CULTURE

‘Daphnis and Chloe’ sets sail for the heart of beautiful Havana

The scene is set impromptu in a beautiful garden in the heart of Havana for a dance production by the 25-strong Schedia dance troupe of Maurice Ravel’s «Daphnis and Chloe.» After the success of last summer’s performances in St Petersburg and Tbilisi, Georgia, Schedia is ready to set sail next Tuesday for Havana, Santa Clara and Santiago in Cuba, for a run of shows ending on March 6. «The scenery changes each time, and so does the choreography,» said the group’s artistic director and choreographer, Anastasia Lyra, in an interview with Kathimerini just a few days before setting off. «The work ‘Daphnis and Chloe’ is one of the group’s most important projects. It has three main elements: improvisation, classical music and performing in public spaces,» she added. Each performance changes depending on the artistic scope of each new setting. In the Cuban tour it will feature five dancers from the Danza Contemporana de Cuba group who are currently in Athens rehearsing with Schedia. «The performances will take place in central gardens and squares in each city; areas which I have visited several times before,» explained Lyra. «What influences me most is the architecture of the landscape, and the final instructions are only given at the last minute, on site! «The manner in which we work does not overshadow the dancers. It frames them, gives them the basic guidelines and structures, and allows them to find a solution, a final form based on their own knowledge, sensitivities and intuition. This freedom makes the work very demanding in terms of responsibility, of course. I often talk to my dancers about the ‘mind of the group,’ the obligation they all have to integrate with the group, to serve the group with harmony and economy of motions, to sacrifice their impulses.» Ravel’s work is especially suitable to this kind of free interpretation, according to Lyra. «I tackled the work from an abstract point of view. The lead characters are invisible and simultaneously absorbed into the group. The 25 dancers represent all the faces of both Daphnis and Chloe,» she asserts. Lyra is a driven artist who works wonders with the group even in the absence of any financial support from the State. «I don’t believe that artistic creation depends on subsidies,» she states. «The group works all year round as a workshop and on regular occasions I organize seminars with teachers and artists from abroad. Currently I have a permanent cooperation with the American dancer Peter Ryan, who has developed a technique on the combination of motion and prose. He is working on a project with the group based on Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’ that will be performed next year. As far as this summer is concerned, the program is composed of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in Georgia, St Petersburg and the Caucasus.»