In the heart of the economic crisis in Greece, in 2013, when everyone marvelled at the cultural-creative inventiveness in the face of harshening of sociopolitical conditions, Stegi-Onassis Foundation took the initiative to support young choreographers and create a showcase which would function as a springboard for upcoming and promising dance creators. Seven years later, the initial questions around the productivity of the ‘young’ and the future of the Greek dance scene remain valid – given that for years subsidies or any kind of financial support from the state were cut, leading to what for many seemed, paradoxically, a ‘proliferation of ideas’. Dancers/choreographers who were exposed to the dead-end of economic stagnation, found in this institutional framework a way to preserve hope and experiment with their own craft.
The choreographers who are selected to participate in this densely organised two-day festival don’t fit easily distinguishable criteria. Some are experienced dancers who attempt to choreograph for the first time. Others, already wearing the choreographer’s hat, search for ways to become more institutionally recognised: the Festival often works as an opening to further visibility, working opportunities and financial support. Despite the vagueness of ‘young’ or ‘upcoming’ and any limitations applied to the label ‘Greek’, the Festival has retained the ‘casualness’ of an open studio presentation, where the dance community gathers and explores or maybe seeks to question trends, find new references, accustom itself to the widening spectrum of choreography and dance. However, it is evident that sometimes in the process of ‘talent scouting’, the battle between institutions to name the ‘next big thing’ in the art business works against the very core idea behind the processual dissemination of practices that need time to flourish and evolve properly.
For this seventh edition, an open call for dance-writers was held, taking the whole initiative a step further; how do we talk about dance and how writing about/with dance can help acquaint ourselves with the particularities of the local scene and the ever-expanding horizon of dance experimentation. The writing programme was led by our Athens-based Springback contributors Anastasio Koukoutas and Betina Panagiotara, and by editor Sanjoy Roy; below are their reviews of five selected works from the eight presented at the New Choreographers Festival.