Spotlight on Greek dance at Dandoulaki Theater

Generally regarded as an important event, «Months of Dance» began seven years ago at the Open Theater. Featuring no fewer than 18 dance troupes, this year’s event is at the Katia Dandoulaki Theater. «A few months ago, Lia Meletopoulou’s Ergostasio and the Open Theater closed their doors, and the need to find a place in order to carry on with the event became urgent,» choreographer Petros Gallias, the Greek Choreographers Association’s new president, told Kathimerini. And so the association, aided financially by the Ministry of Culture, opted for the Katia Dandoulaki Theater. «Months of Dance is a joyful occasion, one which we would like to turn into an annual institution. The lack of permanent premises, however, is still a problem. Dance should have its own venue all year long, a place which may be used by all troupes,» said Gallias. «At first, we began working on a one-month event, but so many choreographers turned up that we decided that 30 days were not enough! Moreover, we didn’t choose which companies would go on stage this year, as all those who applied will perform – until last year they had to go through auditions.» Each company gets the theater for five days, two for rehearsals and three for the performances. Each troupe has to cover the cost of its own production, while the association (through the Ministry of Culture) pays for the theater, including technical equipment, sound and lighting. Proceeds from the performances go directly to the dance companies. «Next year, we hope to expand the performances and to find two, or even three, stages to host the event,» Gallias said. Meanwhile, dance faces a number of challenges in this country. Says Gallias: «We need to improve education, for both dancers and choreographers; to secure financial aid, whether from the Ministry of Culture or from the private sector; to establish proper social security as well as include dance in state education. Each of these issues demands a separate debate.» Performances at the Katia Dandoulaki Theater began last Thursday with Yiannis Bagourdis’s Eresis troupe, while this week they will be dancing (from tomorrow until Friday) with Mariella Nestoras’s troupe, Yelp. Injured dancer On Sunday, a performance with 14 different dance ensembles, including Oktana, Sinequanon, and Roes, will be dedicated to dancer Matina Sarri, who suffered serious injuries in an accident recently (the evening’s proceeds will go toward Sarri’s rehabilitation). The rest of the program unfolds with the following performances: Regina Alexopoulou’s Iasis, and Tatiana Loverdou’s Parousia troupes will perform from May 29 to May 31; Lily Velissariou’s Vis Motrix, and Persa Stamatopoulou’s troupe take the stage from June 12 to June 14; Patricia Lazou’s ensemble will perform from June 17 to June 19; Maria Karaleka’s Met’Embodion and Maria Mavrogenis’s Akin dance from June 22 to June 24; Maria Gorgias’s Amalgam, from June 27 to June 29; Enniamorfo from July 2 to July 4 and Proschima, from July 7 to July 9. Five more dance ensembles will be incorporated into the program, with dates to be announced soon.