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Self- interview #3
(November 2017)

The dance artist Aria Boumpaki gives another self-interview talking about the workshop she will give in Heraklion, Crete and the way she experiences teaching.

  • Good evening Aria. I'm glad you found some time for another discussion. How are you? It’s been two months since your come-back from Paris.

Wow! It's been two months already! Well ... I don't know how I am, exactly. I consider it as a transitional period in which I try to make a map of needs and desires and cultivate my garden of interests while getting rid of ‘weeds’. I realize that it is not an easy process, because even though I need it, at the same time I ‘m afraid it is a luxury. This process takes a lot of time, as I don't want to use chemicals to kill the pests, but I prefer to collect them, put them in a box and then leave them somewhere in nature, somewhere far from my garden. Strange period ...

  • Why did you characterize this “pesticide free” period as luxury?

Because time goes by and my bills start piling up. Production seems the only solution, but creation without consciousness and clear intention seems unnecessary to me. So, I take the risk to concentrate on my map and garden even if it seems luxury to me and others.

  • I understand, but except from pests, one can find other insects in a garden too. Like butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs ...

Hahaha you chose all the romantic ones, but I feel what you mean. I welcome these insects too. It’s a relief to know they exist and offer their beautiful colours to the world. Yes. I am not pessimistic. I enjoy and appreciate beauty.

  • Your Instagram account says “ Aria Boumpaki, dance artist". It’s not a usual description in Greece.

In recent years I have been working a lot with language, words and writing in general. It helps a lot to give new levels on how I perceive what I create. When I started creating works and presenting them at festivals, they started calling me a ‘choreographer’. Even if I was also the performer in my works, I was presented as a choreographer. No longer a dancer or a performer. I admit that it felt quite restrictive. People around me had started to treat me like that (ie, choreographer). Noone proposed me to dance for a piece anymore. When at one point I read somewhere “dance artist", I said “yes! That’s it” and I decided to adopt this title! It is very close to the nature and the range of artistic actions that I have and want to have.

  • You are going to Crete this weekend. You will deliver a course at a Higher School of Dramatic Art. How do you feel about this and what do you expect?

I feel great joy, impatience and a little anxiety. I have never worked with these students before, but I can't wait to meet them and share my practice with them. It's a nice feeling every time I go to my island to teach. There is some magic in how people find pleasure and trust.

  • Do you like teaching?

I love it. I really do. It motivates me not to stand still, to continue searching, to trust togetherness, to become a better person, more generous and honest, less selfish or jealous and never a role model. A friend of mine told me the other day that successful classes in terms of attendance are the ones in which the student finds an 'image' that he wants to look like. ‘To become fit like him ... to jump like her ...’ ... I started questioning myself if I offer this role-model in my lessons and I concluded that I probably never sought something like that. My concern is to help students create their own pattern from scratch. To build it slowly with solid foundations and support them to shape their personalities however they. Of course, I do not reject the importance and value of standards. It's just not my way.

  • So your teachers were never a role model for you? Have you ever wanted to look like someone?

I was very lucky. In Crete I was taught by two wonderful women. Dina Vasilaki as a child, when I started to discover movement and rhythm and then Hara Karali who showed me the way to contemporary dance and creation. I never wanted to be one or the other. I am grateful to them because they taught us to keep individual power and dream of our personal choices, while in a group.

  • Teachers who disappointed you? Are there any?

Yes. While I was in at the professional school of dance. But to be honest, I don't know if I call them teachers. I've always wondered if an artist who shares a research process through a seminar or regular class is a teacher or not. I think it has to do with his/her intention. That is, whether s/he wants to be or not. I met many who probably didn't want to. Or they didn't know it was a choice. So I don't know if they were good or disappointing as teachers. Some other times, I say that things are simple. That there are good and bad teachers, as there is good and bad art.