Oh, this Utterly Earthly life…

November 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

I woke up with  this feeling of numbness, searching for ways/words to analyse, say or do something, speak out about what is happening in the world around us… And then I  remembered this:

I am not quite sure if this article is about those we have lost, those left behind, or about city life in its pure earthly form.
I think it is probably about everything…about remembering and forgetting at the same time, about living as if life is only here and now, and yet also somewhere far away.

But mostly it is about being able to acknowledge that in this earthly life we all share something in common.
And we can feel for each other, just because we sense in our skin or even under it, how entirely, vulnerably human we are.

And this intangible bonding might mean something, even in this so totally earthly life…
Which is part of an article, I wrote two years ago, the day I came back from Berlin and learned that a classmate of mine from school left … this utterly earthly life.
I started by addressing the piece to many of the people I have lost in my life, but if I wrote it again I would address it to many more.  People I lost , we lost , the humanity has lost…
You can read the whole article here, if you like:

http://www.motheringmatters.ch/expat_earthlylife-2/

Also, Stillpoint Spaces is holding an on line mediation event on Paris attacks, with the attempt to give voice and provide testimony to respective responses to these acts while also exploring what their possible repercussions are in terms of individual and collective definitions of self and other.

I will attend it, as I need to take part in a process, that gives me the chance to discuss all these issues, find ways to understand better with my mind and body , and most importantly keep the conversation alive and ongoing, and not only experience one numbness feeling after the other,  when tragic events happen every moment, everywhere around the world, both  in a personal and a collective level.
I need to find a container to hold all these tragedies in a way that I acknowledge them for what they are, both sentimentally and with my mind, but also find a way to stay alive, by praising life, every day, every moment, by being active, aware, and present.
If you also want to take part in the conversation on Friday the 20th of November , you can find all the details here:

https://www.stillpointspaces.com/workshops/122-online-mediation-event-on-the-paris-attacks

Until next time then…

Classes, in lack of a better word.

October 3, 2015 § 1 Comment

Tonight , I just wanted to share this article I wrote for “Mothering Matters” magazine a couple of years ago.

Somehow it resonates  with who I am, and what  I long to offer through my classes’ work (I use the word classes, in lack of a better one, but I really don’t like it, and still have not found a word to replace it with. This is the definition of crisis, isn’t it?).

And because today morning we had one of these classes , that ended up to be such a special experience , without something particularly special to describe, or maybe with many personal special moments for everyone, but without anything really outstanding to be put into words…
The following three lines copied from the article, offer a way to describe with words the aforementioned today’s morning experience:…”classes in which she doesn’t teach people skills,  but rather encourages them to discover their own palettes of colours, sounds and smells, exactly the way she learned to discover her own back in the house with the small living room, the big bookshelf, and the fireplace”…

If you wish to read the whole article “The little Witch” , you can find it here:
http://www.motheringmatters.ch/expat_littlewitch/
Until soon, then…

The Bohemia(n) that we lost .

August 25, 2015 § 1 Comment

Α, ο καθένας που γυρνά στον τόπο του δεν είναι νικητής.
Αλλά κανένας δεν είναι νικητής σαν δεν γυρνά στον τόπο του.

(1949)Μπέρτολτ Μπρεχτ, Θεμέλιο, Μετάφραση Μ.Πλωρίτη σελ.101

…Bohemia is less a region of definite situation and boundaries than a state of mind, a memory of youth and of the glamour of youth…-Arthur Barlett Maurice (107)

220px-Henri_de_Toulouse-Lautrec_017.
La Toilette (fr), oil on board, 1896, Toulouse-Lautrec

Summer in my home country always brings back something of the bohemian we once were.  Of a life that had to be lived in one’s own passion … namely one called by the romance of a wanderer’s journey.

What, then, is it that makes this mystical empire of Bohemia unique, and what is the charm of its mental fairyland?
It is this: there are no roads in all Bohemia!
One must choose and find one’s own path, be one’s own self, live one’s own life
.
(Ayloh, 1902[15])

Inclined towards the  idealisation of a life lived by artists, writers, or philosophers. Maybe without worrying about tomorrow.
With a book in hand travelling around small secluded Greek islands, roving between here and there.

Summers in my home country ought to be lived, cherished, remembered and treasured as they deserve.
No matter if they last for a week, a month,  a few days or even just  a few moments.

Because they are good -among many other things- for our conscience, for our collective intellect, if I’m allowed to say.

The great poet, Dionysis Savvopoulos has said it all, years ago of course:


Αλέξη Τσίπρα, δεν μπορώ… και δεν στο συγχωρώ…(under the circumstances, I ask you to excuse me for writing in Greek).

July 6, 2015 § 2 Comments

Μεγάλωσα με Χατζιδάκι και Γκάτσο. Ήμουν από αυτά τα παιδιά που στο σχολείο μάλλον για περίεργη με είχαν οι συμμαθητές μου, παρά για νορμάλ. Τα Σάββατά μου, τα περνούσα στα καμαρίνια των θεάτρων όπου εγώ διάβαζα γαλλικά ενώ οι γονείς μου έπαιζαν διπλή παράσταση.
Τα καλοκαίρια, πηγαίναμε σε ένα απομονωμένο μέρος στην Εύβοια που τότε κανείς δεν το ήξερε, ίσως κανείς δεν το ξέρει και τώρα.
Τρώγαμε ψάρι που ψάρευε ο πατέρας μου ή έφερνε ο ψαράς εκείνη την ώρα, μέναμε σε ένα δωμάτιο κοντά στη θάλασσα, δεν είχαμε ρεύμα, μόνο λάμπες πετρελαίου, ήμασταν ξυπόλυτοι έναν ολόκληρο μήνα, ταϊζαμε τις κατσίκες, ασβεστώναμε την εκκλησία του χωριού, και το βράδυ ανάβαμε φωτιές στην παραλία και λέγαμε ιστορίες.
Τα βράδια οι γονείς μου έκαναν πρόβα τον “Ματωμένο γάμο” του Λόρκα, κι εγώ αποκοιμιόμουν με  τα λόγια του ποιητή και τον ήχο της θάλασσας του ψαροπουλιού.
Το χειμώνα οι γονείς μου είχαν πρόβες, έγραφαν και μελετούσαν, εγώ διάβαζα και σπούδαζα χορό, τα μεσημέρια μου τα περνούσα στην ΕΡΤ όπου η μαμά μου έκανε εκπομπή.
Τα Πάσχατα τα παιδικά μου, ήταν πλημμυρισμένα από τη μαγεία, τη μαγεία ανθρώπων καλλιτεχνών οι οποίοι έγραφαν, διάβαζαν, έπαιζαν, γελούσαν , και συζητούσαν ατελείωτες ώρες σε ακόμα ένα μαγικό μέρος , στο Πήλιο , τις Μηλιές .

Όλη μου η παιδική ηλικία και η μετέπειτα ενήλικη βασίστηκε σε αυτές τις μνήμες, μνήμες ενός κόσμου που χάθηκε, όπως χάνεται πάντα κάθε παιδικός παράδεισος,  τον οποίο  διαδέχεται  το κάλεσμα προς την ενηλικίωση.

Αργότερα στη ζωή μου, άφησα τον χορό και μαζί ένα κομμάτι του εαυτού μου για να σπουδάσω μάρκετινγκ, και να δουλέψω στη διαφήμιση, για να το ξαναβρώ αργότερα , ξανααφήνοντας άλλο μου κομμάτι μαζί με την απόφαση να ξανασπουδάσω χορό στην ηλικία των 28 χρόνων, αυτή τη φορά επαγγελματικά.

Πριν πεντέμισι σχεδόν χρόνια έφυγα από την Ελλάδα. Εγώ ως “μονάδα” καλλιτέχνης με τον σύντροφό μου και τον γιο μου που ήταν τότε 6 μηνών.
Πέρασα δύσκολα και ακόμα δυσκολεύομαι να δεχτώ τον μικροαστισμό της κεντρικής Ευρώπης, τον συντηρητισμό και την ανάγκη όλα να έχουν μια λογική συνέχεια, παράγωγο του προτεσταντισμού υποθέτω, ή  μπορεί  να κάνω λάθος.

Παρολα αυτά, μου πήρε αρκετό καιρό για να καταλάβω πως, εδώ στην καρδιά της Ευρώπης, εδώ στο μέρος που ένας Έλληνας ψυχαναλυτής και μια Ελληνιδα χορευτρια(?) προσπαθούν να βρουν τα πατήματά τους , κανείς ποτέ δεν μου ζήτησε να ταχθώ μαζί του για να υπάρχω. Να αφήσω πίσω μου σημαντικά κομμάτια μου για να μπορώ να λειτουργήσω. Εγώ βέβαια, από κεκτημένη ταχύτητα και από συνήθεια έσπευσα να τα αφήσω για να αισθανθώ αλληλεγγύη, μέχρι που κατάλαβα πως δεν χρειάζεται να είμαι ή μαζί τους ή εναντίον τους. Μπορώ να υπάρχω στο δικό μου ρυθμό, να εναντιώνομαι σε αυτά που δεν μου ταιριάζουν και να συμφιλιώνομαι με αυτά που μου πάνε.

Στην ηλικία των 40 χρόνων πια , έχω πλήρη συνείδηση ενός και μόνο πράγματος, καθώς διατηρώ την αμφιβολία μου για όλα τα υπόλοιπα.
ΔΕΝ θέλω να αφήνω κομμάτια πίσω μου, να κόβω χέρια ή πόδια, να απαντώ ΝΑΙ ή ΌΧΙ, να νιώθω τον διχασμό μέσα μου σε τέτοιο βαθμό που να μπορώ να μισώ τη μισή μέρα το κομμάτι του εαυτού μου που θέλει να επαναστατήσει, και την άλλη μισή το κομμάτι του εαυτού μου που θέλει να  συμφιλιωθεί.
Υπό αυτή την έννοια με ενδιαφέρει ο χορός , η ψυχανάλυση, η φιλοσοφία, η θρησκεία. Δεν είμαι όμως ούτε γκραχαμική, ούτε φροϋδική, ούτε χεγκελιανή , ούτε ορθόδοξη.
Δυστυχώς ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ αλλά και το μεγαλύτερο μέρος των υποστηρικτών του ΟΧΙ (μιλάμε για το 60% του ελληνικού πληθυσμού), με ωθούνε στο να μην μπορώ να είμαι πια ούτε αριστερή, αφού τα κομμάτια που μου “ζητούν” να κόψω για να μπορέσω να τους ακολουθήσω, είναι πολλά περισσότερα από όσο θέλω και αντέχω.

Γιατί εγώ πιστέυω πως στην αριστερά δεν χωράει λαϊκισμός. Γιατι πιστέυω σε μια  Ελλάδα που δέχεται το ΝΑΙ της Ευρώπης, και σε μια Ευρώπη που δέχεται το ΟΧΙ της Ελλάδας , γιατί εγώ θέλω να είμαι ενεργός πολίτης και όχι αφυπνισμένος λαός, γιατί πιστεύω στα λόγια των ποιητών όταν αυτά  χρησιμοποιούνται με φειδώ και όχι εκλαϊκευμένα, γιατί πιστεύω στη διατήρηση της ελληνικότητας και της ελληνικής ιδιαιτερότητας χωρίς να πρέπει να απαρνηθώ , να υβρίσω και  εναντιωθώ στο άλλο.
Χωρίς να χρειάζεται να φέρω λάβαρο έναν “πατριωτισμό” .
Ούτε να απλώνω λευκό σεντόνι την αγάπη μου για την ελευθερία και την ανεξαρτησία.
Γιατί πιστεύω στον καλώς εννοούμενο καπιταλισμό, γιατί μόνο μέσα σε αυτόν  έχω δει ότι μπορώ να είμαι ενεργή σαν καλλιτέχνης, να έχω το δικαίωμα να ερευνώ, να μαθαίνω, να ταξιδεύω, να καλλιεργώ και να καλλιεργούμαι.

Και τι ειρωνεία στη χώρα του υπέρτατου καπιταλισμού όλα αυτά τα μικρά, άοσμα ,και αυλα που αποζητώ έχουν διατηρηθεί με τέτοια ευλάβεια.

Στη χώρα που αγαπώ, νοσταλγώ και θεωρώ σπίτι  μου όμως, το θυμικό μας είναι τόσο υπερεκτιμημένο που μου ζητά να κόψω πολλά όργανά μου για να ευθυγραμμιστώ μαζί του.

Δυστυχώς Αλέξη Τσίπρα, δεν μπορώ… Και δεν στο συγχωρώ…

Invitation to (a descent in) Athens.

June 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

The sweetness of cold strawberries in sugar and lemon, combined with fresh crusty meringues , and topped with a thick and ice cold whipped cream, dominated the way I perceived the evening.

athens

Plato’s words on love.
Beauty, virtue, μέτρο / moderation/measure, Eros, πενία /poverty, and beauty again.
In the accompaniment of the most delicate, romantic, rose flavoured wine.

Sharing.

athens1

A morning voyage in Greek history, touching the warm pebbles, the grounding, and  cultivation…
A light in the museum that  made Athens look part of a continuum. Linking the old with the new …

photo 5 (3)
Words. In English , in Greek , in Spanish, in Swedish…

A small community of people for three days, together, for many hours, people who didn’t know each other before.
Artists, philosophers, psychoanalysts, pastors, family members staying late, trying to get deep into ideas, and words, and language.
And a dive in the cold sea. On a cloudy afternoon.

φωτογραφία 2 (3)

Invitation to a descent in Athens.

(29th,30th,and 31st of May 2015)

Berlin, the starting point.

April 16, 2015 § 4 Comments

“Is there anything collective that can be shared?”- in life and on stage?.
Was one of the first questions I asked when I started working on “Greece A-cry”, several years ago at the ImpulsTanz Festival in a research project with Vera Mantero.

photo 1

Then it took many forms and changed many times; until I realized that art cannot be disconnected from life itself, and at some point my artistic issues met my existential ones (or did that happen from the beginning already?) and then the question changed to : “What is performative in the most mundane everyday-life “act” ? Or, maybe: Is there anything performative that remains (text, movement,etc) once a still, speechless body on stage is relieved of all other performative tools?”

photo 4

Until last year, at the 5th Kinitiras Choreography Lab, the question became more clear or more like a clear sense  :
…”In the same way that in my field, although the possibilities are countless, I don’t want to do anything, I don’t want to perform, I have nothing to say, to produce…
Can I just carry the  “excess” of the work? Can I just carry the blood, the tears, the sweat, and all the non tangible? Someone has to do that job, no?”…

WIN_20150407_091838

And there I was, ready to work on “Greece, A -Cry” renamed as “Greece A-Cry, or I am the daughter of” again!
WIN_20150330_143606

WIN_20150330_143608WIN_20150330_143616

This time being more “brave” as my closest people have said. Αs I was about to include a feedback/discussion in the end of every performance , from which I would draw the material in order to change the performance each time. According to the audiences’ feedback.

Very interesting experience. And hard.
A lot harder than I would have expected it to be.
The feedback / discussion part I mean.
It is weird, because I heard from many people from the audience, how vulnerable they felt I was on stage, and how brave I was to expose myself in such a way, whereas for me the real exposure started only after the performance.
When the audience gave their feedback. Oh, how vulnerable did I feel then. I sat with my notebook on a desk behind a pillar, trying to be as invisible as I could.
And I was accused (with reason) for being empowered on that point!
It was my attempt to feel a bit less vulnerable I suppose.
It was an unconscious defensive empowered“ position, nevertheless empowered in the eyes of the audience…

greeceacry1

(Photo : Panagiotis Paschalidis)

Once Marina Abramovic gave this performance in which she placed on a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use in any way they chose. One of them was a gun and a single bullet. She assigned a passive role to herself, with the public being the force which would act on her.
For six hours the artist allowed the audience members
to manipulate her body and actions.

I remember she said in a recent interview that this was something very dangerous she did, and that she felt real fear that someone would kill her.

Now, I wouldn’t even dare to compare myself to such a great performance artist , but I suppose giving the audience the voice to express feedback after my piece, brought back in mind this incident with the gun and the bullet.
In the sense that somehow I was ready to be shot by the audience, I mean.

greeceacry2

( Photo: Panagiotis Paschalidis )

But , I was lucky enough because the audience was brave, as well.
Because they spoke and exposed themselves, they were also vulnerable before me and the rest of the audience, I am so grateful to them, as I am to the whole procedure.
Many things should be changed, many things should be included in this last  part of the performance , the feedback part.

Someone said: You know I felt the performance ended when the conversation ended… As if the conversation/discussion/feedback was part of the performance.

I think he is right. The performance did end after that.

Apart from many interesting comments, two major questions arose from the audience:

Where was the dance?” , and
Were you dancing?”.

Again, this brought in mind something Marina Abramovic said some years ago in the film “The Artist is Present“: There is only one question I didn’t hear since ten years “Why is this art?”, I think she said she missed people asking her that question…

So, here I am back in Zurich , with plans to show “Greece A Cry-or I am the daughter of” in different cities and countries in Europe. With enough feedback to change, include, rebuild…

With the hope that this journey continues in the years to come.
And with the wish to go back to Berlin.
Because Berlin and Stillpointspaces Berlin, will always remain the
starting point of Greece-A Cry or I am the daughter of“…

Lastly, I include the recipe of the chickpeas I cooked that night for the audience.
Because senses in performance are important.
But, also because I needed to “hurt” the audience
with as many tools as I had in my hands.
Or to put it in a more contemporary way,  I needed to be present in as many ways as I could as an artist. Cooking, really
served this need for being present in many different ways.

Recipe for Chickpeas with Lemon,Rosemary and Thyme (it serves about 30 people-small portions)
2kg chickpeas
4 cubes of chicken buillon (or enough chicken broth to cover the chickpeas)
4 cloves garlic
4 really big or 8 small onions
juice of 8 lemons
a Cup of extra virgin olive oil, you can always add at the end
Rosemary and thyme as much as you like

Firstly, put the chickpeas in enough water to cover them and leave them over night or at least for 8 hours.
In the morning,  get rid of the water , wash the chickpeas under fresh water, and put them in a cooking pot with enough cold water to cover them. Let them boil in medium heat and discard this first water after the boil.
Replace with fresh water enough to cover the chickpeas and let them boil under medium heat. Put the olive oil, chicken cubes, the garlic cloves , the onions, rosemary,  and thyme, as well as  enough salt and pepper , and let them simmer for an hour.
Then include the juice of 8 lemons and let them simmer for another 3 to 4 hours at least, or until they are done. You can always include more water and/ or olive oil, when needed. Check for seasoning. Let them sit for an hour before served.
They go well with feta cheese, bread and Kalamata olives.

Now, is the time of the big crisis.

February 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

I live away from Greece for 5 years now.

Most of the time I have felt and feel nostalgic about the beautiful things I miss.

Mostly, about the simple pleasures that we as Greeks cherish so much. A coffee under the sun, a glass of wine one shares with friends, a simple dining experience in a “koutouki” tavern, watching a film in an open air cinema under the moonlight …

photo 2-7

If you are Greek you know what I mean don’t you?.

Here, where I live now, pleasure has no place in everyday life, everything serves a necessity and life values are built around these necessities.
I have a very big problem accepting this reality, even five years after my arrival, especially because were we stand financially and socially, as two self employed professionals , a psychoanalyst and a dancer, makes me feel more vulnerable before this so well-organized life system.
In a city where the most acclaimed professions are in the fields of finance, banking and IT, finding work as a foreigner creative dance teacher, and artist, while being a mother, constitutes an everyday struggle that most of the time seems utopian …

But…
After the latest elections in my home country, it is the first time I find myself so far away from Greece, as well.

photo 4-3

As if I don’t belong there anymore. I feel so alienated and in complete opposition to where the majority of the Greeks (as depicted in the elections result) stand, but also so far away from where my acquaintances, and the people from my close circle stand.

In fact so far away, that I got sick for two weeks without being able to work or get out of bed.

What is really strange though, is that I don’t support and have never supported a right-wing party in my life.
My opposition to this government would have been expected in that case.

On the contrary, and strangely enough my major problem with this government, is that it makes me feel so far away from my left identity.
I can’t connect, understand , or relate, to its major stands .
I don’t see anything deeply humane, I see radical and not open or progressive , I see conservative and nationalistic, I see dead ends.

photo-2

And I also see people of all political beliefs supporting a primitive, almost vulgar lifestyle, in which anything sophisticated is taken a priori as vicious… for anyone with tradition and memory, anyone with a past , anyone with intellectual explorations is identified as privileged, and therefore, suspect.

A big catastrophe has taken place in my country. A big catastrophe is taking place in my country.

And in catastrophes, ideologies are not important. For we have to pack what has remained of what we once had, and try our best to survive. In catastrophes we don’t all suffer the same of course. And that’s why we have to be humane and connected to each other. In order to help when we can, and get help when we need it .

photo-3

In Greece we are quite the opposite though.
Even now, at the edge of the cliff , we still are more separated than ever.
And Syriza has played this game very well I must say.
Because when one takes naively (?) the position of Antigone in a society, one must expect Kreon’s rise as a result.

photo-4

And we should have known better. Because the time of the great naiveté’ is over. For good or for bad.

Once and forever.

Now, is the time of the big crisis.