Dance Platform in Athens

Works by young Balkan choreographers are about to jump to the stage of the Athens Concert Hall. The Fourth Balkan Dance Platform (BDP), which takes place in Greece this year, kicks off tomorrow and runs to Saturday. The dance performances, the seminars and the discussions will be held at the Megaron’s Dimitris Mitropoulos and Nikos Skalkottas halls. The three previous platforms, which took place in Sofia in 2001, in Bucharest in 2003 and in Skopje in 2005, left audiences with a happy feeling and the impression that something special was in the works. The BDP is the only nomadic contemporary dance event that presents works by young and up-and-coming artists from the Balkans. It features an international team in charge of the organization and selection of the works. Participating artists work hard, focusing on the promotion of the region’s multicultural character, the need for dialogue and communication and a goal of international collaborations. The platform aims to promote the work of these artists by introducing to the international dance scene an area where dance is still at its very early stages. It hopes to provide them with opportunities that will transcend the prevailing political tendencies and beliefs. Greece first participated in the platform in Bucharest in 2003. «It was the first time we were going to meet our Balkan colleagues and we felt a bit ill at ease. We came across something unexpected, performances of great quality. That gave us the strength to go on,» said Christina Polychroniadou, in charge of the organization of the Athens platform, in an interview with Kathimerini. «Modern dance in the Balkans is still in its early development, so everything is at the beginning. Many of the countries don’t even have a tradition of contemporary dance, which means that those interested in getting involved have to either wait for a teacher to conduct seminars in their country or to travel to some European country to attend courses.» Polychroniadou spoke about dance in the Balkans and its current development. «In that respect, Greece is privileged in terms of education, structure, funding and production. Balkan choreographers carry the signature of the style of the school or the teachers they have worked with abroad. In some we can spot British academia, while in others the influence of German dance theater. The work of the artists we will see at the platform is definitely authentic. The choreographers have their own style and their work promises future development.» «I am very happy to present my work in Athens, especially in a pan-Balkan meeting that enables artists to place their work in a wider context,» said Jelka Milic, a young Slovenian choreographer who studied at Austria’s Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance. She will present her 20-minute choreography «Folding,» featuring music by Patsy Cline, Chris Isaac and Serge Gainsbourg. «My work is inspired by social theories, psychology and the deconstruction of human thoughts and relationships. I am just curious as to what guides our basic behavior. Above all, I am inspired by my dancers, their inner world and their views. All those participating in ‘Folding’ are unique and have a deeper understanding of human nature.» Highlights One of the highlights of the platform is «Monday in the Sun,» by Turkey’s Bedirhan Dehmen and Safak Uysal. The choreography, which unfolds on a set reminiscent of boats traveling the Bosporus, is a male duet with a background of images from Istanbul’s coastline. Greek highlights include newcomer Patricia Apergi’s striking solo «Anorexia Socialis,» Evangelos Poulina’s interactive spectacle «Verge» and Tassos Karachalios and Georgia Vardarou’s duet «Serenity Square.» «My Private Biopolitics,» a solo by Serbian Sasa Asentic, is a comic commentary on the rules that define contemporary dance today. Another eagerly awaited work is «Imago» by Violeta Vitanova and Stanislav Genadiev from Bulgaria, a technically powerful choreography, unusual for Bulgarian artists, who have been more geared toward performance art.

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