Games’ artistic side needs ‘the heart to endure’

The only good news is the air of optimism from the smiles of the young artists who are the creative team for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. The concept creator is choreographer and director Dimitris Papaioannou, whose hard work and success with the Omada Edafous dance company won him the great responsibility of the opening and closing ceremonies that will be seen by the whole world. Those ceremonies will create the feelings of euphoria, emotion and uplift that a fine group of artists can offer through music and dance, and the movement and participation of the crowd. Rehearsals began some time ago and intensive rehearsals for the top-secret spectacle will begin when the OAKA stadium opens. Members of the team spoke to Athens ’04 magazine. «In the beginning it was a challenge,» says Dimitris Papaioannou, «then a trip. It was hard, difficult work. Now it’s clear to all of us. Above all it is a mission.» «Music will play a very large part in the ceremonies,» musical director Giorgos Koumentakis told the magazine, «because it can stir, enthuse, enchant and move spectators directly. We are lucky that Greece is at such a fertile musical crossroads. With these kinds of music we will celebrate the Olympic Games in Athens.» Sofia Kokosalaki, the young Greek designer who is making a career in London and who has undertaken to dress the large casts of dancer and actors to perform in the ceremonies, commented: «I feel it is an honor to participate in this effort, and to be part of such a distinguished and creative team. I am very optimistic about the outcome.» Lyrics writer Lina Nikolakopoulou, who is the literary adviser, told Athens ’04: «We are the heirs to extraordinary beauty. It is that incorruptible essence which is being celebrated silently within us. All it asks from us is the heart to endure.» Angeliki Stellatou is in charge of choreography. She told the magazine: «I am lucky that we are forming a choreography group of dancers we have all admired and been proud of. I’ve been lucky with the auditions of volunteers – so many people so serious about our work. I’ll be lucky if we remind the world of the best we have here in this corner of the world called Greece.» One-hundred-and-eleven days to go. As the poet Elytis said, «For the sun to turn, it takes a lot of work.» But to lighten up, let’s end with the new fashion launched by Athens ’04. Pinmania means visitors have to buy not one but many official Olympic Games pins featuring the mascots Athena and Phevos. The beautiful models are wearing them in the shape of a heart. Boys can wear them like a metal scarf, and fans of Eminem can put them on their bandanas.

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