Two men and two women form a crisscross of coloured bodies (red, blue, greem) on pink and green op-art floor.


Dimitris Mytilinaios: Repair

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Pierre Magendie, Dimitris Mytilinaios, Konstantina Barkouli-Gavri and Amalia Kosma in Repair. Photo © Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2023
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A Greek work selected for international exposure is rich in ideas, whether as postmodern profusion, density of material or to fill a vacuum

Repair by emerging choreographer Dimitris Mytilinaios was one of the pieces selected by GRAPE (Greek Agora of Performing Arts), a strand of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival designed to promote Greek artists to the international scene.

Mytilinaios’ source of inspiration are three very different ballets: Nijinsky’s L’après-midi d’un Faune (1912), Gsovsky’s Grand Pas Classique (1949) and Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (1960). He unites them in a three-part work by playing with the idea of re-pairing as re-joining duets from each different ballet so that they become quartets that are performed in fluid configurations between two male and two female dancers. Movement practices (ballet, object-based improvisation, a bit of acrobatic yoga, a few pilates-based sequences and social dancing), plus music fragments from the well-known ballet scores fused with electroacoustic compositions – all swirl in a postmodern pastiche in accord with the Op(tical) art patterns covering the dance floor. Iconic two-dimensional shapes from L’après-midi d’un Faune get unfrozen, multiplied, entangled and inverted in back flips. A wooden long stick is used as a portable barre in many different ways; tennis balls thrown to dancers and audience recall the introduction of Nijinsky’s ‘tennis ballet’ Jeux; ‘tours fouettés’ become ‘tours of light’ as light rays become extensions of the dancers’ turning bodies in a dark set with smoke that flirts with the aesthetics of clubbing.

Repair is so rich in creative ideas that the slogan of postmodern architecture ‘less is a bore’ (also applicable to performing arts) stands as a useful reference to describe the inclusion and fragmentation of ideas unfolding on stage, rather than their exclusion according to the modernist dictum of ‘less is more’. Yet I was left wondering if the dense choreography was an artistic choice to align with postmodern ideas, or just an expression of, to borrow a term this time from visual art, horror vacui (‘the fear of empty spaces’). Perhaps both. But in the meantime, Repair managed to playfully restore something of the three ballets’ forgotten glory – in itself no easy task for an emerging choreographer.

The bottom line: A vivid re-visit of the ballet repertory straddling superfluity and complexity
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09/07/23 at Peiraios 260, Athens, Greece
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Choreography: Dimitris Mytilinaios
Music: Lambros Pigounis
Lighting design: Dimitris Kasimatis
Costume design: Angelos Mentis
Make-up/hairstyling: Ioanna Lygizou
Assistant to the choreographer: Elena Novakovic
Performers: Konstantina Barkouli-Gavri, Amalia Kosma, Pierre Magendie, Dimitris Mytilinaios
Production: howtomakeyourlifeharder
Executive production: Olga Tsatsouli
Funded by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and supported by the NEON Organisation for Culture and Development

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