CULTURE

Marking a new era for a legendary troupe

“Smyrna, the City that Traveled in the Sky» is the title of the dance performance marking the new era of Rallou Manou’s legendary Greek Chorodrama. Only two shows will take place, on May 19 and 20, at the Benaki Museum’s new building situated on Pireos Street. «When I first became involved with the Greek Chorodrama I knew I was ignorant, but I gradually became stubborn. It’s not just Rallou Manou’s struggle and talent that made me want to save her work, but mostly her work’s cultural value. This show marks the beginning of a new, creative era,» said Sofia Mylona, director of the Greek Chorodrama, at a recent press conference. «The Benaki Museum has opened up to new directions compared to its activities so far,» said Angelos Delivorias, the museum’s director. «Regarding music, we hosted the tribute to composer Yiannis Papaioannou and we are busily preparing events dedicated to Skalkottas. We also have a number of interesting ideas concerning theater. And dance? Well, the museum has been given Koula Pratsika’s archives and its personal relationship with Rallou Manou is well known. Her memory has left its mark on all those who worked with her.» The show’s music has been composed by Philippos Tsalahouris, who was inspired by Cosmas Politis’s novel «Stou Hadzifragou.» The sets and costumes are by Alekos Fassianos, who pointed out that he was a great admirer of the Greek Chorodrama from early on. «Images from that time have stayed with me. I remember my enthusiasm, when I first saw the ‘Six Folk Paintings.’ It was a truly Greek dance, a creation of artists who brought out ‘our Greekness,’ in its good sense. That was when I acquired a conscience both for painting and dance.» The show has been choreographed by Vassia Lionaki, a former student of Manou’s and a member of the Greek Chorodrama, and Avgi Karageorgiou. During the show, a video-wall screening about Manou’s life and career will be shown, to the sound of live piano music by composer Philippos Tsalahouris, who will interpret extracts from older works that have been of major importance to the Greek Chorodrama during its 50-year life. Shows will be held at the amphitheater of the Benaki Museum’s new building, at 138 Pireos. Tickets will be on sale at the museum’s main building (1 Koumbari & Vas. Sofias), at the offices of the Friends of the Benaki Museum (15 Kolonaki Square) and at the Museum’s Historical Archives building (Emmanouil Benaki & Stefanou Delta, Kifissia). For reservations, call tel 210.322.0640.