Ballet / Dance


Ioannis Mandafounis / Ermira Goro / Konstantinos Rigos


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The Greek National Opera Ballet presents a modern dance triptych in collaboration with three acclaimed choreographers, Ioannis Mandafounis, Ermira Goro and Konstantinos Rigos, director of the ensemble. The choreographies hover between classical and modern style, giving the dancers of the GNO Ballet a chance to experiment with new, smaller-scale forms; meanwhile, the music by Giorgos Koumendakis, Dimitra Trypani and Dimitri Terzakis is played live by distinguished musicians.

In Point of No Return, the internationally recognised dancer and choreographer Ioannis Mandafounis composes a modern piece out of dance elements deeply rooted in the tradition of classical ballet. In tune with the music of Giorgos Koumendakis, the GNO Ballet dancers focus on the transparency and authenticity of their moves via the arsenal of classical ballet steps. Although the group experience of their bodies reveals an extremely classical choreographical approach, one may discern the personal identity of the performers as well as a particularly modern treatment of presence and interpretation of movement – obvious elements that indicate the choreographer’s regular touch. “Guided by the title Point of No Return, this dance piece highlights classical technique as performed by a dancer of today, without falsifying it. Joy, communication, complex choreography and performing immediacy are some of the elements presented by the dancers and shared with the public”, according to Ioannis Mandafounis. Giorgos Koumendakis’ music, both in Point of No Return for string quartet (2008, dedicated to the Kronos Quartet) and in Typewriter Tune for violin solo (2004), follows the example of the “anonymous” folksong creators, “recasting or recomposing traditional musical themes while retaining their energy and subtlety, the authenticity of their primordial model, their pulse and their soul”.

Ermira Goro, a movement and dance theatre performer always in search for new forms of researching and communicating her ideas, says about the choreography of Plan B: “Plan B is a choreographic experiment on rigorously structured, asymmetrical sonic forms. The dancers move through space in a constantly shifting flux from the particular to the abstract and vice-versa. Plan B, because Plan A proved impossible and Plan C is already taking place”. In tandem, the composer Dimitra Trypani likens her music to a “sonic impression of an imaginary videogame in a single-level environment which is to be traversed by the player. However, within this level, there are many ‘trap-rooms’ in quick, unexpected succession, often without warning. The player’s goal, of course, is to survive until they exit the last ‘trap-room’ of the game”.

Finally, the GNO Ballet director Konstantinos Rigos bases his choreography for the third part of this “alternative journey” on three works by the accomplished Greek-German composer Dimitri Terzakis, beginning with the delicate Sprüche im Wind (Words in the Wind, 2009), consisting of ten brief, succinct “haikus” for violin and piano. The work is dedicated to the violinist Danae Papamattheou-Matschke. The next two pieces are inspired respectively by modern Greek history and by the legacy of ancient Greece. The work Der Hölle Nachklang I (Resonance of Hell I, 1992), for alto saxophone and piano, constitutes the composer’s emotionally charged reaction (“though without any feelings of hate”, as he notes) to his unbearable childhood memories of the German Occupation of Greece during his early childhood in Athens in the years 1941-1944. The third piece, Lieder ohne Worte (Songs without Words), a vocal work from 1994 presented here in its recent version for solo viola (2017), is an apotheosis of melody based on the musical system of antiquity. The composer notes: “To present the infinitesimal melodic nuances and rapidly changing characters, the interpretation of this composition may and must be endlessly free, poetic, song-like, speech-like and, yes, ‘old-fashioned’ – like in the theatre of ancient Greece”.

Filmed at the Stavros Niarchos Hall of the GNO at the SNFCC on 7 and 9 February 2021.


Creative team – Cast

Point of No Return

Choreographer, costume supervisor Ioannis Mandafounis
Music Giorgos Koumendakis
Lighting designer Christos Tziogkas

Cast Jovanka Zarić, Elena Kekkou, Margarita Kostoglou, Anna-Maria Markopoulou, Ayuka Nitta, Rina Shimada, Eleftheria Stamou, Rea Tsantouri
Stelios Katopodis
Yannis Gantsios, Cristian Luce, Ángel Martínez Sánchez, Yannis Mitrakis, Giordano Bozza, Elton Dimroci, George Hadjopoulos

Antonis Sousamoglou (violin I, solo violin)
David Bogorad (violin II)
Athanassios Sourgounis (viola)
Yannis Stefos (cello)

Plan B

Choreographer Ermira Goro
Music Dimitra Trypani
Set & costume designer Christos Delidimos
Lighting designer Christos Tziogkas

Cast Elena Kekkou, Ayuka Nitta, Eleftheria Stamou, Rea Tsantouri, Zoi Schinoplokaki
Yannis Gantsios, Yannis Mitrakis, Elron Dimroci, George Papadopoulos

Antonis Sousamoglou (violin I)
David Bogorad (violin II)
Athanassios Sourgounis (viola)
Yannis Stefos (cello) 

Lieder ohne Worte

Choreographer, set designer Konstantinos Rigos
Music Dimitri Terzakis
Costume designer Yiorgos Mesimeris
Lighting designer Christos Tziogkas
Associate architect Mary Tsangari

Cast Eleana Andreoudi, Emilia Gaspari, Maria Kousouni
Giorgos Varvariotis, Danilo Zeka, Vaggelis Bikos, Stratos Papanousis, Igor Siadzko

Guido de Flaviis (alto saxophone)
Stefanos Nasos (piano)
Antonis Sousamoglou (violin)
Angela Giannaki (viola)

Film production company DK Films

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