Zoi Dimitriou

Works

Peregrinus

About

The English term 'pilgrim' originally comes from the Latin word peregrinus, which means a foreigner, a stranger, someone on a journey, or a temporary resident. It can describe a traveller making a brief journey to a particular place or someone settling for a short or long period in a foreign land. Peregrinatio was the state of being or living abroad.

'Peregrinus' is a site-specific performance/installation, which explores the act of walking, and of being 'abroad', for performer and audience alike.

The audience's journey begins in a van to the performance venue. Along the route, recorded voices speak of real experiences of peregrination and pilgrimage, of heightened senses and a longing for familiarity. Once at the site of the installation, the audience is invited to walk through a structure that echoes a labyrinth, in which they become both spectator and pilgrim. The performer, also part of this journey, appears and disappears, acting as the catalyst for unexpected turns and deviations.

What if the starting point for this journey is refusal? Walking defines a direction but the end point is never achieved. What if the contemporary invitation is not to leave your bed and walk but to pick up your bed and walk? In other words, to take with us in our mobility an anomalous stillness; and to walk alongside our supine, horizontal and impulsive selves. Each new step a fall or a stumble, caught up, recovering, in dance.

[work in progress]

About

This work in progress is developed over The Blank Canvas Residency in July 2015 at Firkin Crane, Ireland and belongs to an early stage of development for a new full-evening production. It is an installation/performance work specific to the place/space it is presented.

Credits

Concept, Choreography
Zoi Dimitriou
Performers
Zoi Dimitriou & Henry Montes (for R&D period)
Dramaturgical Support
Katalin Trencsényi

Dates

  • 7 March 2016, Research Studio, Siobhan Davies Dance, London, (GB)
  • 8-13 February 2016, Residency, Isadora & Raymond Duncan Research Dance Center, Athens, (GR)
  • 10 December 2015, Work in progress, Parallax06, Moving Sound: The Performer In Space, ICA, London, (GB)
  • 13-24 July 2015, Blank Canvas Residency, Firkin Crane, Cork, (IE)

[full-evening version]

About

Produced by Onassis Cultural Centre Athens (Fast Forward Festival). Supported by Firkin Crane, Laban Theatre, Metal Southend and the Duncan Research Centre for Dance.

Credits

Concept, Artistic Direction, Choreography, Performance
Zoi Dimitriou
Set Design, Costume Design
Eva Manidaki
Lighting Design
Eleftheria Deko
Sound Design
CotiK
Dramaturgy
Joe Kelleher
Artistic Consultation
Peter Von Salis
Research, Interviews
Betina Panagiotara, Zoi Dimitriou
Production
Delta Pi Productions and Arts Management
Location Scouting
Dimitris Chalkiadakis
Associate Architect
Efthymios Dougkas
Assistant to Set Designer
Myrto Megaritou
Associate Producer
Lia Prentaki

Dates

  • 20-23 July 2017, Firkin Crane, Cork, (IE)
  • 10-14 May 2017, Premiere, Fast Forward Festival, Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, (GR)

The Chapter House

About

What does it mean to be a creator, and what does it take to make or remake an art work in and for the digital age? 'The Chapter House' is an interdisciplinary dance piece featuring intricate choreography by Zoi Dimitriou coupled with video installation by Mark Coniglio, inventor of Isadora software and co-director of the group Troika Ranch. This new perspective-shifting collaboration is a seductively ambiguous examination of the acts of performing and documentation. Dimitriou's aim is to expose the processes and mechanics of creation by using digital media to record, re-construct and re-enact a live performance. In 'The Chapter House' she's inviting you to gaze back at the body of her work and discover how meaning can be revealed and transformed.

Commissioned by Trinity Laban. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England, with further support from dancedigital, Duncan Research Center for Dance (GR) and dance-tech Berlin/Lake Studios.

Credits

Concept, Choreography
Zoi Dimitriou
Video Design, Composition
Mark Coniglio
Performers
Mark Coniglio/David McCormick, Zoi Dimitriou
Lighting Design
Michael Mannion
Music
Pluramon, Conlon Nancarrow, Ave Maria (Caccini)
Project Manager
Ellie James
Production Manager
Stuart Brindle/Eric Lund
Production
Zoi Dimitriou Company, Jih Wen Yeh

Dates

  • 12 April 2016, Laban Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 4 March 2016, Digital Echoes Conference, Coventry University, (GB)
  • 26 November 2015, Laban Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 9 September 2015, TaPRA Conference 2015, Worcester University, (GB)
  • 2 October 2014, Premiere, Laban Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 27 April 2014, Work in Progress, dancedigital Festival 2014, University of Bedfordshire, (GB)

Reviews

Zoi Dimitriou's The Chapter House Returns to Laban Theatre, Maya Pindar, 14 April 2016

Athens-born Zoi Dimitriou brings The Chapter House back to Laban for a fresh perspective on choreographic processes, meaning and digital media. Combining pieces from previous works, Dimitriou's The Chapter House is nostalgic while still boldly unique.

Before the work has even begun, we know minimalism will be key. The stage is strung with washing lines, piles of linen and paper are neatly stacked and a music stand sits expectantly downstage.

Mark Coniglio, inventor of Isadora Software (real-time interactive software) creates the digital structure of the work. Coniglio films Dimitriou's spoken word and snappy poses, before transferring the images to a laptop onstage. He shifts quickly as she dips in and out of floor work, and speaks in a strange foreign tongue in front of the music stand. He pushes the camera invasively close to her and then suddenly darts backwards, capturing Dimitriou from different angles.

Her phrase of snappy poses is later repeated and developed, this time the movements are sinuous and gooey against the backdrop of Caccini's Ave Maria. We can see Dimitriou layering repetition and mirroring - a clear open window into her choreographic process. But none of this makes sense yet.

The Chapter House may not be for the easily distracted, but for those of us who do feel lost finding meaning in the choreography, Dimitriou's dynamic range is simply something else. Her lines are clean and crisp, and then suddenly she curls her spine into creature-like undulations and contortions. If nothing else, we are happy just watching her move.

In deafening silence, Conigilio pegs sheets onto suspended washing lines, forming five makeshift screens. Onto these, pulsing images of Dimitriou's repeated poses, curling spines and sinuous floor work are projected. Deafening silence turns to rumbling electronic whirring and pounding mechanical sounds, interrupted by a recording of Dimitriou's voice. She explains, disjointedly, the five "chapters" of the work - mythos, agape, love, ptosis, and crisis, while broken sentences are projected onto a moving washing line of pegged paper.

All at once, Coniglio's invasive filming, the strange spoken word, and repeated motifs make perfect sense. The unknown language is simply Dimitriou's playful experimentation with sounds and words. And Coniglio's nostalgic images appear like flashing memories, muddled by an unfaithful mind. In an age that consumes and obsesses with technology, The Chapter House breathes life into minimalism and digital media. Dimitriou creates a multifaceted and highly detailed work that opens up new avenues in British post-modern dance.

If you can accept the challenge of The Chapter House, Dimitriou is well worth watching.

Zoi Dimitriou - The Chapter House - London, Graham Watts, 6 October 2014, dancetabs.com

This deconstruction of the art of creating choreography sets a new benchmark for a retrospective look at an artist's body of work. By opening up the processes of her creativity and remaking aspects of that work in association with the expansive potential of new media, Zoi Dimitriou invites us to look back at her past ideas while at the same time making something entirely new. The Chapter House succeeds in being both a "Greatest hits…" reflection on Dimitriou's extant choreography but delivered in the context of having created something absolutely novel. It is unusual to find complete innovation in dance performance and Dimitriou's concept was vaguely reminiscent of Siobhan Davies' "Table of Contents", a live movement installation piece performed at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Arnolfini Gallery earlier this year. But, whereas Table of Contents was essentially about rekindling shared archival memories of how Davies' work was created, The Chapter House provides a minimalist aroma of Dimitriou's past choreography repackaged into a new and bigger idea. And it is a concept that goes well beyond dance alone, through the interaction of Dimitriou's pared-down choreography with a live video installation created by her co-performer, Mark Coniglio, an acknowledged pioneer in the integration of dance and digital media.

Coniglio invented the Isadora software, a real-time manipulation of digital imagery that provides the controlling structural environment for The Chapter House. In the opening sections, Dimitriou's movement is captured and communicated to an on-stage computer and then, in the concluding part, many images are simultaneously relayed through a single projector onto various media, from sheets of paper pegged on a downstage line to five large cotton sheets hung out like it was washday at a boarding house. Altogether, there must have been as many as 60 separate images being projected simultaneously through one outlet and for a non-"techy" such as me (who still thinks PowerPoint is amazing), it was a mind-blowing concept that so many images could be relayed in a single format!

This multiple projection of digital imagery appeared also to provide a metaphor for Dimitriou's own lithe body - sensibly dressed in grey trousers and a pale smock-type blouse - as she remembered and projected snatches of five works she has made over the past eight years. Her physical performance was taken full circle as Coniglio filmed her with a tablet on an extended baton, replaying the film as part of the process of recording and re-enacting the live performance. His interaction with Dimitriou, following and filming her from different angles also meant that every performance of The Chapter House is going to be intriguingly different and each will leave behind its own legacy.

Rather than performing literal sketches from her past work - I recall seeing and reviewing both Dromi and Goddesses in Exile (both in 2008) - Dimitriou creates a flavour of them, in largely contemplative, tranquil sequences almost as if she prepares and then sets a series of interlinked tableaux. When she suddenly bursts into sections of quicker movement it is with a feline slinkiness, as smooth as it is swift, her arms and spine rippling with the undulating quality of sand slipping down a dune. Coniglio works with Dimitriou in certain set duets. At one point, he films her twice as she falls heavily to the stage but on the third occasion he helps her to stand before pushing her away when it happens again. In one memorable sequence, Coniglio's performance capability was stretched beyond his comfort zone as both performers followed a detailed pattern of passing their hands around each other's aura. An error in this intimate, complex set of hand/arm movements and patterns would have been forgivable for a man who is primarily a composer and digital artist and not a dancer but - to the credit of both performers - the series was completed seamlessly.

The work begins with the two walking along lines carefully marked out by Michael Mannion's impactful lighting, eventually meeting centre stage and following a detailed choreographic process in which a bottle of water is used to wash Dimitriou's hands before her co-performer dries the stage with a cloth. Each section is introduced by spoken text, delivered by Dimitriou standing downstage right, reading in a strange language. My initial thoughts were that this may be Greek or some Slavic tongue but this quickly changed through the realisation that each word was being pronounced with a careful individuality, not flowing as if in a complete sentence, followed by the recognition that each section of text appeared to end with the words "Red Patch", or after further contemplation "Ret pahc" - otherwise, "Chapter" in reverse. As Dimitriou finishes each section of backwards English, she hangs the pages of text on a line and after all the text has been delivered, unpegs the pages, one by one, allowing them to fall to the floor as if this action represents her letting go of each work. But, it is not letting go, since the closing sequence of the hour-long piece brings the spoken text back in the live projection of her words - this time with letters the right way around - beamed onto new sheets of paper that Dimitriou pegs to a moving line. I'm no technician but the precision of where each sheet was pegged must have been crucial to ensuring that each set of words appeared in the correct place and was legible. At the same time, the images filmed earlier by Coniglio were projected onto the five cotton sheets, which had been unfolded and laid out on the stage as part of the performance, while a main red image occupied the upstage backdrop.

Dimitriou is a conceptual artist and academic (she teaches at Trinity Laban where she gained her own postgraduate degree, back in 2005) for whom the exploration of contemporary artistic expression appears to be a fascinating - if not endless - journey. Until now, dance - largely interpreted through minimalist but intensely detailed dance theatre - has been her principal outlet and while movement remains at the core of The Chapter House it is now aligned to the multifarious shifting perceptions that are enabled through this intimate collaboration with the sharp-edged designs of digital media. It opens up endless potential, breathing new life and ambiguous meaning into an archive of past work, while creating a documented record of these passing moments and an ever-changing landscape for future examination. The Chapter House creates a seamless alliance between the serious academic representation and interpretation of dance and the pure enjoyment of a theatrical performance which stimulates enquiring minds to consider the process and purpose of the art being conveyed. It is not for the easily-bored but presents a challenge that I can heartily recommend.

Alice Robotham, 3 October 2014, londondance.com

They say "When one chapter closes another one begins". In the case of The Chapter House, Zoi Dimitriou reopens all her past chapters, to create a whole new book. By reconstructing five pieces from her back catalogue of work, Dimitriou examines what it means to be a creator of art. However she doesn't work alone, inviting Isadora software creator Mark Coniglio to perform on stage with her, video documenting the experience.

Before the performance even starts the stage intrigues. Cables are suspended across it like washing lines, complete with redundant pegs. In one corner is a music stand laden with pages, in the other, a laptop on a desk. Soft lighting fills the stage floor to outline a square, giving the illusion of a domestic boxing ring. There certainly seemed to be an underlying fight in the political flux between Coniglio and Dimitriou. Chapter 1 saw Coniglio subservient to Dimitriou, offering her water from all fours. In another chapter they face one another, mirroring hand gestures, then the tables turn as Coniglio shadows Dimitriou, recording her moves with an iPad. For the best part of the performance Dimitriou appeared to dictate the flow, beginning each section by approaching the stand and reading out words (in an incomprehensible language), before pegging the pages to cables in front of her. Transitions between chapters were not only marked by a return to a variation of their original positions but also by subtle light alterations and not so subtle sound shifts (metronomic beats, silence, techno/choral mash up and more).

For a piece that draws on nostalgia and comments on creativity it was surprisingly light on emotion. Whilst delivered with dignity and consideration, the performance felt so measured that any spontaneity or sentiment often associated with creative processes was lost. The penultimate section did well then to pull the plot together as video flashbacks of her activity were projected onto sheet screens hanging from the cables on stage. It was here that Coniglio seemed to regain some control, manipulating Dimitriou's work with a technological twist. Paired with an ominous mechanical soundtrack, these flashing sepia toned images acted as pages of a kinetic photo album for the work just performed. As the images were projected, Dimitriou also revealed the themes for each chapter in the piece: the "traditional" Mythos; Agape , the dance for "love"; Ptosis "the fall"; critical change in Crisis and finally the resurrection in Anastasis. Here we finally get a sense of purpose behind the physical narrative and Dimitriou's motivation as a whole. It would have been the perfect epilogue had Dimitriou not indulged in a final dancing phrase.

Having each chapter's identity at the end, lead to some memory jogging of my own. I found myself trying to link the previous movement with the themes just revealed. A clever tactic by Dimitriou, perhaps acknowledging the need to attach meaning to our past: contrasting what is created then to what is created now. Coniglio's video composition supported this, transforming the drawn out and at times tedious stages into a montage of intriguing mini narratives. We also discover that the indecipherable language spoken at the beginning of each chapter is in fact words spoken backwards. Although there was plenty of action on stage it was therefore the intangible processes that gave depth to the piece, from how Coniglio recreated the story to how we responded to it. Dimitriou may have made us work hard, but the results were enlightening.

Alice Robotham is a writer and dance enthusiast who also writes for The Wonderful World of Dance and her own dance blog


Series of S(h)orts

About

'Series of S(h)orts' is a series of short improvisations with invited guest artists and built around current topics of enquiry as part of Golive Dance and Performance Festival curated by Donald Hutera in London (GB).

Dates

  • 8 March 2016, The Death of the Swan, DJ: Simone Sistarelli, Dancer: Zoi Dimitriou
  • 14 June 2015, Marching Bands, Recorded improvised text by and courtesy of: Julyen Hamilton, Dancer: Zoi Dimitriou
  • 7 June 2015, Movement & Songs, Dancers: Mata Sakka, Zoi Dimitriou
  • 6 June 2015, Movement & Resonance, Dancers: Mata Sakka, Zoi Dimitriou

DRafting Togetherness, Urban Project

About

'DRafting Togetherness' (research phase in August 2015 in Syros, Greece).

The crisis in Greece has proved it necessary to not only pose important questions of solidarity but also to practice new ways of learning how to live, think, and learn together. The recent European rhetorics of guilt and blame reflect this shortcoming of a common practice: in the end we all do sit in the same boat. Now the first question is not who is rowing the boat, but how do we keep it up and running, how to keep it waterproof in times when tides are getting higher than we seem to be able to deal with. Thus the question is not anymore who are the ones who steer (who is the captain?), who are the ones who are said to be parasitic (blind passengers), but rather: how to construct such a boat in order to make it through stormy weathers of political and social crisis? We would like to interpret this question not just metaphorically but take it at face value by building a vessel together.

Silke Bake (D), Ash Bulayev (USA), Zoi Dimitriou (GR), and Peter Stamer (D), being artists from the fields of choreography, performance, and theatre want to conduct the first phase of their research project on creating communality on Syros in August 2015. In a series of meetings, encounters, working sessions both situated in the Akropoditi dance centre and in town, we want to undertake preliminary steps towards the building of floating structures in 2016. In this research phase in summer 2015, we want to get acquainted with the actual circumstances the crisis has produced and develop practical methods of collaboration that base upon the following assumptions:

  • By implementing an objective of and for collaboration we create togetherness and communality with the means of artistic tools
  • By negotiating of what it needs to bring this boat or raft afloat we learn more about techniques and practices of ourselves and each other than any kind of political rhetorics can provide us with
  • By working with a multi-disciplinary, socially and culturally heterogenous group of people we understand more about political processes than listening to so called decision makers
  • By learning together we give each other the chance to overcome the arrogance of those who seem to know better and the ignorance of those who'd rather abstain from committing themselves

Thus since we are steered by the conviction that sharing practices exercise democracy and agonistic togetherness we are convinced that this project takes a noteworthy stand on the challenges the economic crisis imposes on contemporary Greece and its citizens.

Supported by Bundeskanzleramt in Austria and Akropoditi Dance Centre in Syros, Greece.


Tomorrow in a cup

About

'Tomorrow in a cup' takes as its starting point the ritual of coffee reading. In the grounds of the Greek coffee at the bottom of a cup, three performers search for pieces of the future: interpreting symbols and retrieving memories and experiences from the past. Their clairvoyant readings are expressed through movement and text. The context of coffee reading becomes the occasion for a meeting between strangers where the fictional interweaves with the factual and the personal experience is transposed to the common.

'Tomorrow in a cup' is a performance event which aims to introduce the unusual, at least for the countries of Western Europe, practice of coffee reading as the starting point for a different type of gathering and simultaneously explore the importance of ritual and the integration of traditional elements to contemporary art. Through this event, choreographer Zoi Dimitriou wants to present her artistic trajectory and how it is re-enacted in the present through imaginative ways of interpreting symbols and pose further questions for discussion with the audience about current creative practices and issues of 'reading' contemporary art works.

"What is a form that is relational? All form is a face looking at us-summoning me to dialogue with it" - Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, Les Presses du Reel.

Credits

Concept, Artistic Direction, Choreography
Zoi Dimitriou
Choreography, Performance
Aggeliki Dalaggeli, Kostantinos Karvouniaris, Marianna Karava
Theory, Research
Dr Christina Kostoula
Production Manager
Giannis Kiritsis
Production
Zoi Dimitriou Company as part of IETM plenary meeting in Athens 2013

Dates

  • 19 October 2013, Café 'I Orea Hellas', Athens, (GR)
  • 18 October 2013, Café 'I Orea Hellas', Athens, (GR)
  • 17 October 2013, Café 'I Orea Hellas', Athens, (GR)

You may!

About

"A scaffold supporting different surfaces on which we can project our desires, a series of open possibilities where the rules are made up in the exchanges between two performers, and the audience." - Zoi Dimitriou.

A woman and a man fall.

Is it their wish to do so?

Are they challenged by the gaze of the other?

Or by the witnessing spectators?

Inspired by Chris Marker's photographic science fiction film 'La Jetée', 'You May!' is a dance theatre work that asks what it is to live in contemporary society, where the old paradigm of "you can, because you must" has been inverted to "you must, because you can". Using sound, set and lighting, this interdisciplinary piece offers the spectators propositions in the settings of imagination, desire and risk. Involving interactive stage elements for the performers to engage with and challenge each other within the realms of the environment that they have been implemented in.

Commissioned by The Onassis Cultural Centre and Laban Theatre. Supported by Arts Council of England, The Place, Arnolfini, Bristol Dance Consortium, British Council of Greece, and the Isadora & Raymond Duncan Research Dance Centre in Greece.

Credits

Artistic Direction, Choreography
Zoi Dimitriou
Performers
Zoi Dimitriou, Andrew Graham
Original Composition
Andy Pink
Lighting Design
Chahine Yavroyan
Dramaturgy
Michael Pinchbeck
Set Design
Ingrid Hu
Costume Design
Holly Waddington
Production
The Onassis Cultural Centre, Zoi Dimitriou Company

Dates

  • 13 October 2012, Symposium, Arnolfini, Bristol, (GB)
  • 17 July 2012, Laban Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 9 July 2012, Symposium, Laban Centre, London, (GB)
  • 22 June 2012, Arnolfini, Bristol, (GB)
  • 12 June 2012, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 27 May 2012, The Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, (GR)
  • 26 May 2012, The Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, (GR)
  • 25 May 2012, The Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, (GR)
  • 24 May 2012, Premiere, The Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, (GR)
  • 27 March 2012, Work in Progress, Feedback Forum, Siobhan Davies Dance, London, (GB)

Reviews

Broadway Baby Review, Phil Lawrence

Zoi Dimitriou and Andrew Graham begin their 'interdisciplinary duet' counting and slowly crumpling to the ground. While I could well appreciate the physical prowess in the two performers slowly manoeuvring muscle by muscle to the floor, by the third time I was starting to wonder exactly where they were going with it. I shouldn't have been so cynical. It's exactly this repetition of movement and later of word that's at the core of this work and allows them later to reward us with the familiar as well as wrong-foot us by adapting and changing it. What could be pretentious and self indulgent is lifted with speeches from the performers (some sadly lost upstage or obscured by the soundscape) based around and exploring the phrase "you may" in both thought provoking and genuinely funny ways. The movement pieces themselves are balletic and athletic with some truly impressive physical feats. Dimitriou is mesmerising, exhibiting real mastery over her every sinew particularly in a couple of solo sections, using jerking movements like frames of a video being played back and forth or like images morphing seamlessly from one to another. Graham is amazing to watch. His body contorting, as if manipulated from outside rather than moving voluntarily. The soundscape by Andy Pink is a challenging mix of electronic instruments, percussion and sound effects that surrounds and concentrates the production without being too imposing on the ear. Holly Waddington's simple costume design effectively evokes classic sci-fi, Dimitriou and Graham dressed in simple, modest white gym wear that could easily have come from Logan's Run. For staging Ingrid Hu provides a bare black box save for a number of cloud-like clusters of material, some suspended from above, others freestanding which the performers strategically reposition from time to time. There are some flat moments, where the performers walk to their next assigned positions. A creative movement choice certainly and I'm not expecting the pair to constantly leap across the stage, but for me the life seemed to evaporate slightly in these short interludes. What's most pleasing is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. There is humour aplenty, particularly in the spoken elements with some clever plays on words. And while its tongue is in its cheek at times, it's not in a knowing way. Rather this is an uncynical piece, truly questioning the world without imposing any answers. Its mind is open and I recommend you view it in the same way.

Cloud Dance Festival, Rachel Vogel, 14 June 2012

Observing Zoi Dimitriou's work 'You May!' seemed like a surreal dream. Haunting and evocative, taunting the dichotomies of possibility and impossibility, Dimitriou uses dance, theatre, photography, sound, and video to create a multidisciplinary piece which asks more questions than it answers. A philosophical and artistic venture, Dimitriou presents her own reflection of contemporary society. In a world with countless opportunities, the desire to take ownership of one's own destiny can mean that unhappiness in life can lead to a sense of guilt. Questioning this, Dimitriou has inverted the paradigm "You Can, Because You Must" to become "You Must, Because You Can". We must be happy, because we can be happy, right? The stage was set with white cloud-like objects, abstract in nature and representing 'the space between'. With time being the impetus to create space (and thus movement), the dancers would count out loud, causing the body to move within space simultaneously defining it. Highly articulated movement conveys the fast-forward-rewind repetition within the work. Movements are robotic and controlled, methodical and calculated. Phrases are episodic, framed between spoken dialogues, and over time build into a fragmented overload of possibilities. These episodes seemed to collide with one another, with no phrase reaching its own conclusion. 'You May!' is a work which turns you inside out. In creating possibility, I think Dimitriou deliberately courted confusion. Indecisiveness rather than possibility drove me from step to step, and by the end I felt wrung out instead of challenged. I craved for the bodies on stage to reach some physical end point, stretching themselves and arriving somewhere. However, in consequence, Dimitrou's work seemed to accurately achieve its intention. Physically bound, unfinished, the movements and the structures of the work created layers which remained with you long after the applause has finished. Not only is there resonance regarding the concept of endless possibilities, this work challenges the means of dance to convey such philosophically conceptual ideas. Not for the lighthearted, this work has a strong soul to it. Deeply considered and meticulously realised, the highlights of this work drift into your consciousness long after you've experienced it.

Writings

PREFACE, Michael Pinchbeck, May 2012

'You may…' can be said in many ways. You May can be read in many ways. You May is an invitation and a granting of permission, an injunction, an incantation and an invocation. The piece summons spirits, ghost dances and lost towers. It invites us into its own world and it ejects us back into our own through language, movement, objects, sound and light. This is the starting point for a whole series of tests. As an audience we bear witness to these tests and we take part in the experiment. We are both the observers and a 'control' by which the performers can measure their efforts, their ability to entertain us.

When I arrive at Trinity Laban to sit in on rehearsals for the first time, Zoi Dimitriou is asking a technician how the structures will behave. I like this idea of an object onstage that might not behave, that might not do as it is told, or do what it is there to do. An object that disobeys its owner. An object that breaks the rules. We talk about how the structures grow from the dance floor and hang from the rig, how they look like microphone stands or flowers or heads or debris or clouds or smoke. How they can fade into the ground and dissolve into the sky. You may see something else. What you see there may not be there at all.

You may be wondering what the rules are here. There are rules about time and space. There is a past tense and there is a future tense. There is a man and there is a woman. You May is inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 film La Jetee, a photomontage that predicts a catastrophe. A man is sent back in time to make sure the catastrophe does not take place. This was the starting point. You May has opened up to explore what happens when you splice the personal and the political together, to ask how we see La Jetee through the lens of what is happening now, in our streets, in our cities, in our countries.

Goat Island said: "We are standing here with time, and the time and it takes to stand here". The same could be said of You May. But time here is elastic and folds in and out of itself like a Moebius strip. Everything we see is reversed, rewound, repositioned and resampled. What was an advance is now a retreat. What was coming forward is now going back. What was vulnerable is now strong. What was getting older is now getting younger. The clock tick tocks towards the end of the show but, at the same time, we are getting closer to a beginning. What was the beginning is now an ending, what was an ending is now the beginning. You may begin. 'You may…' can be said in many ways.

YOU MAY!: A POLITICAL READING OF 'IF I MAY', Christina Kostoula

As Critical theorist, Adorno has argued, each work of art has its own significance by virtue of an internal relationship between Content and Form. I am invited here today to respond to You May and its meanings, and it is indeed the concept/title of the work itself ("you may- you are allowed") that appears to invite critical judgements about its truth or falsity, or the extent of its success in communicating its content and form with an audience. So, as a respondent to the work and as a sociologist of dance, I will accept the invitation and offer my subjective judgment. By doing so, I also aim to map out the complex network of relations between the aesthetic and the social functions of the work. I am not arguing that there is a direct correlation between Zoi Dimitriou's artistic savoir-faire and social/political destination, nor that there is one single sense of connecting dance forms and significations.

To do justice to the work and its significance, any critical judgement needs to grasp both the dance's complex internal dynamics (that Zoi has talked about) and the dynamics of an external - social and historical totality to which the artwork belongs. According to my personal reading/understanding, the contextual foundation of You May is one of crisis and fall; reflected in the choreographed countdown with which the work opens but also alluding to a metaphorical impending resolution to a countdown: suggesting an end that may well never come or may well not be the end of all.

You May inhabits this space of being in between stage '1' of the countdown and stage '9', where things end or begin again. This context of crisis and critical time is also apparent in Zoi's choice of La Jetee; a film that departs from an apocalyptic/nuclear catastrophe to tell the story of an experiment in time travel seeking hope for humanity's survival. But, also from her choice of the writings of Slavoj Zizek; a radical philosopher who draws from historical materialism and psychoanalysis to theorise the pathologies of modern capitalism including the ongoing financial crisis. Let us consider that Zizek's choice cannot be seen as incidental: he is referred to as a revolutionary intellectual, who together with Judith Butler, Gayatri Spivak and Jaques Ranciere, has in recent weeks openly showed his support to the people of Greece and their political struggle against the social and economic inequalities and massive unemployment imposed by means of the harshest regulations and austerity the European Union has ever seen.

Let us for a moment consider the concept of crisis and a perceived running out of time and choices. Krisis: in ancient Greek means choice based upon judgement. A context of 'krisis' demands exactly that; that one urgently considers options and choices and risks possibilities in taking a stance. This is arguably why I am, personally, in my capacity as a Greek 'in krisis', living and working outside of Greece, so eager to accept the invitation and reflect upon the possibilities inherent in an encounter between bodies, between collaborators, between performers and audience, and today, artists and academics; an encounter in the here and now; within the suffocating time-frames of Greek politics and European ultimatums. We hear the clock ticking in the work's sound design; reminding us that time and choices are not as infinite as contemporary advertisement would have us believe. Being reminded of the passing of Time within a context of crisis is not an aesthetically indifferent decision but a culturally and philosophically charged choice or reclaiming of choice. I would also go so far as to say that being aware of time and Space is a political choice. As Jaques Ranciere writes: "Politics begins when we take the time - that we seem to 'have not' or 'control not' - in order to affirm that we belong to a common world". Politics in art begin when the invisible is made visible, when what was deemed to be the mere shuffling of bodies is heard as a discourse concerning the 'common' Time, the common Space we share.

As much as some imagery in the dance, may appear as sheer abstraction of existentialist tropes or mere aesthetics and contemporary dance idioms (the fall, the recovery), it may as well reflect or dialogue with a very concrete chronotope: namely, the social and political reality experienced in Europe and particularly in Greece, right now; and where the very words of 'fall' and 'recovery' gain a literal financial significance ('collapse' of the system/economic 'recovery'), but also a psychological dimension linked to personal survival or demise (debt/bankruptcy - the contemporary versions of 'fall from grace'). At this point, I could briefly summarise the context of the Greek crisis and the two recent electoral dilemmas/choices and related 'risks' of a Greek exit - but I am sure that such information is now accessible on a daily basis in British media. I could indeed contribute my own emotional diatribe on how these processes have affected the social and cultural psyche of the people on the streets of Greece, my own family or how they may have influenced artistic creation both materially and in terms of ideology, imagination and desire… but… Behold! I do not much need to theorise such influences since we have here an embodied example of a Greek/European, and for many years, London-based artist who has received a commission from a Greek cultural foundation in order to create an artwork inevitably within the same time of the media discourse, images and reality of the current economic and social crisis.

It can be argued, that whilst this perceived reality of crisis touches directly the choreographer and members of the collaborative team (through the structure of Greek choreographer and members of the collaborative team (through the structure of Greek funding and the larger state and morale of the field of arts in times of recession) it may not affect as viscerally, or as consciously, the interpretative horizon of every person in the audience in this city, for instance. Having seen the work, I am aware that it does not choose to establish a ubiquitous point of reference for interpretation - except for the suggestive use of the text of La Jetee and the radical philosophy of Zizek, who as I explained earlier, has in fact made the leap from abstract philosophising to physically travelling in space - 'moving' his body to Greece, in rally of support to the formation of political alternatives for Greece and the EU. The piece is far from preaching about the need for political options, democratic freedoms and the lack of autonomy in contemporary society; it does not seem willing to emulate the dominant discourse of the majority of Greek politicians framing all the possible outcomes in a pre-determined binary between two sets of options: 'inside' or 'outside' the EU, 'drachma' or 'euro', 'fall' or 'recovery'. On the contrary, the work is investing and risking an open suggestion, inviting us to an exploration that takes time and that demands attention to questioning our own assumptions and desires projected upon the actions we witness, upon the fall we witness and the fall of which we may all (eventually) be part.

The work, possesses a self-awareness and a consciousness of its own choices, of the process of its own negotiations of content and form, which as Zoi explained, were opened up to processes of collaborative decision-making and shared ownership. You May is undoubtedly self-reflective; commenting on its own content as it invites us as members of the audience to make 'critical judgements' as to the meanings it proposes. The performers pose questions (articulated in speech and text): questions as to the possibilities of meaning-making that form the piece, thus making the audience more aware of one's own processes of passing aesthetic and social judgements upon what happens on 'others' on stage. As members of the audience, we are addressed directly as a group of spectators, in something that appears to be more than a convention of postmodern dance performance; we are asked questions that can change the frame of our subjective experience of the piece, we are offered speeds and scales of fall and recovery that change the frame with which we perceive falling. You May! is full of strategies that combine the visible 'here and now' with invisible concepts of past and future and give rise to invisible meanings of history and change.

As an audience we are left with an open invitation to engage or not engage with such a suggestion of choice; we may choose to or not. We are also invited to reflect on the possibility of not always being allowed the choice/or the freedom to choose. That notion of being denied the choice is something which can have specific resonances for specific audiences. When You May Premiered in Athens, Greek members of the public and reviewers seemed to be particularly attuned to this invitation to consider their choices and witness the choices of the agents on stage (all this was after all some days after the first round of elections and before the second). Once the context of social and political reality, as it viscerally and violently erupts in Greece, is considered, I think, that You May (both as a concept and as a work) derives a different urgency; one that is less about aesthetic appraisal, cultural consumption and individual artistic status and more a common social discourse on choice and possibilities. You May! may well be understood as a suggestion to share a questioning attitude; to consider questions that arise from being between a beginning and an end; questions that give rise to possibilities (as manifest on stage, as imagined by audiences, or as yet failing to materialise).

The possibility of failure is indeed built into the suggestion of the title, the risk of Not liking, Not understanding, Not engaging, Not being happy with the piece is invited into the process and implied in the spoken text used in the performance. In a society made guilt-free, fat-free, risk-free in its obsessive pursue for happiness and success (as Zizek critiques), You May! suggests an experiment (to echo here the intertext of La Jettee) - an exploration of potential risk, of breakdown, of failure, which challenges the mechanisms of pleasurable - indulgent-unquestioning consumption (and that is a hugely meaningful and hopeful paradigm within the context of the crisis in Greece and in capitalist economy in general).

As a Greek, I become aware that am all too happy to be opting for the freedom to choose what You May! offers; namely, to consider the risky possibilities of running out of time, of falling. A fall may well involve a rupture, a breaking and an ending but in dance, a fall also signifies the initiation of another movement. You May as an artwork hollows out the 'reality' of artistic choice and audience consumption and multiplies it in a polemical way. The bodies on stage are undone, scales and measures undone, countdowns exhausted and then restarted, re-articulated, props re-arranged. Thus, new connections are articulated between signs and images, shapes and times, time and space framing new senses of reality, of a given shared reality between performers and audience. You May! Is the result of a collaborative practice that invents new trajectories between the '1 and 9' of the countdown, between what can be seen as a fall, what can be said and, in my opinion, what can be done about it.

There are definite possibilities for emancipation here, at least at a cerebral level. I see You May As a socially significant work whose social function is primarily intellectual rather than straightforwardly political. But insofar as a political function can be predicated for a contemporary dance work, it is its 'Function-lessness'; its 'lack of single purposeful answer'. You May Strategically opens up an inventory of choices and invites us to share in a judgement (krisis) of existing possibilities inherent in the present. The strategies invented by Zoi and her collaborators invent novel relationships between fall/recovery and meanings which were previously unrelated. And in the present moment (more than ever) we need to become aware of the possible relationships between fall and change, recovery and hope. More than ever before, at least for our generation, our works are required to provide a vision of society as a space consciously explored by human beings, rather than as a 'buffet of choice' between fat-free salamis and ethically sourced coffee drinks.

To conclude, You May offers a definite aesthetic configuration of what is given as our real, present time, as the object of our perception and the field of our interventions as members of the audience. The real is always a matter of construction, any way, a matter of creation; a matter of art. You May! May indeed open up new passages for political subjectivities although it cannot avoid the postmodern aesthetic void that separates consequences from intentions and prevents artistic creation from becoming a direct passage to another social reality. But we may all hope for one and hope appears to be a great political strategy in times of despair and despondency.


In the process of…

About

'In the Process of…' is a beautifully crafted duet in which a man and woman negotiate a series of endings, rather than a single unfolding narrative leading to one inevitable finale. Looking at composition as process, Dimitriou attempts to bring together the highly rational with the irrational in a freely moving continuity and to weight the quality of the human body toward that of objects, words/language, sound and light. Manipulating movement parameters and playing with the central myth of the 'quest' underlying the basic archetypical themes, a play of two emerges as a series of short intermezzos to a story never told. 60 wooden hoops dramatically help and hinder the couple's relationship on stage - and even at times become the sole protagonists. 'In The Process of…' draws upon Conlon Nancarrow's compositional structures and studies into the effect of film figure movement and genre recognition.

[20-min version]

About

Supported by Arts Council England, Hellenic National Centre of Theatre & Dance (Ministry of Culture), The Place (during Choreoroam), Laban, and the Isadora & Raymond Duncan Research Centre in Greece.

Credits

Artistic Direction
Zoi Dimitriou
Concept, Choreography
Zoi Dimitriou
Performers
Zoi Dimitriou, Jos Baker, Ben McEwen, Chris Dugrenier & Bennie Pohlig
Lighting Design
Gregor Knüppel
Sound Design
Ryan West
Production
Zoi Dimitriou Company

[full-evening version]

About

Made at The Place, a Place Commission supported by The Columbia Foundation of the Capital Community Foundation. Commissioned by Laban Theatre and The Onassis Foundation. Supported by the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund 09, Arts Council England, Hellenic National Centre of Theatre & Dance (Ministry of Culture).

Credits

Artistic Direction
Zoi Dimitriou
Concept, Choreography
Zoi Dimitriou
Performers
Zoi Dimitriou, Stephen Moynihan, Ben McEwen, Rachel Graham & Maisie Whitehead
Lighting Design
Gregor Knüppel
Sound Design
Ryan West
Costume
Sayako Kaibuchi
Dramaturgical Support
Tania Batzoglou
Production
Zoi Dimitriou Company

Dates

  • 29 July 2012, Teatri di Vita, Bologna, (IT)
  • 6 July 2011, BE Festival, Birmingham, (GB)
  • 16 April 2011, Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Athens, (GR)
  • 15 April 2011, Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Athens, (GR)
  • 14 April 2011, Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Athens, (GR)
  • 20 July 2010, Bonnie Bird Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 19 July 2010, Bonnie Bird Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 17 July 2010, 16th Kalamata International Dance Festival, (GR)
  • 16 July 2010, 16th Kalamata International Dance Festival, (GR)
  • 10 July 2010, Dance & Spectacle, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 16 May 2010, Something Happening, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 6 May 2010, Springloaded, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 5 May 2010 (premiere - full-evening), Springloaded, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 20 January 2010, Dance Diary, Michaelis Theatre, Roehampton, (GB)
  • 31 October 2009, Isadora & Raymond Duncan Dance Research Center, Athens, (GR)
  • 3 October 2009, Laban Studio Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 12 September 2009 (premiere - 20-min version), Touch Wood, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 19 December 2008, Choreoroam, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 25 August 2008, Choreoroam, Operaestate Festival Veneto, Bassano del Grappa, (IT)

Reviews

'In The Process of…', Bonnie Bird Theatre, Katie Fish, 19 July 2010, londondance.com

In her new work, Zoi Dimitriou deals with endings rather than beginnings, or what comes somewhere in-between. We see, therefore, a couple (Dimitriou partnered by Stephen Moynihan) vying for solidarity and struggling to maintain a meaningful embrace without knowing why. The protagonists' emotions are so convincing and their presence so engaging that this barely matters. Theirs seems to be a love-hate relationship so that an exaggerated slapping duet ends with them falling slowly away and then back towards each other. Once when his torso rests across her knees, she lurches her upper body away to suggest repulsion. After allowing her to clamber on to his back and around his frame, Moynihan pushes her face away and both stand parallel to each other in a rigid upper back bend as if their proximity were enforced. Throughout what ensues, hoops are propelled along vertical and circular pathways, sometimes colliding, sometimes being left to tumble. One may be rolled randomly downstage as if to distract from the couple's skirmish, or the stage may be engulfed by a whole torrent of them as they clatter and crash in scattered heaps. The meaning behind the hoops is not revealed but they could perhaps reflect how so many a journey starts clearly only to be cut short by random eventuality. Any show of affection appears forced and desperate; a sticky, sucking noise accompanies the pair's pull and push variations. When close, they are jittery and on edge and there is little to discern between passion and rage. This tension is also augmented by the minimal lighting and echoing, manipulated voices that accuse and swear into the darkness. Emotions run from one extreme to another so that a walk is in turns both tensely frantic and deliberately lounging. Dimitriou seems most at ease when alone but she see-saws between emotional boundaries so that a slow, loose waltz type step shifts seamlessly into frenzied arm flinging and cramping pulsations. Moynihan enacts an internal monologue in which he tells his (un)beloved that it's over between them. His clenched arms and fists are suddenly limp and his taught body slumps as if his spine has been struck. Small running backwards steps turn into heavy trudging to suggest his body's unwillingness to keep moving onwards. His fists pummel his stomach before he walks with baby-small steps towards the wings, head and upper body thrust back as if being pulled in opposition. 'In the Process of…' seems longer than its fifty minutes because you feel caught up in the onstage antagonism. There is no final resolution but as there is no driving narrative, it succeeds in its portrayal of '…a series of intermezzos to a story never told'.

Sally Marie, 12 September 2009, Touch Wood Blog

Zoi Dimitriou looked stunning in a red dress, and her partner Jos Baker possessed huge integrity in making sure everything felt was expressed through the body rather than facially. Zoi had taken Conlon Nancarrow's compositional structures and Annie Hall as inspiration. There's a potential that pieces and performers can appear harshly exposed due to the deliberately limited lighting states allowed for Touch Wood. Yet with Zoi's work, that minimalism became beautiful, from her choice of aesthetic to the 60 wooden hoops that shared the space, as feelings were made visible through set. It's really one to look out for in the future.

The potential error in the work of Zoi Dimitriou, Sarah Paroletti, 28 August 2008

Embryos still developing and completing the project within Choreoroam, Zoi Dimitriou's work raises a set of questions, themes and components for analysis, which currently permeate the thinking of contemporary art, which may have as a common denominator the concept of limit, declined on different floors: the execution, with the question of how a performance is part of the possibility of error and failure mechanism of rhythmic and choreographic thought, perception, with the unveiling limits of the viewer, and that of time, with a particular management of the fourth dimension. From the first: the attempt to build a perfect choreographic structure, a well-functioning machine with circles crossing the stage according to a precise rhythm, the rolling sound of a metronome, which surrounds the entire piece of time, brought against that of 'Greek artist' and the audience itself to deal with the element of fallibility, failure, the impossibility of precisely designed structure. In this case the failure is given by the human factor, not perfect, therefore, made up of performers hidden behind the scenes that relate to and try hard to regulate uncontrolled elements, namely the hula-hoop launched in bold trajectories across the stage. This artist is connected to an element of tragedy that is inherent in life itself, that you live and go forward even if you have the awareness to die, or you will/hope to control an event but event changes the course of things by introducing a twist, so in this piece Zoi Dimitriou and other performers trying to pursue a mechanism, a machine-performance that contains within itself the germ of failure, then the possibility of failing to comply strictly with the launch of the hula-hoop the pace and pattern that had been established. This raid almost unavoidable error contained in the mechanism gives this piece become a particular issue, because it opens the world of possibilities and variables, allowing him night after night of being different and unique every time, by virtue of the fact that the pace and pattern of circles in space may be different, both in success and in failure of the structure, which makes it even more ephemeral character and potential inherent in the nature of each performance. Also not to pursue, but accept the possibility of failure and mistakes in this context carries the thought to remember a particular conception of the show's another exponent of contemporary dance, William Forsythe, in which shows you the creeps element-error because the artist's mode of composition is highly related to improvisation of the dancers on alphabets of movement and a dimension of uncertainty, made a radical weight management and continuing and rapid changes in the choreography, the dancers communicated through the earphones in the midst of the action. Another broad theme of reflection, the second part, Zoi Dimitriou's choreography brings out is the question of the finiteness and limitations that have the perception (visual) human, and then the spectator, which is not more powerful, it becomes rather fallible just like the action of the performer with the circles, because of the enormous distance that the choreographer has decided to lay down, placing the audience in the back of the Astra Theatre in Bassano. So faced with a body almost motionless in a slow dissolves, liquefies, the eye is unable to grasp the movement as a real continuum, and allows the brain to develop a vision that goes only in fragments, jumps, as in a succession of snapshots that break down, gradually lowering to the ground interpreter. But alongside these perceptual gaps, these moments of visual silence, are filled with intensity increasing from the time that you load in this way to a quality, we might say, physics, material obtained through the short-circuit occurs between the rate further tightened the metronome, speed time then, which contrasts with the slowness of the body Dimitriou, causing a rupture, a big bang, of what is also called fourth dimension, namely time, so that spills out scene, flooding the pit, reaching the viewer physically and continuing beyond the end of the show, over the dimming of lights on stage and the emptying of the room.


Goddesses in exile

About

A new duet examining how mythology is constructed, deconstructed and reinvented around issues of female identity within today's society. Drawing upon existing myths and contemporary fiction, Zoi Dimitriou opens the discourse around the notion of womanhood, femininity and the divine and looks at how facts of the mind are made manifest in a fiction of matter. Alternating irony with nostalgia, Dimitriou poses the question where are the goddesses now and what have they been doing all this time? Joined by Juliette Barton (Diversions, Russell Maliphant Dance Company), the duet consists of dance, text and sound to lay bare some of the multiple fictions cast upon the notion of 'woman' as both dancers re-imagine what it is to be female.

A Place Commission supported by The Robin Howard Foundation Award. Commissioned by Laban Theatre and The Athens Epidaurus Festival.

Credits

Artistic Direction
Zoi Dimitriou
Concept, Choreography
Zoi Dimitriou
Performers
Zoi Dimitriou, Juliette Barton, Sally Marie (vocals)
Sound design, Original Composition
Reynaldo Young
Lighting Design
Michael Mannion
Costume
Sayako Kaibuchi
Production
Zoi Dimitriou Company

Dates

  • 15 July 2008, Bonnie Bird Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 7 July 2008, Athens Epidaurus Festival, (GR)
  • 7 May 2008, Springloaded, The Place Theatre, (GB)
  • 6 May 2008 (premiere), Springloaded, The Place Theatre, (GB)

Reviews

Zoi Dimitriou: 'Dromi', 'Goddesses in Exile', Graham Watts, May 2008, Ballet.Magazine

Zoi Dimitriou is the sixth beneficiary of the Robin Howard Foundation's annual Commission, following on from such luminaries of the modern contemporary dance world as Rashpal Singh Bansal, Hofesh Schechter and the Lost Dog pairing of Ben Duke and Raquel Mesequer. Dimitriou's commissioned work was 'Goddesses in Exile' which was paired with her solo, 'Dromi', building on the work in progress shown earlier this year in the 'Touch Wood' season. Both pieces share an intriguing ambiguity; unravelling stories that touch on matters of mythology, exploration, humanity, femininity - all underpinned by the rich culture inherent in Dimitriou's Greek persona - but with any linear narrative concepts remaining tantalisingly, just out-of-reach. The works were also embedded with attractive contrasts; sometimes contained in sharp changes of movement or imagery, but mostly carried in a holistic visual and aural connectivity. In 'Dromi', Dimitriou both danced and narrated the work, with a clever inter-mingling of live and recorded spoken text. Reynaldo Young's clever soundscape in 'Goddesses' mixed his original composition with the unmistakeable, emotional range of Sally Marie's voiceover, including a rather beautiful acapello rendition of 'Fly Me to the Moon', apparently recorded off-the-cuff. Dimitriou and her co-performer, Juliette Barton, are blessed with the statuesque qualities of dignity and beauty that one might expect from exiled Goddesses: helped by the unseen extra of Sally Marie's voice, the two dancers commanded the stage for a full 40 minutes in a work that was so well structured in ebb and flow that their duet seemed not a moment too long. The performance climaxed in a remarkable ending as the two Goddesses creep slowly back to become primeval beings journeying towards a mythological rebirth - a return from exile, I suppose - their hair and spines gradually unfolding towards the floor, alongside the covert shedding of clothing, to the stunning conclusion of a mystical, half-lit tableau of naked deity, both glorious and divine in their womanhood. In both works, the connectivity between text, music, lighting and movement had been carefully constructed and the overall pace and imagery of these works confirm that Dimitriou is capable of being in the highest echelon of conceptual dance theatre artists; the threads of her ideas are not always easy to piece together but they knit into a rich and luscious tapestry, which somehow boosts the spirit and illuminates the power of individual freedoms.


Dromi

About

Strongly influenced by the Eastern musical modes and the philosophy attached to those, this piece unravels the story of one whose life becomes a constant striving towards a place of freedom and rest. Driven by the need to protest against any form of repression of individual freedom, he finds uncanny ways of existing in order to survive his solitude and longing. The story unfolds through clever and touching interactions invoked in the play of music, text and movement, where one loses the thread of cause and effect and can no longer distinguish between that which appears to be and that which actually is.

A Place Commission supported by The Robin Howard Foundation Award. Commissioned by Laban Theatre. Originally presented as work in progress during the first Touch Wood season at The Place.

Credits

Concept, Choreography
Zoi Dimitriou
Performers
Zoi Dimitriou
Lighting Design
Michael Mannion
Music
Ardeshir Kamkar, Hussein Zahawy, Matthaios Tsahourides
Sound Editing
Ronan Kozokaro
Text
Zoi Dimitriou
Costume
Sayako Kaibuchi
Production
Zoi Dimitriou Company

Dates

  • 29 July 2012, Teatri di Vita, Bologna, (IT)
  • 26 June 2010, 9th Dance Festival of Greek Choreographers, Athens, (GR)
  • 25 June 2010, 9th Dance Festival of Greek Choreographers, Athens, (GR)
  • 20 January 2010, Dance Diary, Michaelis Theatre, Roehampton, (GB)
  • 28 November 2009, Athens System 2009, Dipilo Theatre, (GR)
  • 15 January 2009, Milano Incontra La Grecia, Piccolo Teatro, Milan, (IT)
  • 15 July 2008, Bonnie Bird Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 7 May 2008, Springloaded, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 6 May 2008 (premiere), Springloaded, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 13 September 2007, Touch Wood, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 11 September 2007, Touch Wood, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)

Reviews

Touch Wood, The Place Theatre, September 2007, writingfromliveart.co.uk

…the simple first action of unwinding a microphone cable to mark out a square around the stage took on an engrossing symbolism that set the mood for this sparse and meditative piece.

Graham Watts, May 2008, Ballet.Magazine

Dimitriou both danced and narrated the work with a clever intermingling of live and recorded spoken text.

Katerina Voussoura, 20 January 2009, Kathimerini English Edition

MILAN - A soul-searching solo by choreographer Zoi Dimitriou… closed the second Milano Incontra la Grecia festival last Thursday.


Can you see me?

About

Dimitriou's poignant and humorous solo 'Can you see me?' unravels the complex relationships that lead to solidarity and allegiance between performer and audience in theatre performance. In a dazzling interplay of movement, text and new media, she makes the audience complicit and lures them into re-examining the act of seeing and being seen at the heart of perception or misperception of self. At the centre of the work is a reinvestigation of language and memory, emptied and reconstructed in the mirrors of repetition that dissolve the past into a here and now. 'Can you see me?' was created in the course of investigating the workings of memory and fantasy as a way of exploring how the individual creates their own sense of time. The research was greatly influenced by the work of Jacques Lacan, a psychoanalyst who has emphasized the role of visual identification in human subjectivity. The piece deals with the notion of visual perception and its importance for the significance and meaning we ascribe to time passing, where memory and fantasy play an immutable role in our everyday reality.

Supported by the Laban Centre.

Credits

Concept, Choreography
Zoi Dimitriou
Performers
Zoi Dimitriou
Lighting Design
Gregor Knüppel
Music
Manfred Mann, Barbra Streisand
Text
Zoi Dimitriou
Costume
Zoi Dimitriou
Production
Zoi Dimitriou Company

Dates

  • 24 March 2009, Europe in Motion Festival, CNDB, Bucharest, (RO)
  • 5 May 2007, Springloaded, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 4 May 2007, Springloaded, The Place Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 29 November 2006, Dance Diary, Michaelis Theatre, Roehampton, (GB)
  • 21 November 2006, Bonnie Bird Theatre, London, (GB)
  • 29 July 2006, Something Big, ROH2, London, (GB)
  • 28 July 2006, Something Big, ROH2, London, (GB)
  • 19 July 2006, 12th Kalamata International Dance Festival, (GR)
  • 18 July 2006, 12th Kalamata International Dance Festival, (GR)
  • 21 September 2005 (premiere), Bonnie Bird Theatre, London, (GB)

Reviews

ROH2 - Something Big, John Mallinson, July 2006, ballet.co.uk

When a dancer tells you to imagine her dance and walks off stage, do you strain to obey, roll your eyes, or want your money back? These and other risky strategies were used by Zoi Dimitriou in her piece 'Can You See Me?'… getting away with all this amusing post-modern gallimaufry.

Fren Bryant and Peter Grahame Woolf, 21 November 2006, musicalpointers.co.uk

Intellectually clever and beautifully performed… Dimitriou displayed winning charm and humour in the dialogue between herself and ourselves watching her, the simple text of few words elaborated until it became a veritable poem.

Europe Is Moving (II), Mihaela Michailov, 1 April 2009, Art Act Magazine

From all the shows presented at the festival Europe in Motion some of them draw my attention in a special manner, first of all through the potential contained. All these plays have a common denominator: they succeed in creating individualised worlds through a certain red string, through a certain search coherence. 'Can you see me?' stakes on the continuous embellishment of the body, on its transformation into an object that is to be looked at according to the one who looks at it. Zoi Dimitriou has the ability of quickly passing from an instantly improvised high heel to a naked foot, from a live eye to a screen eye.

Peregrinus
The Chapter House
Series of S(h)orts
DRafting Togetherness, Urban Project
Tomorrow in a cup
You may!
In the process of…
Goddesses in exile
Dromi
Can you see me?