Dance and acrobatics meet music

Flamenco diva Cristina Hoyos’s performance with her ballet marked a powerful beginning for the Badminton Theater. The brand-new venue, which underwent further renovations over the summer, will host a string of interesting productions, ranging from musicals and modern dance acrobatics to Gypsy music and ice ballet through May next year. Michalis Adam, director of Adam Productions, the company behind the theater, laid out this season’s program but also talked about future plans at a press conference last week. «This is our first full season at this theater and we would like to call on all organizers, because it is open to all,» he said. The venue, which opened last winter, is the biggest theater in Greece, with 2,500 seats. It has been designed so as to cater to a variety of productions, but not large rock concerts, which Adam said are more suitable for stadiums. It has already successfully staged a number of performances, including the popular musical «Cats» and the Irish dance show «Lord of the Dance,» the latter being sold out despite the fact that it went on stage at the end of June, in the middle of a heat wave and at an indoor theater. Adam Productions took over the Badminton Theater after winning the tender launched for Olympic venues; until then the company had been obliged to use other places, such as the Lycabettus Theater or the Athens Concert Hall, to bring shows by various artists including alternative masters the Tiger Lillies or the breathtaking Cirque Eloise. The Badminton Theater, which now boasts new facilities, will be developed further. As Adam explained, the aim is to turn it into a welcoming arts complex surrounded by trees, set in a park in the heart of Athens, and fully equipped with an additional music stage, a restaurant, an exhibition and events hall, an open-air cinema and even a children’s play area. Following «Viaje al Sur,» a performance of traditional flamenco set to new forms by Cristina Hoyos’s Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia last week, award-winning Argentinean master of dance Julio Bocca is set to perform Thursday through October 8. Bocca will present one of his favorite productions, «Bocca Tango,» which combines ballet and tango. He will be joined by top dancer Cecilia Figaredo and his dance company Ballet Argentino as well as the Octango orchestra that will play melodies by Astor Piazzolla and Carlos Gardel. Due to high demand, an additional performance will take place on the afternoon of Sunday, October 7. The shows are part of Bocca’s farewell world tour – his future plans are to focus on his school and dance company in Buenos Aires. Internationally acclaimed Brazilian musician, poet, filmmaker and a well-known political activist Caetano Veloso will give a concert on October 25. Veloso, one of the leaders of the 1960s Tropicalia music and visual arts movement, has released more than 40 albums and has sung in various films, including «Frida» and Pedro Almodovar’s «Hable con ella» (Talk to Her). The Pilobolus Dance Theater, a group that stretches the abilities of the human body and challenges the laws of nature, will present five works from its large repertoire from October 29 to November 2. The company returns to Greece after its two much-discussed performances in front of a tightly packed Herod Atticus Theater back in 2003. Founded in 1971, the group continues to function as a collective, based on collaborative effort. «Beauty and the Beast,» the first Disney musical to travel to Greece, will go on stage November 7 to 25. The highly popular musical, which is based on the well-known fairy tale, has won over more than 25 million people around the world. It will be the West End production of the show that will visit Greece, starring Matthew Cammelle as the Beast, who also did a run as the Phantom in «The Phantom of the Opera.» The production will feature a live orchestra and Greek supertitles. Another innovative company, Momix, which has a reputation for creating shows where its dancers-illusionists play with light, shadows and acrobatics, will perform in the first week of December. «Passion,» featuring music by Peter Gabriel, is a tribute to Nikos Kazantzakis’s «Last Temptation of Christ» and its big screen version by Martin Scorsese. It is choreographed by Moses Pendleton, the group’s artistic director and founder, who was also one of the founding members of the Pilobolus Dance Theater. Momix has gained a fan base in Greece, following its past performances at the Lycabettus Theater and the Athens Concert Hall. Switching over to music, well-known filmmaker Woody Allen will bring his clarinet skills to the stage and will perform with his New Orleans Jazz Band on December 28 and 29. In contrast to his last performance in Athens two years ago, tickets are now much more reasonably priced. More music will fill the Badminton Theater January 4 to 6, as the 100 talented musicians of the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra, led by Sandor Rigo Buffo and Joszef Csosci Lendrai, will play a varied program from well-known Gypsy melodies to compositions by Strauss, Brahms and Berlioz. In its first appearance in Greece, Antigravity, a New York-based group consisting of gymnasts, dancers, acrobats and street jumpers, will present a breathtaking aerial show January 16 to 20. It will be followed by innovative flamenco company Fuego! which combines traditional flamenco with the latest dance tendencies, January 23 to 27. What has been described as «Italy’s answer to the hit Cirque du Soleil,» Gaetano Triggiano’s «Tablo,» will take the stage in February. The show is a live magical mixture of illusion and drama, led by Angelo Talocci’s atmospheric music and enriched by colorful costumes. In March, the St Petersburg State Ice Ballet will present its ice skating version of Tchaikovsky’s classic «Swan Lake,» accompanied by the City of Athens Symphony Orchestra. The season will enjoy a powerful closure, with the highly popular musical «Mamma Mia!» May 6 to 25. Featuring timeless Abba songs and set on a Greek island, the much-loved production is currently also being filmed for the big screen, starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth, with some of the filming taking place on Skopelos and Skiathos. Badminton Theater, Goudi Military Park, tel 211.108.6086.

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