Movement and expression unlimited! Throughout June, the 22nd Cyprus Contemporary Dance Festival unleashes energy and innovation with an international flavour in all things terpsichorean! Whether a guest at boutique hotel Londa or staying at another luxury property in Limassol, the culturally curious have a unique opportunity to step out and experience new ventures in dance choreography from across Europe.
“Dancing is divine in its nature”
Dance, and the stories and myths they tell, continue to play an important role in Greek and Cypriot culture, especially at festivals, religious ceremonies and even in the preparation for going into battle. Recognised and revered as one of the highest forms of art more than two thousand years ago, Plato stated that, “as a gift of the gods, dancing is divine in its nature, and of all the arts, is the one that most influences the soul”.
Role as a host of contemporary dance
Since 1998, The Cyprus Contemporary Dance Festival has been held every year in Limassol and Nicosia. The island has long enjoyed her role as a host of contemporary dance, presenting new ideas and experimental concepts from both established and newly-formed companies from around the world. By bringing international artists together with local dance groups, creative possibilities may be explored through new collaborations and exchanges.
This year’s festival, co-organised by the Ministry of Education and Culture, features works from eight countries – The Netherlands, France, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Switzerland, Germany and the UK.
The Netherlands – Sun 2nd
The Netherlands are festival regulars whose dance companies always bring electrifying performances to challenge perceptions of human movement and form in time and space. In 2019, audiences are sure to be once again drawn irresistibly into the world of “If You Could See Me Now”, described as “casually transforming a chilled-out club dance into one dizzying wave-like motion”. Propelled by a relentless rhythm, it seems that the three performers on stage see no limits to the form and motion their bodies may be exerted to spontaneously reshape, “from ecstasy to turmoil, from build-up to dissipation”.
Amsterdam-based choreographer, Arno Schuitemaker, 43, is described as “one of the leading dance makers in The Netherlands”. His “perpetual movement” works have thrilled audiences in theatre venues and dance festivals across 15 European countries with “immersive and transformative encounters” that speak to us about the times we live in.”
France – Tue 4th
From France, Brahim Bouchelaghem brings his work, Dansewindows – “Dance for Everyone and Everywhere” – a breath-taking mix, where “hip-hop meets 1920s jazz, meets contemporary dance”. Audience will be more than intrigued by the bringing together of a former jazzman, an ambitious singer, a lost musician and a thief! The attempts to tame each other in pursuit of their dreams and hopes are expressed in an energetic improvisation, which is at once funny, unpredictable and enchanting.
Czech Republic – Thu 6th
The festival welcomes exciting Czech Republic dancer, Tereza Hradilková, who found inspiration for the physically demanding challenge of her piece, “Swish” (Czech with English subtitles) from watching how boxers jump over a rope.
Fascinated by the rhythm and the interplay of hands and feet – especially the sound of the jump rope accompanying their movements – she started exploring her own existential boundaries where the jump rope may become “a symbol for ambition, desire for performance and self-improvement”. Here the performer – whose work has won the “Dance Piece of the Year” award at Czech Dance Platform 2017 – poses the question, “Do you skip over yourself and go beyond your borders or are you trapped in a repeating circle from which you cannot escape?”
Cyprus – Mon 10th
A Cyprus festival would not be complete without showcasing home-grown talent! Choreographer, dancer and concept-creator, Fotis Nikolaou, offers an intense, non-stop restless dance piece depicting the agonised search for hope and redemption. Set in an undefined yet unsettling landscape, the six players struggle with deep, painful memories in their dark yet poetic search for identity and sense of belonging. Moments and encounters come and go, yet always leaving them to once again confront their passions, desires and fears.
Greece – Fri 14th
A socio-political focus continues to be an abiding concern of Greek experimental and improvisation dance artist, Sofia Mavragan who presents “Speechless”, a collaboration with fusion musician Martha Mavroidi. Exploring the borders of theatre and music, the work is inspired by public speeches, manifestos, articles and texts, which highlights the fragmentary and often hidden voice of women, and gender equality issues down the centuries.
Switzerland – Fri 14th
Award-winning, Swiss-Belgian choreographer, Thomas Hauert and his dance company ZOO, takes the concept of ‘interpretation’ as a starting point for this absorbing performance for six dancers. Existing pieces of music such as, George Gershwin’s Concerto in F and Ludus de Morte Regis by contemporary composer Mauro Lanza, are closely related to choreographic scores, and structured improvisations linked to the music.
Germany – Sun 16th
The German dance work, “Party” – presented by Alfredo Zinola, Maxwell McCarthy with Julia B. Laperrière
and DJ Sarah Adorable – is an interactive performance where the public and the performers dance together! A special room bathed in colour features a live DJ and adults dressed in masks and suits. Crossing the borders of language and culture, “Party” reflects the contemporary wish for communality. Here, the public is not the audience, they are the party!
UK – Sat 22nd
From the UK, Russell Maliphant’s Dance Company presents “Silent Lines”, an exploration in dance and anatomy using a unique mix of movement, projection and lighting. Associate Artists of Sadler’s Wells, and recipients of three South Bank and two Olivier Awards, Maliphant’s ensemble pursue their unique approach to flow and energy. The poetic possibilities in movement are identified as the work finds “visually rich and resonant connections between the microcosm and the macrocosm”.
All works are being performed at the Rialto Theatre, Andrea Drousioti 19, Platia Iroon, 3040 Limassol, from 20:30.