Now in its 14th year, the Contemporary Dance Platform this week showcases all that is new in the sector in Cyprus says ALIX NORMAN
If there’s on area of the arts that’s definitely flourishingon the island, it’s dance. We are a people, it seems, who like to express ourselves through the medium of movement and music. Organised by both the Rialto Theatre and the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Contemporary Dance Platform has become a stand-out event on the arts calendar, an opportunity for Cypriot choreographers and artists to create and express themselves through the art of contemporary dance, delighting and informing audiences at the same time.
“Contemporary Dance is growing worldwide,” says Georgia Doetzer, Artistic Director of the Rialto. “And I feel it is especially important in Cyprus because it is a relatively new form, starting some 15 or 20 years ago. In many ways contemporary dance is easier for young people to relate to in comparison to, say, classical ballet; it has modern elements such as the music and the motion, the themes being dealt with and this makes it easier for its followers to view and understand.”
A popular form of dance that developed in the middle portion of the twentieth century, contemporary dance has since grown to become one of the dominating performance genres for formally trained dancers not just in Cyprus, but worldwide.
Originally informed by, and borrowing from, classical, modern and jazz styles, the form has since incorporated many different genres while remaining closely related to modern dance, ballet and other classical concert styles. Unpredictable changes in rhythm, speed and direction often typify contemporary dance performances, with each piece usually involving a choreographer who makes the creative decisions.
In the case of the Dance Platform, 10 of the 15 performances involve established choreographers whose work is well-known, not just on the island, but also abroad. “The Platform allows performers and choreographers to get the support they need to create and stage a new production,” Georgia continues, “giving both established and younger artists the chance to put up a new work without any complications. And in that a number of attendees will be festival organisers from a variety of European countries, the Platform also allows the younger performers the chance of an invitation to promote their work abroad.
“As organisers, we expect all the newer dancers to be at a very high level,” Georgia explains, “and we’re looking forward to seeing their finished pieces.” With the choreography still in progress up to the last minute, there is, as yet, no clear picture of most of the pieces. “And this is exactly how contemporary dance should work,” she adds. “It’s a process, an ongoing development that allows the dancers and choreographers complete freedom and independence.”
Running parallel to the performances, the three-day programme includes a number of other events organised by Dance House Lemesos, which will include a Master Class with Peggy Olislaeger on Saturday morning and a discussion with Italian choreographer and festival organiser Roberto Cassaroto. The same afternoon will see a performance by Μilena Ugren Koulas, while on Sunday there’s the chance to see a row of 15-minute extracts from some of the main pieces by well-known choreographers performed throughout the previous year.
Audiences will also have the chance to meet and interact with the artists following each day’s events: “Every evening the performers will be meeting at Paparouna, a new venue close to the premises of Dance House Lemesos, and everyone is very welcome to attend. And with the wrap party taking place at the venue on Sunday at 10.30pm, following the final performances, followers of contemporary dance will have the chance for a great discussion and a vibrant party,” adds Georgia.
Now in its 14th year, the Cyprus Contemporary Dance Platform is always a well-attended event in the cultural calendar, and this week’s happenings should be no different, with sell-out audiences for all 15 of the brilliant performances. The organisers are guaranteeing three days of unexpected creation and fantasy and, with such a variety of performances and related events on offer, there’s really no excuse for missing what promises to be areal highlight of the artistic year. Book your tickets now, and give yourself the chance to enjoy the best that the island has to offer in terms of contemporary dance.
The14th Cyprus Contemporary Dance Platform
Rialto Theatre in Limassol from March 7-9, with each evening’s performances starting at 20.30. Tickets €5 per night, or €10 for all performances (free entrance for dancers and choreographers, though seat reservation in advance is required). For ticket sales, further information and the full programme of events, contact Information and Reservations on 77 77 77 45, visit www.rialto.com.cy or www.cyprusdanceplatform.com