Portraying the legend as a human being

The life of dance innovator Isadora Duncan at the time she was living in Paris and involved in a relationship with the great poet of the Russian Revolution, Sergei Yesenin, is the period in which Martin Sherman’s play «When She Danced» unfolds. In a Greek first, the production is currently being staged at the Meli Theater, by the Ios Pandimos company. «When She Danced» is directed by Romanian Razvan Mazilu and stars Dimitra Hatoupi as Isadora Duncan, who is joined by David Malteze playing Sergei Yesenin. Sherman’s play gives the audience a behind-the-scenes look at Duncan stripped of her legendary status, as a person bursting with emotion. She is scared, she cries and she is vulnerable. «In this performance, we are called to bring to life a person, not a legend. It is clear to me that art and eroticism convey a much more powerful and intense message than language itself,» Mazilu told Kathimerini. «Isadora’s art is like a religion whose first goal was to brighten up the soul of those who take part in it.» Director and choreographer Mazilu is well known in Greece for the works he has staged along with Maia Morgenstern, as well as for his collaboration with Pandimos Ios. He is now staging this production which combines theater, music and dance. For her part, Dimitra Hatoupi tried to approach the role of Duncan through her body. «I tried to feel her through her wonderful personal way of expression. Duncan talked, communicated and existed through her body. It is no surprise that there is no evidence of her dance. When, toward the end of her life, a production company wanted to film and record her way of dancing, she refused. So the only things we have left are some photographs and paintings by well-known artists. The only evidence I have is the image of a tilted head, of hands held high toward the sky and of a body jumping into the void. I don’t know if these are sufficient to turn a legend into a human being, but they could well be.» At the Meli Theater (4 Fokeas & 87 Aristotelous, Victoria Square, tel 210.822.1111), Wednesdays to Sundays at 9.15 p.m.