Surprising ‘Leaves and Feathers’

«Leaves and Feathers,» the Dalika Dance Theater’s new production, is all about surprise. Running to October 10 at the Thiseion Theater, it focuses on reversal. Two friends who grow up together end up choosing different paths in life, in a plot involving power games, crucial turning points and daily moments depicted with lots of humor. The choreography is by Vasso Yiannakopoulou, who founded the Dalika Dance Theater last year, along with photographer and lighting designer Tassos Palaioroutas. The company’s first production, «Digono Panoramatos,» was successfully staged at last April’s Panorama of Modern Greek Dance at the Arts Center of Halandri and at the Roes Theater, as part of the Month of Dance last May. It is also scheduled to be performed at the next Platform of Modern Dance at the Athens Concert Hall. «The choreography for ‘Leaves and Feathers’ was based on a script by Vassilis Pananidis, which is about two friends’ competitive relationship. That script eventually underwent many rewrites. In dance, you use the script as a basis on which you can step on and develop your idea,» said Yiannakopoulou to Kathimerini. «This is a dance theater production. There is a text, but the theatrical aspect mostly affects movement,» she added. From 1990 to this day, Yiannakopoulou has danced with the groups Metakinissi, Contemporary Dance Expression, Yelp, Griffon, the Roes Dance Theater, Natassa Zouka’s Dance Theater, Schedia and 14th Day, and was also a founding member of the Akin and Met’Embodion dance companies. Along with the Met’Embodion group she presented her first choreography, «Night Mirror,» which was included in the 2003 Kalamata International Dance Festival and at the International Dance Festival in Athens the same year. As a choreographer, she has worked with the Paravassi and Paiktes dance groups and with Tatiana Lygari’s group. She found her participation at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Athens Olympics, as a performer and assistant choreographer, very special. «It was a great school. We were 18 dancers, and we had to work together. We had to establish some codes to co-exist.» Yiannakopoulou is currently working as a dancer with Ioanna Portolou’s Griffon dance company, as a dance teacher (she is movement supervisor at the theater performances of the Petroupolis Workshop) and as a choreographer, with her company. «When I dance, I feel that I am evolving, as a person. It is the way I have found to express myself,» she said. «The best thing about working as a group is joint creation,» she said when asked about the Dalika company’s first year. «It is all about the journey and the process of rehearsals… The relationships and finding a balance in them are the hardest things. The work is hard, meaning that it is about constantly looking and getting close to what you imagined, to the main structure.» Yiannakopoulou added that the problems of the dance scene are mostly financial. «Obviously there is more than that, because eventually you will find a way to get the work done. But if there is no backing, the work can’t go on.» She said she liked the word «dalika» (freight truck) because it has a nice ring to it and also because it is something that travels and carries culture. The music and the sound design of the show are by Michalis Meleteas and the lights are by Tassos Palaioroutas. The sets are by Angela Georganta and the costumes by Despina Makarouni. Participating dancers are Katerina Skiada, Phaedra Fourouli, Rowan Thorpe, Rania Glymitsa and Nikoleta Karmiri. Thiseion Theater, 7 Tournavitou, Psyrri, tel 210.325.5444.