CULTURE

Love and generosity of volunteers

“It brought us light…» said Angeliki Stellatou a few days after the striking opening ceremony of the Olympic Games which we experienced, either live at the stadium or glued to our television screens. The dancer and choreographer, a close collaborator of Dimitris Papaioannou for a long time (they co-founded the Omada Edafous dance group), is responsible for the choreography of the ceremonies while, along with Fotis Nikolaou, they set up the impressive parade that presented Greek history from the Minoan civilization to the 1940s. «We set out at Christmas in 2001 and we held a workshop in June 2003. We kept making things, changing them, agreeing, disagreeing, showing our work to art director Angelos Mentis and then moved on… After we laid out the groundwork, the group of dancers taught the volunteers,» Stellatou said to Kathimerini. Although two years of work is a long time and tension would be understandable, this was not the case. «Dimitris Papaioannou is charismatic both as an artist and as a group leader,» confirmed Stellatou. «He urges you to outdo yourself and give yourself to what you are doing. That is because of his personality.» Commenting on the parade, she said there was always the danger of becoming too colorful. «We shouldn’t use natural materials and movements should not be strong, we should create a universe seemingly immobilized.» «Participating dancers decided to be there in order to help and not to promote themselves,» she said, adding that the greatest surprise was the volunteers. «It was the way they believed in us, the way they gave themselves and how they did the movements. The great love and generosity with which they offered themselves is moving. It’s amazing, something I haven’t come across before. And it wasn’t just the volunteers and performers but also all the people who worked behind the scenes. They are the ones who helped with the changes, the making of the costumes and the makeup among others. The ones who brought us a bottle of water and something to eat.» «The opening ceremony is one of the liveliest things I have experienced. I feel proud and very happy about both the preparations and the public’s reception,» said Stellatou shortly before departing for rehearsals. «Work does not end here… the closing ceremony is coming up soon.»