Self- Review #2
-Good Evening and welcome! If I'm not mistaken, you were in France for several months and you just returned. Really, what did you do there and how did you get there?
Hello! Yes, I was in Paris for 6 months as an artist in residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts. In short, I was there to experience new things, take a distance from my last research, work on it though other perspectives and to start timidly giving flesh to a new idea. It was a residency period! I had a great time, although I missed the sea and the light of Greece!
-You returned to Athens two years ago. You were again in France where you completed your Master Degree in choreographic research. Why did you decide to come back to Greece?
It was not an easy decision. I came back following my instinct. Sometimes I believe that I was tired of the "intellectualism" of the French art scene. Even though I admired and appreciated the smart ideas and the big thoughts behind projects, I missed passion and spontaneity. There are great artists in France, Paris is once again the centre of contemporary art, everyone presents there and I really enjoyed it. It's just that in Athens I feel like there's a raw, undiscovered beauty … something I want to fight for even if I know I will probably lose.
-Why lose? You said it with great ease, as if you have already accepted the defeat.
The economic crisis has a negative impact on the arts. In Greece, due to lack of infrastructure the changes were taking shape in a slow pace.
I don't take defeat for granted, no. Defeat gives you strength and demands new ways of dealing with the situation. Nevertheless, It is hard to know that more and more dancers / choreographers work under low pay, working conditions, and living. I am part of this reality and it is tough even though at the end of the day I see art as a source of inspiration and cure for the world.
-I know that this year you give classes and seminars. There are many schools and dance studios in Athens. Is it because creation is hard to exist as you mentioned above and dancers need to find a way to earn a living?
Of course it's a way. For some it is profitable, for others not. It's beautiful and important to have a lot of dance studios and to see young people give teaching a shot.
-Do you think that this helps the dance scene?
To be honest, I don't know. I have mixed feelings! I believe that we all have a responsibility towards the greek dance scene. Our lessons, the performances we watch, the works we create, the discussions we make (and those we don’t), our collaborations, our professional demands ... all these and much more shape the dance scene.
You asked about the courses, so yes, I am concerned about the great offer and the quality of the courses, but as I said, we all have a responsibility, teachers and students. We should develop our criteria concerning the courses and their content and care more.
-What kind of "care" do you offer to your classes and students?
I can give you an example. Every time I prepare a lesson or a workshop I ask myself what I have and what I want to propose. I search for a clear intention. That's where care begins. I define my intention, I put it into words, search for various sources and then I create the platform that the participant needs in order to get the information. When I talk about care, I mean respect for the lesson and the person.
-How do you deal with modern dance techniques?
The state of dance , the state of being is what I am looking for.
In my technique courses I tend to help students draw their dance from within. No gymnastics shows, no running, no acrobatics. Of course, there are useful elements in the above, I do not renounce the physicality of the dance, but I prefer to give weight to the experience, the pleasure and the re-discovery of dance through physical, mental and spiritual states.
-Your description made me feel that it is a lesson for everyone.
-And what exactly is the choreographic workshop "Choreographic Challenge"? Why did you give that title?
(laughs)! Well... I don't know what it is! From last year experience, I can tell you that it is an opportunity to build your personal, deep relationship with the art of dance. We work with tools, materials, forms, structure, composition, etc. I want the participants to leave with experience and knowledge. It is called challenge and I think it really is, because the participants are confronted with their sincere or not sincere interest in this art. I can't hide that it's a difficult lab, in the sense that it requires alertness and engagement.
-Is this workshop a challenge for you too?
Oh, it really is !! One of the biggest! I have to reconsider my thoughts, my actions, my position towards choreographic creation ... It is an opportunity to stand for my decision to return to Greece, to find ways to communicate what I learnt, what I experienced, what I believe in. This workshop is an important part of my life as a teacher. It is a fragile and valuable endeavor for me. I expose my artistic identity, my knowledge, my weaknesses, my my strength, my doubts, my love ...
I remember last year's Ch. Challenge! It was an intense period. I felt that something had happened during the time we spent together, that we had reached a meaningful sharing of moments and experiences. I hope the same happens this year.
-Do you only accept professional dancers in the workshop?
No no. I welcome dancers, choreographers, actors, directors, swimmers, carpenters, sculptors, gardeners, painters, poets, composers, musicians ... And I look forward to seeing them all determined. The challenge is a challenge and there is no room for doubt.
-Aren't you afraid of the different background of applicants?
No. I am only afraid of the lack of cooperation, but at the same time I know how to cultivate it, so I take courage and feel confident. It is also important for dancers to get to know, talk and work with people who are watching their art, who experience it from a different perspective. The previous group consisted of completely different personalities. Each one put his own little stone in the group and everyone learnt from everyone. This is the profit. So, no! I'm not afraid! I'm not afraid at all!
-You sound excited!
I am and I am very happy to be at home!
-Thanks so much for this interview! I'm glad we met again and I'm looking forward to the next one!
Thank you too! See you soon.