Kala­mata dance fes­ti­val asks hard ques­tions, fo­cuses on the pos­i­tive

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY STAVROULA SKALIDI

What can be con­sid­ered revo­lu­tion­ary to­day? How can the hu­man body help bridge hu­man dif­fer­ences? Can the mar­riage be­tween tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary dance fa­cil­i­tate the need to re­think iden­ti­ties and no­tions in a rapidly chang­ing world? These and many more ques­tions of a philo­soph­i­cal na­ture are be­ing ad­dressed at this year’s Kala­mata In­ter­na­tional Dance Fes­ti­val, tak­ing place for the 23rd con­sec­u­tive year in the south­ern Pelo­pon­nesian city start­ing to­day and run­ning to Sunday, July 23.

The pro­gram fea­tures eight for­eign and four Greek con­tem­po­rary dance en­sem­bles, a sem­i­nar, three work­shops, two mas­ter­classes and six par­al­lel events, with the fes­ti­val spread­ing across dif­fer­ent venues around the city.

There will also be a spe­cial trib­ute to the cel­e­brated Greek chore­og­ra­pher Zouzou Nikoloudi (1917-2004), mark­ing 100 years since her birth. For Artis­tic Di­rec­tor Ka­te­rina Ka­sioumi, Nikoloudi was a revo­lu­tion­ary and vi­sion­ary artist who was in­stru­men­tal in shap­ing and rais­ing the bar for mod­ern dance in Greece, by show­ing pas­sion and hon­esty to­wards her art but also for young tal­ent.

Ka­sioumi also looks back on other fig­ures that played an im­por­tant role in shap­ing her ca­reer as a dancer and chore­og­ra­pher, say­ing that great teach­ers are able to pick out star stu­dents not for their phys­i­cal at­tributes, but for the spirit and strength they put into learn­ing their art in earnest. A dancer must also be an in­tel­lec­tual, she ar­gues, but one strik­ing a fine bal­ance so that the body is not over­looked.

One of the sem­i­nars that will be held as part of the fes­ti­val, “Isadora Dun­can’s Revo­lu­tion­ary Dance,” will be con­ducted by Bar­bara Kane with Fran­coise Rageau and San­dra Voul­gari, and will ad­dress how the famed chore­og­ra­pher turned dance into an ac­cept­able art form.

Another event worth not­ing is the per­for­mance of Adi Boutrous, a young artist who dances and chore­ographs a nar­ra­tive about the ex­pe­ri­ence of an Arab liv­ing in Tel Aviv. Boutrous has no il­lu­sions about dance’s abil­ity to bridge such vast dif­fer­ences, but be­lieves in its power to help over­come fear of the “Other.”

The self-funded artist’s piece is ti­tled “It’s Al­ways Here” and will be pre­sented in the same show with An­drea Costanzo Mar­tini’s “Scarabeo, An­gles and The Void.”

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