CULTURE

Local dance scene gets active

Following the success of last year’s modern dance platform, held at the Athens Concert Hall, the local modern dance scene will make its presence felt once more. The First Panorama of Modern Greek Dance starts tonight at the Arts Center of Halandri and will run to Monday. Many Greek choreographers are represented in the four-day event, with some noticeable changes from the original program issued some time ago; yet audiences will still be treated to sample variations of the Greek dance scene and get acquainted with groups that want to make their work more widely known. For its part, the Arts Center, which has hosted performances by a variety of acclaimed dance groups, such as the Complexions Dance Company, the Moiseyev Ballet and others, despite the fact that it was founded just a year ago, is hoping to turn the Panorama into an institution. The Panorama kicks off tonight with performances by Horeftes tou Vorra, Oneiro, Persa Stamatopoulou’s Contemporary Dance Group, the Landscape Dance Company, the Dalika Dance Theater, the Zita Contemporary Dance Group and the Roes Dance Theater. Tomorrow, the Kinitiras, Enniamorfo, Amagalma, Horeftes, Proschema, Met’Embodion and Lathos Kinissi dance groups will take the stage, while Sunday will see shows by X-Art, Akin, Proskairi Synthesi, Myia, Betty Vytinarou’s Paroussies Dance Theater, the Allou, Edo, Pantou Dance Theater and the Aenaon Dance Theater. The Panorama ends on Monday, April 25, with the Leda Shantala Dance Theater, Eldor, Paroussia, Yelp, the Magma Dance Theater group and Natassa Zouka’s Dance Theater (the Iros Angelos group, originally scheduled to perform on Sunday, had to pull out due to an injury sustained by the principal dancer). The dance companies will tackle the different techniques that have sprung up in Greek modern dance. At a recent press conference, held to present the Panorama, Petros Gallias, president of the Union of Greek Choreographers, said that Greek choreographers can now see their dream materialize. «Last year’s performances at the Athens Concert Hall met with a very good response from the public. They were a success not just with dance experts, but also with those who are uninitiated, or novices in dance matters, which was challenging.» The Arts Center of Halandri is working toward holding the Panorama every two years, so that it will alternate with the platform which the Athens Concert Hall has agreed to host every two years as well. «Greek choreographers and dance groups keep increasing despite the financial struggles and other problems,» said Gallias. «Ten years ago, we used to talk about dance groups flourishing in Greece. Now we can say that the public is, in a way, ‘flourishing,’ regarding its response to the choreographers’ work. Dance is finally becoming equal to other art forms in Greece,» he added. «Our aim is to attract the broader public and make the dance groups more well known, as well as to promote the venue,» said Miltos Economopoulos, president of the Halandri Arts Center, who went on to say that the arts center’s priorities lay in quality and not quantity. He added that the arts center has given special attention to dance as an art form and hoped to become a pole of attraction for dance groups in the future. «We are hoping that the next time we organize the Panorama, twice as many dance groups will participate,» said the arts center’s director, Polly Chrysanthakopoulou. Unfortunately, the absences that can be noted in the Panorama’s finalized program, as opposed to the initial one, are strongly felt. Prominent local dance companies such as Oktana, Sine qua Non, Griffon, Quasi Stellar and Ad Lib are no longer scheduled to perform. When asked about it, Gallias answered that all the groups wanted to participate but that the gaps were caused by practical problems. «Some of the groups had financial problems and are still waiting to receive funding, while others ended up having problems with the dates or the sets they needed in order to stage their show. The losses are due to purely practical reasons.» Touching on the problems of local modern dance groups, which are mostly financial, was inevitable. Gallias pointed out that the government has yet to make a decision about funding for the 2004-2005 season and that there are fears the entire season might be lost. Equally important, as choreographer Teti Nikolopoulou pointed out, is that dance is the only fine art form not represented at Greek universities; the foundation of a university dance department keeps being postponed. Performances will start at 8.30 p.m. on all four days and will last two hours. Tickets cost 20 euros per day, 10 euros with a student discount. The Arts Center of Halandri is situated at 53 Garittou, Halandri, tel 210.639.3341. For ticket information, call 210.723.4567 or log on to www.ticketservices.gr.