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Sexpectations are high

By Alix Norman

Dance House Lemesos is back this week with another series of events, and sexpectations are high. Pause. Check. No, that wasn’t a typo. In 2015, the 6th Open House International Festival Of Dance and Performance has chosen to interpret a particularly interesting facet of human expression, our sexuality, hence the series’ title: Sexpectations.

“This year,” say organisers, “the Open House Festival will present dance and performance works that deal with the sexual and the sensual body on stage. A body on stage is a body exposed, but it can also be a body which physicalises a make-believe reality which can perhaps inspire a possibility for change in our normal lives, or create some kind of prospect for hope, or inspire a new idea, or stimulate a forgotten sensation, or even awake the potential for an old dream to miraculously come true. Thus, Sexpectations includes art that comments and plays in ‘turn off or turn on’ ways with themes of sexual identity and its many different labels, with its kinds of orientation, its ability to role play and create fantasies, with its nature to invent positions, trends and styles.”

With a total of six main performances (as well as a number of related workshops, talks and screenings running parallel to the main event) over the course of the week, Sexpectations focuses on “art that is different from porn or any other activities proposed by the mainstream sex industry”. And it’s a body of work that will challenge spectators “on matters of physical taboos, to question the don’ts and shoulds and shouldn’ts and to witness many ‘must try in this lifetime games’ which, at the end of the day, all come down to the essence of all living creatures: the desire to communicate!”

Programmed by the renowned Lia Haraki (choreographer, dancer, lecturer and initiator of Dance House Lemesos), the series sees choreographers and artists from Hungary, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Cyprus sharing their works with local audiences. And it all begins this very evening, with a performance by Hodworks of Hungary, entitled Conditions of Being a Mortal…

Originally presented in 2014, the work sees four talented dancers in choreographer Adrienn Hód’s production of “physicality woven into a chain of emotion,” as “splinters of sexuality, arias of impulsive gasps, a game of robust yet refined and sensitive humour, negate taboos in a negotiation between heaven and earth, and a triumph over prosaic urban reality”. The piece ends in a discussion with the choreographer herself, before the official launch party outside the Technochoros ETHAL theatre, which is open to all.

The following day sees two major events: the start of Bush Hatshorn’s five-day workshop for dance artists entitled Giving and Receiving Feedback, and the presentation of a number of works in progress by artists Julia Brendle, Kalia Maliali and Ariana Marcoulides under the framework of the Dance House Lemesos residency programme. Tuesday brings a number of video dance screenings from international artists (curated by Gitta Wigro and Lia Haraki) taking place at on Genethliou Mitella Str (opposite the Old Vinegar Factory), while Wednesday sees both The Embodiment of Pleasure. Intimate (Inter)Actions – an open workshop with Alexis Vasiliou – and a talk by Zelia Gregoriou entitled A Body on Stage is a Body S-Exposed: Towards a Theatrical Condition of Epigenetics.

Thursday brings us I Cure at the Rialto, an “interactive healing performance which can free the audience from all psychological or physical difficulties” by Ivo Dimchev of Bulgaria, in a piece that “offers opportunities for therapy through several scenes that push the limits of live performance”. And both

Friday and Saturday see performances of In a Nutshell by Eleana Alexandrou, a work that has its origins in her ongoing “research on gender, identity and sexuality”.

The series ends on Sunday with three events: a discussion with Alexandrou at 7pm; a performance of Field (in which “limbs tangle like tentacles, as the dancers cling to and struggle with each other”) choreographed by Tabea Martin of Switzerland at 8.30; and the closing party at 10pm. So, if the exploration of sexuality through dance sounds like your sort of thing, head down to Limassol at some point this week. Because, organisers say: “A body on stage is a body s-exposed…. hopefully to an ‘excited’ audience!”

6th Open House International Festival of Dance and Performance
By Dance House Lemesos. September 20-27 at a variety of locations around Limassol. While some events are free, tickets cost €8 (dance professionals, students, Rialto members), €10, or €25 for all shows and side events. For more information, tickets and bookings, call 99 517910 or 25 340618, or visit dancehouse.com.cy. Many of the performances are suitable only for those aged 18 and over

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