A lonely, joyful dance

“Four women and a man go through an unexpected exchange of feelings. The space is the stage, the only place where the characters’ parallel paths meet,» says choreographer Haris Mandafounis of «Strangely Sentimental,» his new work. The work’s premiere during Contemporary Dance Week in July was followed by performances at the International Kalamata Dance Festival. Beginning tonight, the production goes on stage at the Hora Theater, with performances until Sunday, followed by additional shows from October 24 to October 28. «Five lonely people enter each other’s lives. They agree to let go of their solitude for a little while, allowing themselves to seduce and be seduced. This is a joyful production,» Mandafounis told Kathimerini, adding that while he did the choreography, the dancers participated creatively. «For me, improvisation is the basis of creation. I used to improvise in the past, now it is my dancers’ turn. My work is based on collaboration,» he adds. How does Mandafounis view the future of dance in this country? «There was a boom in the 1990s, but at this point everything seems rather stagnant. Dance seems to be stuck. We should move on to another level and adopt dance in a broader sense. I believe that technique plays an important role; originality is not enough. Stagnation, however, has partly to do with funding. There must be a substantial collaboration between the dance world and the (Culture) Ministry.» «Strangely Sentimental» is based on music by Fred Frith, Messiaen, Cyril Morin and Arvo Part, with costumes by Christina Kouloumbi. Performing Mandafounis’s new work are dancers Lila Zafiropoulou, Stella Zanou, Gogo Petrali, Takako Segawa and Thanassis Solomos.