Cairo ballet dances ‘Zorba’ for charity

The Greek National Opera is hosting an event of a charitable nature this weekend, as the Cairo Opera Ballet takes to its stage to present Mikis Theodorakis’s «Zorba.» Proceeds from the event will go in aid of a project initiated by Ivory Coast Consul-General Mero Kesesioglou to establish an orphanage for children who have lost their parents to AIDS and who are HIV positive themselves. The Hellas orphanage, to be located in the city of Dabou, will be operational by January 2005 and it follows other initiatives by Kesesioglou, who has already helped establish nine hospitals, one school and an orphanage in Africa and has also run social awareness campaigns on the African AIDS crisis in London, Paris, Madrid, Cairo, Istanbul and New York. The production of «Zorba» has been choreographed by Lorca Massine (son of the famous Russian dancer/choreographer, Leonid Massine), who has directed anew many of his father’s works as well as dances by Balanchine, Bejart and Robbins, in addition to writing over 50 of his own. Currently, he serves as director of the Zorba Ballet Company in Poland. The choreographer first worked with composer Theodorakis in 1972 and his most successful performance of «Zorba» was held in 1988 at the Arena di Verona, winning both artists great critical acclaim and clinching their professional relationship. Since then, Lorca’s «Zorba» has been performed in over 30 countries. The Athens performance of the celebrated Greek ballet is performed by the Cairo Opera Ballet, a group established in 1966 with the assistance of Soviet dancers, teachers and choreographers. Since then, the ballet has extended its repertoire from classical works to modern and original pieces, taking its production on tour worldwide. Today, the ballet company is under the direction of Dr Abdel Moneim Kamel, a Russian-trained dancer and choreographer who became artistic director of the Egyptian National Council of Culture in 1991 and helped the national dance company enrich its repertoire. «Zorba,» at the Greek National Opera (59-61 Academias, Athens, tel 210.361.1516), tomorrow.