CULTURE

National Opera Ballet sees a new era bloom this year

A new era begins at the Greek National Ballet Opera on February 14 as a triple bill featuring works by Kenneth MacMillan, Yiannis Mandafounis and Constantinos Rigos magnifies the company’s opening production for this year. The upcoming production is also the opening act of Lynn Seymour as artistic director of Greece’s sole state dance company. The world-renowned ballerina was appointed by Stefanos Lazaridis, the Greek National Opera’s artistic director, to revamp the ballet company. The occasion also marks the inauguration of the Acropol Theater as the company’s permanent stage home. All part of the 20th century, the works point to a new air brought to the company by Seymour. Kenneth MacMillan (1929-1992), an emblematic figure of British dance, was at the helm of the Royal Ballet for eight years. His «Solitaire» is based on two suites of the English Dances by Malcolm Arnold. According to Seymour, the work refers to the kind of solitude experienced by children as they enter adulthood. «L’apres-midi d’un faune» (Afternoon of a Faun) premiered at the Chatelet Theater in Paris in 1912, with music by Claude Debussy and choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky, who also took on the lead role. For Yiannis Mandafounis, who undertook the current choreography in Athens, the aim was to avoid all forms of superfluous movement, highlighting the need for simple and natural expression. At the center of Mandafounis’s work lies the notion of personal experience, which the dancers are asked to share with the audience. The life of the dancers and the relationship people have with their bodies is the subject of «Les Sylphides,» with music composed by Chopin. At the Acropol, Rigos’s choreography is based on the notion of the body as a temple and the efforts that need to be made in order to keep it in good shape as we all race against time. Acropol Theater, 9-11 Ippocratous. Opens February 14 with additional performances on February 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. For more information, log on to www.nationalopera.gr.