Gavriela Antonopoulou in Anastasia Valsamaki’s Body Monologue, at Summer Recollection Ljubljana 2021. Photo © Andrej Lamut

Body Monologue

Anastasia Valsamaki

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Under Ljubljana’s Fabiani Bridge, next to broken windows and graffiti, where echoes of ambient noise shake the foundation, we encounter the pristinely marleyed dance floor for Anastasia Valsamaki’s Body Monologue – newly site-specific for the Aerowaves audience.

Gavriela Antonopoulou, the soloist and co-creator of the work, enters this performance space and closes her eyes, attempting an inward focus amid the city’s traffic overhead. Neatly controlled, Antonopoulou reaches a flat palm towards us that slowly develops into asymmetrical, syncopated gestures, using her hands to manipulate parts of her body. Her elegant peach-coloured leotard and shorts hug her frame as she stretches her technical chops through contorted shoulder isolations, distorted classical lines, contractions and easy developpés, all in the contemporary dance idiom. She lets her ability speak for her, gently encouraged by the pulse of string instruments emanating from the speakers.

The environment may be rough-and-tumble; Body Monologue is anything but.

Zee Hartmann