Dance and mental illness, on kinesthetic empathy

Could you briefly introduce yourselves?

I am a dancer also branching off to different directions, of what dance can offer to one’s personal life and pedagogy. Transmission is a word I like both as a pedagogue and a dancer on stage. Expression and creation is something you transmit as a choreographer, as a dancer and as a pedagogue. Dance became my profession although I didn’t expect this at first. When it did, it seemed strange to me that I was earning a living from dance.

I first started dancing when I was 18; dancing was subconsciously fulfilling a narcissistic need, a connection to my libido and subsequently questioning the relationship to myself. I was feeling that through dance I was becoming more beautiful, whilst I was feeling ugly. Dance helped me accept my body image; it helped me bond again with my own body which I was detached from, due to cultural and personal experiences. I was a typical insecure teenager. Dance offered to me strategies to cope with being in the ‘real’ world, to approach people and like other youngsters practice seduction games. On the way to dance, I went through narcissism-I guess as dancers we are partly the work of art, we become repeatedly ourselves our own “aesthetic product”. I started off with Jazz Dance (with Dinos Fanaras at the Judith Neil Dance studio), then I studied ballet (with Judith Neil and Jannis Margaronis) as my teachers insisted for it, but even then I was really looking for contemporary dance. In 1986, in Thessaloniki there was no contemporary dance, really. Back then, I had seen a show by the American Ballet theatre II (neoclassical, athletic and form oriented) but in it, there was a modern dance duet (man and woman) with an expressionistic attitude that really moved me. I thought to myself ‘this is what I want’, something with more of an apparent freedom of expression, since classical ballet seemed too structured and strict and jazz seemed too stylised to me. My first experience with contemporary dance (or rather modern dance) was in Berlin in 1987, where I studied Graham.


What do you want to question with your current project?

A little introduction first: As a choreographer I work on solos – continuing my personal self-analysis research – and also collectively as I did in the past with the xsoma dance collective, in Greece. In my xsoma creations I signed as ‘concept and artistic direction’ while ‘choreography’ was signed by all of us involved. Ideas coming from the dancers shape the narrative, so the works are rather collective compositions under a central direction. I also work on group pieces directed by myself as a choreographer, which are hybrids: a mixture of pedagogy and performance art. These are professional and amateur performances, pedagogical experimentations brought on stage. (I rarely do pedagogical projects without sharing the final result with an audience.)

The current project falls into the same category; it got funded for the 2nd time this year from the Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs (Centre – France). It is a pedagogical project in which amateurs, professionals, psychiatric hospital nurses, psychologists and 4- 5 persons with mental disorders are all involved. I now live in Tours- France. I went there, leaving the Tolada Dance company in Berlin, in order to follow my favourite choreographer Bernardo Montet. {He is a French representative of the nouvelle vague, of the 80’s. He is one of the 20 choreographers who changed the facts of contemporary dance in France back then. Catherine Diverrès and Bernardo Montet established the Studio DM dance company together, they co-directed the Centre Chorégraphique National de Rennes and later on they split up continuing independently their projects.}

My current project Newtopia, was a product of timing and coincidence. I feel lucky, I didn’t need to get too stressed in order to find the dance I wanted. I followed my desire and this took me where I had to be. My love for psychoanalysis brought me into expressivity adventures, even in extreme spaces such as in the mental hospital. That’s where Newtopia was born.

But first, I need to explain its historical background. My Somatics (or Kinesiology) studies – after Alexander and Feldenkrais – brought me progressively to the field of pedagogy of perception, a method developed by osteopath and physiotherapist Danis Bois. {A method that originated from Fascia therapy, which I also studied, and is an evolutionary branch of osteopathy that became autonomous in the 90’s}. I had also been interested in psychoanalysis and psychology, since I was 12. (Even though I didn’t really understand everything I was reading from those complex subjects at that age,  I was already motivated  to keep reading more.} In 2005 my director Bernardo Montet decided to do a project with mentally ill people and invited me to join in. Initially we were a team of 3 people, but within 6 months he asked me to take over the direction and experiment as I wished. So I did and stayed with it, it’s been already 10 years. Working with them, I observed carefully their development, what was happening, realised when the patients were ready to be exposed to others and later on ready to stand the gaze of the audience. Today, some of them don’t need the psychologist or a nurse to accompany them, they become autonomous, some take the bus on their own, some no longer stay in the psychiatric ward, some just visit the hospital weekly. So we eventually started putting on stage the work we developed and that’s when I choreographed Zéro-virgule-quatre (2011), two years before initiating the Newtopia series.

In the meantime, I did a master’s degree on the pertinence of contemporary dance in the psychiatric context – it took me 3 years to finish and…increased my long sightedness! I did this in order to put my thoughts in order because I am the kind of person who is always creating and continuously has new ideas having hardly time enough to develop them (one step further and I would be considered psychotic!). That is my artistic side, the dancer’s posture: improvising infinite possibilities. The dancer in me is constantly creating new material and so I actually need the choreographer in order to structure and build something. My natural inclination is to enter into an improvisation and ‘travel’ in it, to enter into chaos, to be open towards the new forms continuously, to remain within a flow where one thing brings the next one and so forth.

This is also the way I work with the group, I have a palette of ideas, I enter the space, I sense how they are, I feel how I am, I can sense when they are about to become violent or when it is ok to not play it safe. I allow myself the space for inspiration- after all I am not there to cure them, I am not a therapist, I come with the joy of the dance maker, with my current creative state. I speak to them, address them as dancers and we discuss what comes out of what we do. It is therapeutic, they feel the benefits, they attain a sense of value for themselves, and it becomes more significant when it develops into a performance. It matters. There is a kinesthetic exchange between us. What I feel they do, they also feel it is happening, they perceive it, become more aware, establishing a kind of kinesthetic intelligence. There is a moving affect which involves the whole body: empathy (both kinesthetic and intellectual). And this is the most important workshop- Movement empathy. The perceptive pedagogy (D.Bois) has developed a concept called réciprocité actuante (actualizing reciprocity) which is exactly that : a complex form of kinesthetic empathy.


Why? Did you choose this concept?

I was about to stop dancing just before I moved to France. I gave myself a deadline of a year- if I didn’t find something that moved me in contemporary dance I would stop dance altogether. I mean move me psychologically, intellectually and spiritually. My girlfriend had moved to France at the time, dancing with Bouvier-Obadia in the CNDC of Angers and that’s where she had seen Bernardo’s work in an artistic residency. She suggested to fly over and take his audition in Paris; it was springtime 1995. And so I did. Just experiencing Bernardo’s approach during the audition gave me enough appetite to carry on dancing. I had found what I was looking for! The audition felt like as generous as a seminar, for all 120 of us there. (He had already turned down 300 applicants just by considering their resume). This audition-workshop lasted 3 days. I was called back 2 months later for another 2 days of audition- by then it was only 20 of us and he would only take 8. I finally got the job and 2 years later Bernardo told me that he gave me the job mostly because he thought I was strongly motivated. He thought I was not really ready for that kind of work. He said that he could see that I was questioning dance (modern dance and dance theater) after my graduation from the North Carolina School of the Arts (USA, 1991). {Alwin Nikolais and Merce Cunningham influences} After the audition with Bernardo I told him that I had found what I was looking for in contemporary dance, and this is what he meant when he said I thought you had a strong motive. For me, his work was a kind of existential postmodern dance – not at all formalistic, in fact he was closer to Butoh and to physical theater. Bernardo would always say to us dancers – that he doesn’t want to see us doing/executing the choreography, but he wants to see WHO and WHY we are on stage.

By this point, I have grown to accept the fact that all of us in dance have to go through both phases: dancing and making choreography. I was discussing this recently and eventually the conversation arrived to non-dance and conceptual dance (which actually gets on my nerves because of the “absence of body”). Example: In 2001, I had a conflict with Jerôme Bel, during his press conference at Kalamata International Dance festival. I had seen his show and there was something which annoyed me in his famous “nom donné par l’auteur” (1994). There was a kind of intellectual arrogance in it, a general criticism against virtuosic choreography and dance. The main question was “What is a theater or dance performance?” But in my perspective, I found that his work was respectively similar to what he was criticizing. There was a kind of virtuosity in what he did, but in an intellectual way. Some of ‘us’ (the audience) seemed to understand his work, and so I thought I did too, but for me criticism is the work of critics and it felt to me that Jerome Bel’ s work was confined to a critical positioning against choreography itself. Apart from that critique, he did not offer anything else, didn’t go any further to redefine dance but rather tempted to redefine the concept of theater. But, it is not enough to read Foucault and be critical to make a dance; it could be performance art but not dance, because the body is absent. Butoh dancers did it before him and they managed to question dance globally without quitting the body. In his piece you could almost see two brains on stage; two disincarnated actors. In my opinion this work shouldn’t last more than 15 minutes, we get the point very fast; all this time on stage was unnecessary (for Bel it was necessary performance duration). My main interest is what is being transmitted while onstage. And for this work, the concept was clear both in the actual piece and in the text of the program, but there was no kinesthetic relationship with the spectator in this work. The performers were isolated, detached from the audience, in some kind of autism. Another approach of body-as-object rather than body-as-sensitive subject. You can see on his website an interview about this piece, with proof that he’s after a theater of objects and not one where revolutionary states of dance are being explored or invented. He materialized the narcissism of dance once again but in an intellectual form. For me this piece could work as installation art, in and out of the theater; the audience having the freedom to see as much as they want and to leave when they want. I said publicly to Jerome Bel that I was so utterly bored while watching it, that it had made me want to lie down on stage, (downstage between the performers and the public) and…act as if I’m sleeping (which I never did out of respect to the spectators). Thus, intending to ‘participate’ according to his program text which included a definition of performance as something performed in front of an audience, inviting/encouraging different reactions from the spectators. When I mentioned boredom and lying down on stage as my reaction to his work, he responded by raising his voice and being counteroffensive. He finally didn’t let me explain my point. I considered this contradictory to his concept: provoke reactions from the spectators. By the way, critics love him: Finally, something intellectual where we can show-off our understanding of philosophy…I don’t appreciate critics that have no direct experience of dance in their being-bodies. For me the most pertinent critics are other choreographers. I often have this conversation on non-dance or conceptual art. We are cut off from Renaissance, we confirm and sustain the ‘problem’: the mind/body dichotomy. We are focusing on mind-intellect again without an organic anchoring to the body. In our time we should be making integral dance and dance training should include Butoh, African dance and conceptual dance. We need to reunite body and mind. We lose the body, it is disappearing and we fall back onto the mind hegemony again, we should try to keep the intellect and bring back the body.

In France, there seems to be a call for change within the contemporary dance scene. I’ve heard the term Dance d’aujourd’hui and it might be coming from an effort to challenge the status quo of the established network of “Contemporary Dance”. Bernardo Montet is for me an example of an artist integrating intellectual and bodily avant-garde research. I’ve noticed that Butoh has become popular now in many networks. When it first appeared it was a political act, there was a reason for its appearance – why and where it developed. I am not sure I really understand what it means for a dancer from France to do Butoh today. I understand being inspired of it and integrating it, but just reproducing its aesthetic is suspicious for identity issues, in my opinion.

Contemporary dance should be integrating but also transcending stylisations of any kind and be open to kinesthetic multi-referentiality. Likewise, the training of dance should really open up into many different techniques. On an historical perspective, we are going through a period in which we re-adopt and re-apply older values. I believe we should also incorporate traditional dances, in dance education. As artists we should incorporate, integrate and upgrade techniques and values. It is our job to question and develop whatever we re-adopt, in direct contrast to nationalists who just embrace and re-apply some old value/idea today, as it was. The artist is the one that has the responsibility to keep progress alive. Without order nothing can exist, without chaos nothing can evolve (Quote from unknown source). We artists are closer to chaos; in a way we are the guardians of chaos in a social context.



Do you want this question to become the audience’s question?

When the artist starts overcoming narcissism, she/he might sense a need for something to be aesthetically pleasing, a need for one to find their idea beautiful and this beauty is what she/he wants to transmit or communicate with audience, colleagues, students et al. We share the idea-ideal, the beautiful, the good, the true, we have the need to see it happen, to make it happen- as if we are looking for allies in the audience. There is also the temptation to practice didactic art…


Do you think audiences are looking for a message?

Audiences are different, it really depends on the audience: the cultural background, etc.; whether they have come for entertainment, or with a more complex pursuit. Spectators come with different desires: ‘make me forget with a rhythmical and glaring metamorphosis of the world’ or ‘a desire not to forget but to remember’. I rarely choose entertainment as a spectator. Entertainment is like a drug, you forget, inhibitions are gone, there is a direct impact in one’s expression; where there is entertainment there are fragments of recreation. {note: in Greek there are two words for entertainment one carries the notion of distraction and amusement in one’s free time, the other carries the notion of engaging in recreational activities that develop the person culturally} You can choose recreation in order to remember/ to keep on searching, and entertainment in order to enjoy and laugh. Some artists are not interested in the difference, after all entertainment involves aesthetic pleasure too. Maybe it is about a fine mix between the two so that neither wins the other over.


Are you interested in the individual?

In New York, I saw many shows both live and on video, both dance theater and abstract postmodern dance. Although I appreciated the historical revolution of Merce Cunningham, the waves of novelty that he provoked, I could not stand his insistence on the neoclassical “vocabulary” and the absence of individual expressivity. I followed the work of Pina Bausch and Bouvier Obadia from a distance; mostly on videos. It felt like European dance was more about the psychological/spiritual dimensions and that the American dance was more about form and athletic performance at the time. I had really missed that European approach rooted in the individual and this is why I returned to Europe, in order to find this spirit, to work with the singularity of the performer, to work based on who the other person is.


Do you have a specific method?

Yes, this is why I decided to do a Master’s degree, in order to clarify my methods and not rely on intuition alone. I used an intuitive and adaptable model, I had the experience of working with different groups: from homeless Madagascar children, professional dancers, housewives from the suburbs, primary school children, mental hospital patients, old people in homes…. {In a retirement home we shot a video-dance; there was a 94-year-old lady on a wheel chair working together with children, we were all very moved.} As I said before my favourite dramaturgical forms are dance-theater, physical theater and interdisciplinary performance art. I apply compositional approaches with a social aspect (inclusive / integrated dance) that resonate with the devised theater method, the fluxus movement (Maciunas, Cage, etc.), and various improvisational strategies that promote authenticity. There is fluidity in my approaches. You adapt according to the people you are working with, with an immediate reciprocity continuously updated (réciprocité actuante in French)- a kind of kinesthetic empathy. I think in theater they call it discovery blocking (An approach to actors’ movements that allows a spontaneous organicity resulting from authentic situations during rehearsals.)


Are you interested in text or sound in your work?

Mainly interested in texts, as for sound I use music ranging from electronic experimental to traditional music with primitive elements. In fact, contemporary abstract soundscapes are not considered music, by some. It is sound though, originating from matter captured and manipulated by artists. I often use them because they allow more freedom of expression from the dancers. Dancing to the music is boring to me intellectually and I use it only in very specific context. Cunningham was one of the first to “save us” from dependency on music. Physically I can enjoy dancing to the music: it’s like dancing with a partner and adapting to her/his movement.

Texts: I either write them myself or ask a performer to write them, or use something external to the process that resonates conceptually to what we are creating. For the work ‘fraises indigo’ (2014), we eventually incorporated a text that fitted perfectly the piece: an excerpt from a play by young director Claire Rengade, with a complex narrative and structure. This year we are working on texts by Aristophanes. {I used to be snobbish towards the idea of using ancient Greek theatre texts, but here I am doing this now, drawing inspiration from this distant cultural reference.} I sometimes ask the group to bring texts and use them in singing -crazy singing using the voice at the extremes. Like during the collaboration with a singer in Ecclesiazusae (the Assembly women) by Aristophanes. Although this particular text has common contexts with the current financial crisis, it was a choice made by chance (I had discovered the text on the web). Just before that, I had worked another piece with women only, a group that was chosen for its socioeconomic fragility (reinssertion socio-economique in French). That program was initiated by an organisation and B.Montet’s company and was inspired from “The Eumenides” by Aeschylus.


What does it mean to produce work?

Headache. I am a rather lazy dancer, I want to read and watch shows, visit museums and exhibitions. I mean lazy in the administrative and promotional process. I find it difficult to be a producer. I don’t really like it. I want to either be in the studio creating dance pieces or out of the studio researching (i.e. continuing with my personal investigations: calling it research sounds more cool…). The working social class I come from gave me the opportunity to read books, to travel to different countries and get involved in the arts. Production involves a lot of writing of projects, fund research, etc. and I could give up dance because of this part of the work. I remember that at the choreographic center of Tours there were 10 people working only in production. How can a small company deal with the mass of paperwork necessary for a dance production? Many, like myself, manage to do this, but at the cost of many administrative errors or limited time for actual dance research. I think the time is ripe for a redefinition of the production and subsidy complexity and many artists seem to be inventing new models or reviving older ones. The most essential for me at this point of my life, is to redefine spirituality in art, whether you can sell your work or not… Transcend the egocentric artist’s archetype (pretentious and know it all) and integrate a cosmocentric posture (being in service to and empathic to others).


Are you an artist?

According to what I have studied, I should be. Yet in my own definition, I am something between a pedagogue and an artist. I have been interested in teaching since I have been a child and I have a passion for pedagogy. The position I adopted is actually a mix between the pedagogue and the artist.


Are you a good artist?

The audience completes your work. Whether something is “good”, has to be decided by the ones watching and sharing the work.


Do you like your work?

I like it a lot, if we take out the…production fuzz!


Do others like your work?

Yes, and this is why I carry on- assuming also the exhausting production fuzz…Of course there are always people who cannot connect with my personal aesthetic. It is inevitable.


Are you happy with how you do things?

No, I would like to find the time that I need to take more seminars, to re-become a student more often, to have more time in the studio, have more time for my family (I recently did a master’s degree, became a father and became a freelancer, all at the same time!). Now I need to look for or rather create time, so that things don’t escape from me, to manage to take classes or a workshop, look for new music or whatever one needs to revitalize oneself.


Are you using the principle of improvisation?

Absolutely! Sometimes the subject we are dealing with inspires for a series of improvisations, which I propose to my team. Very often, material comes out of these initial improvisations. I use improvisation in a fluid manner- sometimes it is about the specific way someone reads a text… For example, one performer can’t memorize, gets tired by reading and often sees things double, due to a car accident she was in. I decided to give up on the idea of precision with this text and asked her to say whatever remained of the text in her mind. This turned out to be very funny and so I laughed and then she laughed and she started having fun with what came up each time. So instead of her being unhappy because she couldn’t remember, we allowed her “issue” to re-sculpt the text. Her doing so enhanced the text, gave her more self-confidence while making the audience laugh. In any case it was a rather absurd text by Russian writer Daniil Kharms, an anti-Stalinist who used undercover humor for his critique of Stalin. That was just another example of discovery blocking as mentioned before. There are many ways to use improvisation, but in general I focus on promoting genuine expressivity.


Is your work set or improvised?

As I said, I apply discovery blocking which is often used in devised theater methods. We necessarily play with both fixed scenarios and improvised situations if we want to preserve the performer’s authenticity at the moment of action. On a previous collaboration with a musician (a duet, or a trio depends how you see it; with me as a dancer, a musician and a computer interface), is both set and improvised. The musician has a particular score but the computer interface constantly changes it, so there is a re-composition of the work in real time while I’m exploring ecstatic states. There are psychoacoustic effects in which you feel the sound pierce the materiality of the body; somehow it feels like being swept off by a wave. There is minimalism, in the sense of ecstatic states being provoked by repetition, volume or sound frequency. There are materials that reappear, although there is improvisation at play. In some shows the work is 70% improvised and 30% composition and in others, exactly the opposite. I am interested in structures that allow us to live and intensify the present moment or provoke altered states.


 Do you have a daily practice?

Yes, although I miss classes with different teachers which introduce me to other esthetic and technical approaches. I am occasionally allowed to take company class with a dance company here (a virtuosic kind of release). I also do Tai Chi and Kung Fu. {my teacher here in Tours, is one of the two Shaolin living in France. I started 10 years ago and I practice Tai Chi Chen-a style connected to combat as well as flow, in which there are also explosive movements and hence is more invigorating. I also train with bicycle and experimental fitness methods.



How do you treat the body in your work?

Principally, I consider the body as subjective entity, a unified whole of multiple manifestations of intelligence: biological, psychological, cultural, social, spiritual; unseparated from the self, consciousness or whatever you wish to call it. I am passionately against the body-as-object approach. It disappoints me that at the same time that somatics promote the body-as-subject, we still see the body in postmodern dance being treated as an object, manipulated in order to transmit an idea. Some artists do it in order to denounce that kind of treatment! But then I say: enough with the postmodern denunciations! Let’s propose something new instead for endlessly criticizing the old ways.

The body-as-object can still be seen in the non-dance current, or with certain representatives of Belgian new dance. I accept it in others’ works, but in my own I strongly refuse this approach. I’m opposed to the physical and psychological abuse that choreographers like Vandekeybus or Fabre impose to their dancers. {I and two more dancers we once walked out from a Vandekeybus audition in Prague back in the nineties, because of his disrespectful behavior towards the dancers. He treated us exactly like body-objects, means to an end: a choreographic product in the narcissistic stage of art}. We are now in a new body era: I don’t HAVE a body. I AM a body.



As far as I can work with experienced people, I dare to use slowness and duration explorations. Approaching and connecting to the sensitive-body-subject, is important to me but I use the slowness carefully, in order to avoid autistic situations. I feel the audience doesn’t want see this and if they get bored you ‘ve lost the game. Only when performed with a certain reciprocity, the spectator can feel the value and relate to it. {It is really difficult and rare for slowness to maintain the spectator’s interest or even better to intrigue his/her kinesthetic empathy. I saw choreographer-dancer Carlotta Ikeda in her 60’s travelling on a diagonal, which took her approximately 20 minutes! It was amazing. I had read in the program that she meditates for two hours before appearing onstage. And when she did everyone seemed absorbed by her presence…}



I am concerned with the notion of conventional space, for theatre and for architecture because it is connected to the subjectivity of the body. The space transforms through the sensitive body, both the space inside and outside the body. {I still remember the relationship with space in the first choreography I ever danced with Bernardo Montet. Bernardo had asked me to walk really close to a duet he did with another dancer, at an appropriate speed, so the audience would ‘forget’ about me. I used a Βutoh walk focusing on my body as a distorted proprioceptive space, projecting space behind my skull in a sensitive way, dragging it behind me; this walk was more about the kinesthetic integration of my body and the space.} Fasciatherapy (Danis Bois) also helped in becoming more sensitive to the micro-details inside myself. I learned how to focus on kidneys, feel their volume, temperature and movement. It was an unforgettable experience. I was also influenced by the integral theory: bodily, emotionally and intellectually informed. Through human contact we become a part of culture, a part of a group (just like in meditation – it is a much stronger experience when a lot of people meditate together) All of the latter coordinates helped me.



I have not developed my knowledge in lighting design, I always left it to the lighting designer. Despite me being intuitive with lighting choices, I am scared of lighting design as a time and money consuming procedure. I’d rather dance with general lighting and keep the focus on the performance quality. Of course, if I had the luxury – time- or budget-wise – I would absolutely dive into the magic of lighting design with a talented artist.



Rarely. If I had someone working on production and budget, I would use set more often but as with lights, it’s not my priority. Body-mind and its states are my main focus.



About the same, a little easier, I find it important but not a priority.


Do you feel you have sometimes failed?

Yes, quite often. I fail in making choices during certain parts of my life. What dance has offered me is invaluable. It is more my personal life, like certain moments in which I allowed problems to take up too much of my time, distracting me from how I prefer to work.


How has that affected you?

It gives me new momentum, an impetus, a kind of anger because I did not succeed what I aimed for. It boosts my energy. You try to change things, you prepare yourself and plan ahead.


What do you wish for?

Newtopias, like the title of the mini festival we create. I see fragments of newtopia developing around the globe, while as a kid, I had nightmares of ecological catastrophes and was afraid of the end of the world…. I need to feed on the simple solutions people come up with, bottom up. This is my wish, that there is an increase of such initiatives on a socio-economic, ecological and artistic level. So that what we dream of, can participate in human evolution.



Is your work Greek?

Not necessarily, I suppose there must be some local cultural elements inhabiting my work, since I was born there. Moreover, in the style of dance I chose lays a fusion of many cultures and traditions. When I look back to works I have done in the past, I see influences of American and French postmodern dance, of German neo-expressionism, of Japanese Butoh, of Greek ancient tragedy or Modern Greek pop culture. Like most artists, who want to devour the world, only tiny fragments of a national identity remain. I don’t consider myself, nor my dance as Greek but as a work containing certain cultural elements from Greece. I’m not a Greek dancer: I’m a dancer from Greece.


Is there something you can recognise as Greek dance?

This is a difficult question; I don’t see much Greek dance. When was in Greece I would see quite a few performances with an impressive virtuosic release-type style. It seemed to be the main current at the time. I am not in touch with the work there, but from what I have seen – mostly after 1997 – I would say there is a kind of Greek-ness to it, but not as in a national identity. I had seen a show by a dance company Sine qua non, ‘the night of the goat (scapegoat)’ which was based on Greek elements and I was quite moved by the research they had done- a powerful fusion that integrated and transcended tradition. Somehow in that piece, release technique was not too foreground, there was a cross-fertilization between physical theater, release technique and Greek dance elements. There is value in this fusion, bringing forward questions to the audience, communicating with a wide audience addressing Greek-ness.

I would like to add something, concerning the writer which the movie ‘The Matrix’ was inspired from. I found this out two years later after having watched the movie, through an interview with an American philosopher Ken Wilber: “the merchants in alliance with the scientists are colonizing the ethical and psychological part of our world”. He referred to the ancient trinity: good (Ethics), beautiful (Art) and true (Science). It is like the science we use today: it overtakes the ethical and the beautiful and this is why we have a society in crisis; a society that sells everything out. I am looking for any little bits, or signs that can show that things can change. There is group here in France operating in horizontal structures, called Colibri. {Their name comes from the myth in which there is a fire in the forest and all the animals flee it, all apart from the colibri, which takes one drop of water in its beak and goes into the forest to put the fire out. When the animals ask him what is he doing, he replies ‘that is all I can do, but I will not stop’. In seeing this reaction, the rest of the animals come back and start to try and put out the fire out too.} This Colibri group, creates projects mainly focusing on ecology, work on suggestions of ideas by other people creating networks of solidarity for different projects/causes and functions like a cooperativa. This group gives me a lot of hope, especially since I live in Tours which is a rather bourgeois city.



Dimitris Tsiapkinis