The evolution of contemporary dance through time as well as its latest manifestations will be brought to the stage next month with the hosting of the 19th Cyprus Contemporary Dance Festival (CCDF) in Nicosia and Limassol.
Award winning international dance performers will shortly be arriving from The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, the Czech Republic and Israel, and will be on the bill alongside Cypriot groups.
“I believe that good dance is a conversation: the dancers converse through movement with each other on stage and through the performance, open up a dialogue with the audience,” says Rachel Erdos from Rachel Erdos and Dancers from Israel.
Award winning Erdos will open the festival with Black/White’ in Limassol on June 1 and again in Nicosia on June 3. She’s been creating professionally since 2006 and together with her group, aims to make work that is physical, visual and emotive: “dancing is a way of investigating how we feel and what makes us act the way we do”, says Erdos.
Using precision as a movement style and lots of partnering work between same sex dancers, Black/White is a combination of the work Hevel and The Man Upstairs. The all male cast explores masculinity, sexuality and faith.
Contemporary dance is a popular art form which developed during the mid 20th century by combining elements of jazz, classical ballet and modern dance to create one of the most dominant genres of formally trained dance throughout the world. Via the relationship of fluid dance movements, sound, space and time, contemporary dancers strive to connect the mind with the body to create a piece that will affect the viewer.
The festival, co-organised by the Ministry of Education and the Rialto Theatre in collaboration with the embassies and cultural centres of participating countries, gives attendees the opportunity to enjoy six performances in Limassol and four in Nicosia.
On the international front, performances will be staged by Leineroebana’s Andrea Leine and Harijono Roebana from The Netherlands with GhostTrack, an unconventional dance where Indonesia meets the Netherlands and the elements of contemporary and traditional melt together into something new. Germany’s Cooperativa Maura Morales will perform Sisyphos Has Been a Woman, while Switzerland’s Da Motus! dancers Antonio Bühler and Brigitte Meuwly will perform Soufflé. This has been described as “a striking, exquisitely composed choreographic work”. The Czech Republic’s award winning Vertedance, Jiri Havelka, Clarinet Factory and Veronika Knytlova perform Correction, while the international line-up is completed by France’s Compagnie 100 Issues with Valo Hollenstein, Vincent Maggioni, Cyril Pernot and Lorca Renoux performing Sonate pour 4 Cheins.
The four groups representing Cyprus at the Festival will open the festival in Nicosia on June 1. They are En Drasi featuring Evi Demetriou performing The More You Dance the More You Get; Alexander Michael with Complex Foreverafter; Amfidromo Chorotheatro with Elena Christodoulidou performing Frontears; and Fotis Nikolaou with These Gentle Hearts are Like Shot Birds Falling.
Originally from Cyprus, Nikolaou waltzed into dancing late in life, aged 20, and hasn’t stopped for the past 26 years. Although he now has a dance company X-it Dancetheatre based in Athens, Nikolaou attends this festival as a freelance independent choreographer. “Dancing is my refuge, my playground, my field of expression and communication. It’s my means of connecting with others, sharing my thoughts and above all my doubts; it’s my emotional and political voice,” he says. “It’s also where I rest my deepest secrets and desires and explore them, filter them and redefine them to help me understand and accept them”.
Nikolaou explains that his performance is a poetic pagan ritual on the idea of co-existence, belonging and the need for partnership, love and oneness. It’s set to take place among a pack of wolves where they attempt a journey to find their companions and themselves.
He addresses the stigma surrounding contemporary dance as being an elite and specialised art form; communicating only with the people in the know. “I believe that dancing is the easiest and most direct art form, since it doesn’t have a particular language that you need to know; it’s not dogmatic or absolute but intends to evoke and provoke emotions and thoughts to the audience without directing them. It’s an open form of art that allows the audience to reflect their own selves and thoughts into the performance. So, with dance you don’t really need to know anything to become an active spectator but simply to be open and committed to go along with what you see and allow your emotions to respond accordingly,” explains Nikolaou.
19th Cyprus Contemporary Dance Festival
All performances start at 8.30pm. Tickets cost €5 individually or €20 for all performances. Free admission for students, soldiers, pensioners and dance professionals. Bookings via: www.rialto.com.cy, Rialto Theatre 77777745 or Pallas Theatre 22 410181 (only on the day of the performance from 7pm) Free transport from Nicosia to Limassol departs from the Cyprus Handicraft Centre (Athalassas Avenue) at 19.15, (99 618225)