Dance Festival spreads its wings

The Association of Greek choreographers announced on Monday the program for the 10th Dance Festival, which begins on Wednesday, May 18, and runs to June 11.

?We have been playing the heroes for some time now, but the reality is really dismal,? said choreographer Haris Mandafounis in his introduction. ?We?re here now, but I have no idea whether this will be the case next year, because the sector may just dry up.?

Mandafounis is a pioneer of contemporary dance in Greece and the lynchpin of the association who has helped bridge the gap between the two generations of dancers and choreographers.

Sitting beside Daniel Lommel, the French choreographer who founded the Aenaon dance company and is considered one of the forefathers of contemporary dance in Greece, Mandafounis talked at some length about the particular characteristics of the field that make it especially difficult for it to survive in the crisis-ridden country. Artists spend more time trying to eke a livelihood than they do on their art, he argued. ?When dancers don?t have the time to stick to a strict workout regimen, or when they don?t have the opportunity to perform, the passion goes out of their eyes. And dance is not work; it?s a passion,? said Mandafounis.

?There are those who are using the crisis to argue that art is a luxury and that those who make it are redundant,? said Petros Gallias, president of the association. ?We should, however, be more concerned with our spiritual collapse than we should with our economic collapse.?

Despite the crisis, this year?s Dance Festival not only holds promise but has also been enriched with two programs: Athens Dance Week and Off-Stage, which will take place from May 22-28 at various points around the capital, including in the streets, at dance studios, in exhibition spaces and in museums.

The core of Dance Week, however, will be held at the following theaters: Roes (16 Iakchou, Gazi, tel 210.347.4321), PK (2 Renee Pio

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