how the body behaves while talking

Katerina Skiada

26 September 2016


Twisted Pair

What has happened since the last interview 2 years ago?

Regarding creation both in terms of choreography and performance, we have been mainly expanding our research on “Twisted Pair”, a piece created with Yiannis Mandafounis in 2013-4. This piece was the beginning of a research field I have been implementing in choreographic workshops too.

For each workshop, on its idea or theme, I apply and investigate the boundaries of this research field: how the body behaves while talking. I include this principle to different choreographic ideas, creating a dialogue or juxtaposition with each one.The performer moves and talks at the same time, their lips move but we don’t hear their voice (maybe in the future I will work with audible text). The text is different each time, supporting each choreographic idea. I am interested in the space opening up between the spectator, the performance and its ‘reading’. Contemporary dance is often an abstract open form and when the performer’s ‘speaking’ is somehow specific or explicit , thus creating expectations or assumptions of another reading or understanding of the work. The performer becomes ‘specifically abstract’, addressing the spectator directly, offering another key of relating to the work. “Twisted pair” has been performed in Geneva, Paris, Syros, Corfu will be presented in Athens in June and hopefully upon confirmation will tour in Brazil.

I also lead workshops in public space. I am interested in choreographing a city, a community, dancers together with non-dancers, choreographing everyday life with hints of subversion. I am interested in creating events which are either in harmony (offering a poetic perspective to what is already happening there) either subversive to that particular public space. The aim is to alter the viewers’ perspective of the urban landscape.

These public space workshops are a way for me to continue with my research despite the current lack of funding for creating and producing new works. At the moment we seem to apply our choreographic ideas wherever we can.

Do you consider your work Greek?

Is there such a thing, Greek work? In my case because I always collaborate with other people, so the works develop and are filtered through my collaborators’ perspectives. In this sense, I guess my work is sometimes Swiss, sometimes Spanish, sometimes Greek or a mix of these. I suppose that how one prefers to consider their own work depends on the maker. Moreover language, or shared communication codes are present between people of similar backgrounds.

Is there a Greek dance scene, do you recognise specific characteristics?

In the past, there were more common characteristics between Greek choreographers’ works:  there were elements of tragedy and influences by Papaioannou’s and Rigos’ work on other makers. The younger generation of choreographers has studied and travelled abroad much more and hence they have multiple influences. Their works are very different to each other. At the moment I can see more similarities between certain Greek companies and dance companies from other countries. I assume it connects to more Greek dancers’ employment with companies abroad, absorbing different influences. It then depends on how you digest these influences. For example Yiannis despite the fact that he worked for the Forsythe company (a major influence in his work), he is looking for and is developing his own choreographic language. He has avoided this trap because his research is not only focused on form and structure, but on content, primarily. In the past one would see works by Greek makers that were just like Belgian dance for example. I suppose there is some interest in borrowing someone else’s field of research and applying it to your own but you need to be dealing with essence and not only form. This applies mainly to choreographers since for dancers, it is always interesting to train their bodies in multiple forms and techniques.