Greek tradition meets contemporary dance, in British choreographer Russell Maliphant’s new work titled “The Thread”. It is the thread that runs through time, connecting our present to the past and the Greek traditional dances with the vocabulary of contemporary movement. The Thread is the common cultural elements that connect different regions, despite the distance between them or their differences.
“Throughout the ages traditional dances were mixed with contemporary movement. As we go back in time, we see dance. In modern times we see movement. So we ravel and unravel these evolutions through dance, movement and light”, explains the choreographer.
The world-renowned choreographer studied the traditional Greek dances with the help of two Greek teachers, Eleni Spathia and Takis Karachalios, who introduced him several dances. He distinguished 15 kinetic motifs or excerpts from well-known dances like pentozali, maleviziotis tsamicos, etc. Maliphant worked on their expressiveness, their kinesiology and their physicality, their rhythm and their music.
He then combined the Greek motifs with contemporary dance elements, he countered them, thus creating an impressive result that basically offers a different, more intrusive look at the Greek tradition and its structural dance elements.
In this demanding endeavor, in this thread that unites two apparently different worlds, Maliphant worked for several months with 18 young Greek dancers: 12 contemporary and 6 traditional dancers. Through common rehearsals, the exchange of ideas and the dialogue, these two groups became one. The choreographer’s aim was to show that dance knows no boundaries and defies specific labels.
Multi-awarded Greek musician Vangelis Papathanasiou, a pioneer in electronic music, has composed the original music for the production. “The main drive that made me get involved in this venture was the thorough knowledge of the power of music as a divine power that preceded mankind combining it with dance as a primordial human expression; the co-existence at present of the two elements of my land’s cultural treasure; a holistic approach to mankind evolution”, says the Greek composer. Greek fashion designer Mary Katrantzou has designed the show’s costumes.
After a successful run in Britain and Italy, “The Thread” will be presented at the Movimentos festival in Germany on August 15-17 and then on August 24 at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, while in November, it will perform at the Athens Concert Hall.