CULTURE

Short, personal dance stories

“We are all the same on the outside; what is different is what lies under our skin,» says Toula Limnaios. Her name as well as her work were unknown in Greece until recently. This year, as part of Athens’s 4th International Dance Festival organized by the City of Athens at the Technopolis complex, the Greek choreographer, who lives and works abroad, is presenting her work here for the first time. «Short Stories» was staged yesterday and will also be presented tonight. Limnaios was born and raised in Brussels. After her studies in ballet and modern dance, she worked as a dancer and as an assistant to Claudio Bernardo, Regine Chopinot and Pierre Droulers. She soon started choreographing her own solos and has been working independently since 1996. She has choreographed 18 works to the music of Ralph Ollertz, with whom she co-founded, also in 1996, her group «cie. Toula Limnaios.» She revealed more in an interview with Kathimerini. Talk to us about «Short Stories.» As the title says, the production is about short stories, consisting of two duets and a solo. This way I avoid a complex plot and the audience can follow it more directly. I call it a «chamber dance,» a familiar piece of work that tries to shed light on people’s relationships as well as their contradictions. Did you use your own personal stories? My work is not autobiographical but contains such elements, either consciously or unconsciously. They stem from my inner world and from discussions with my dancers and composer Ralph Ollertz, with whom I founded the company 10 years ago. I work on issues that touch me, with which I feel familiar and drawn by or which challenge me. Why have you turned to solos? What is the attraction and what are the challenges compared to group choreographies? It is my desire to develop a solo as an individual, in the absence of others. This is the first time I have done a long solo for another dancer. Usually, when I feel the need to express myself as a dancer, I turn to solos because I find them more personal and in a way autobiographical. When you are alone on stage you must have the strength and the ability to fill out what you interpret. It is totally different from group choreographies. What inspires you as a choreographer? The people, the music, the venues, all kinds of art, philosophy and everything that surrounds us in our daily life. What is more important, the structure and technique or feelings? The structure embraces the feelings and the technique provides the basis to express what cannot be said in words. How do you feel performing in Greece? I am proud and happy and also afraid, because this is the first appearance by my company, as a Greek who grew up in Brussels and has been working for the past 12 years in Germany. For me, it is also a kind of tribute to my family. Would you be interested in working with Greek colleagues or in Greece? I would be interested in working here if I was given the chance. I am open to suggestions and to collaborations. If there is an artistic draw and communication, why not?