the pain that is often associated with our art not only is it not diminishing but it becomes more and more accepted. All kinds of pain. And I wonder if the tolerance for pain has increased in the world or if it is just me growing to notice it. In any case, I think that in our dance scene, efforts are now being made to acquire our own language and to stop imitating foreign trends, when they do not concern us. I believe that the concept of politeness and kindness in our country has improved a lot. What is missing is connection, teamwork and collectivity, yet these are already much better than when I was student.


Artemis Lampiri


How might we imagine the landscape of dance in the next ten years?

Wow… but those are two very difficult questions. I think that this lack of dreaming that I feel now is also the lack of freedom that made me want to create my new piece  ‘Perfect 10’. I think that the lack of everyday physical contact that we are experiencing during the pandemic is producing a global trauma that I have no idea how we are going to recover from. I would like to imagine a future in which dance is everywhere. Αs a means of release, connection and creativity. I would like to imagine that there are places where all bodies and all ways of moving are accepted without criticism. I would like the dance community to grow and be able to embrace what is happening in society and find ways to translate it into art. And a Dance University we are all waiting for to happen. And theatres that are actually suitable for dance (rather than any space just hosting it) to happen. And a Greek dance scene that has come of age.