MicroDances / Athens MicroDances / Athens
Acropolis Museum | National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMST) | Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) | Greek National Opera
MicroDances / Athens
October 2021
Acropolis Museum | National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMST) | Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) | Greek National Opera

MicroDances / Athens

As part of the European project An Ideal City



Screenshot en


Brussels • 9-11 December 2021 | Reggio Emilia • July 2022

The Greek National Opera Ballet presents MicroDances at three emblematic venues in Athens on 9 and 10 October. A five-hour wandering through dance along the axis of Syggrou Avenue, from the Acropolis Museum at Makrygianni to the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMST) at Fix and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) at Delta Falirou.

MicroDances is held as part of the project An Ideal City, which aims to research and explore the possibilities of dance as a public art that is rooted in the urban web of three cities: Athens, Reggio Emilia and Brussels. The project An Ideal City was launched in October 2020 and will be completed in July 2022. It is the fruit of the collaboration of three European dance organisations, Fondazione Nazionale della Danza / Aterballetto (Reggio Emilia, Italy), Les Halles de Schaerbeek (Brussels, Belgium), and the Greek National Opera Ballet and it is co-funded by the EU programme Creative Europe, which aims at supporting Europe’s cultural and creative industry. The GNO Ballet programme is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org] to the Greek National Opera.

MicroDances consists of short dance performances, from 6 to 10 minutes long, designed for one or three dancers and for small spaces. They were commissioned from artists from very different backgrounds and with very varied influences, who were called upon to create a rich and diverse choreographic environment. In the first phase of the programme works by eight Greek and thirteen foreign choreographers will be developed in an organic relationship with select museum/cultural venues in three cities. In the second phase they will be rearticulated according to each different city’s public space and the special way it converses with bodies and history.

On 9 and 10 October audience members will have the possibility to follow a five-hour route with 21 stops that will be divided into the four institutions hosting the works: the halls of the Acropolis Museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMST), the parking, Stavros Niarchos Park and Lighthouse of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), as well as the Foyer, the backstage of the Stavros Niarchos Hall, and the rehearsal rooms of the Greek National Opera.

The route will start every day from the Acropolis Museum at 11.00, 12.00 and 13.00, it will continue to the EMST and will conclude at around 16.00, 17.00 and 18.00 respectively, at SNFCC and GNO’s venues. Audience members will be transported from one venue to the other by a minibus leased by the GNO.

The relationship between spectacle and spectator is thus redefined dynamically and according to the specificities of each venue, the elements of each choreography and the succession of all the parts of the overall wandering experience – a narration that runs through the city, the stories, and the different bodies it is made of.

Due to the special nature of the performances and the COVID-19-related restrictions, only limited places will be available for the public. Ticket reservations will be made at ticketservices.gr from Tuesday 5/10/2021 on a first come, first served basis. Ticket information for the Acropolis Museum is available at: https://theacropolismuseum.gr/organosi-episkepsis#eisitiria. Ticket information for EMST: EMST: https://www.emst.gr/visit. Audience members who will attend MicroDances must present a valid certificate of vaccination against or recovery from COVID-19. Mask wearing is necessary throughout the route and presentations.

An Ideal City aims at bringing out the public art of dance in three European urban landscapes with a strong historical and symbolic character, Athens, Reggio Emilia and Brussels. More specifically, with this project the three organisations aim to:

  • experiment through an alternative presentation and enjoyment of dance performances in urban spaces with very different atmospheres
  • explore the body’s possibilities to narrate the multiple urban and social transformations
  • create performances that can be transformed according to different locations, perspectives and cultural contexts, as well as through the process of being “translated” by different participants, viewers and interlocuters.

An Ideal City is curated by Gigi Cristoforetti (Fondazione Nazionale della Danza / Aterballetto), Christophe Galent (Les Halles de Schaerbeek), Konstantinos Rigos (Greek National Opera Ballet).

The project’s scientific committee consists of three curators, who take part in the overall evolutionary design, its interdisciplinary dimensions and the multiple urban applications and structural changes of its two phases of implementation: Costanza Meli in Reggio Emilia for Fondazione Nazionale della Danza / Aterballetto, Pauline de La Boulaye in Brussels for Les Halles de Schaerbeek and Nadja Argyropoulou in Athens for the Greek National Opera Ballet.








1. Knight Rider

Choreography: Yannis Nikolaidis
Sound design: Manolis Manousakis
Costumes: Ioanna Tsami
Dancer: Margarita Kostoglou (Eleftheria Stamou)*
▶ Parthenon Gallery Αtrium

I often feel that the exhibits in the museums I visit are war captives. Just like the wild animals in the zoos. Objects and creatures forever trapped, violently removed from their natural environment and separated from the reason of their existence. Often, their enemy is the ruthless time rendering them museum exhibits, or just human greediness. Often, those less fortunate than us have this experience, trapped in ruined bodies that fail to fulfill the desires of their spirit. Doomed to complete the rest of their life inside them. Wonderful knights in painfully rigid armours.

— Yannis Nikolaidis


2. Active Motivation

Choreography: Elena Kekkou
Music, live performance: Antonis Vlachos
Choreographer’s assistant: Dimitra Vlachou
Dancer: Elena Kekkou
▶ Parthenon Gallery

Every existence is unique. Human existence is an endless line that, as it moves forward, intersects with other lines creating an interaction. It begins alone and ends alone. The essence, however, is in the intermediate state. Movement contains a code that unlocks the essence of existence and demarcates it. The choice of the position is what defines the path.

— Elena Kekkou


3. Eppur si muove 01

Choreography: Francesca Lattuada
Music: Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 7, 2nd Movement: Allegretto
Costumes: Bruno Fatalot
Dancer: Clément Haenen
▶ Archaic Acropolis Gallery / The Antenor Kore

Wrapped in the elegant and impalpable costume of Bruno Fatalot, a dancer moves solemnly on a barrel-pedestal, pulled by the painful and mysterious note of Beethoven’s Allegretto.

His dance fascinates and seduces, as impressive as a prayer song.
An im-mobile dance.
Im-mobility of the secular tree.
Soft movements, invisible to the naked eye.
The blood dripping in the veins, the heart beating.
A sensually funeral dance.
Obstinate Love.
A dance that celebrates an incessant, inexorable, ineluctable flow of the
Combination of solemnity and simplicity.

«Simplicity is complexity solved.» — Constantin Brâncuşi


4. Forget Me Not

Choreography: Konstantinos Rigos
Music: Giorgos Koumendakis
Saxophone: Guido de Flaviis
Choreographer’s assistant: Fotis Diamantopoulos
Dancers: Danilo Zeka / Vangelis Bikos
▶ Archaic Acropolis Gallery / Hekatompedon (East pediment)

An archetypical, manly, solid body, trapped in restoration rafters, breathes all over again. It is brought to life through the air released by a wind instrument creating the melody of its breath as well as of its final release from limitation. A visual mobile trajectory where the body creates architectural gestures engaging in conversation with the “static” statues on the site. Inspired by the lockdown period and the silence of the city.

— Konstantinos Rigos


5. Near Life Experience

(extract from a creation of 2003)
Choreography: Angelin Preljocaj
Music: Air (Jean-Benoît Dunckel, Nicolas Godin)
Dancers: Ivana Mastroviti, Hélias Tur-Dorvault
▶ Entrance hall

Like crystal creatures, the bodies of two dancers resound to the clinking of the glass flutes covering them. Each gesture, step and lift, defined and measured within a small and delimited space, creates a suspension in the air: in front of the spectator’s eyes, the intimate secret of a relationship is shown, where even a simple embrace should take care not to break the fragile tenderness of a feeling, of a love.

Near Life Experience is a quest into different states of the body, states which relate to intermediary sensations. We verge on these states when we near zones which hover on the edge of existence, to which we have access in moments of fainting, during a trance, in the instant of ecstasy, or orgasm. The notion of both rapture and ravishment, of both intensely luminous sensation and the carrying off of the individual, comes close to this experience. The subject is elsewhere, carried off from himself, he is ravished. Near Life Experience evokes all of this, an attempt to remove oneself from space and time. A sort of eclipse of the self, a quest through this imaginary amnios – a new expression in the space left by the body.

— Angelin Preljocaj




1. Pensieri di carta

Choreography, original music: Hélias Tur-Dorvault
Musical arrangements: Alessandro Grisendi
Dancer: Martina Forioso
▶ Amphitheatre

This short piece explores the world of thoughts. Memories, expectations, frustration, excitement, doubts… Through audio recordings of her own voice, the dancer is led on a journey into her own conflicted mind. The body responds to the different emotions, following the inner chatter of her incessant stream of thoughts, led into an unstoppable dance.


2. The Bell Jar

Choreography, set, costumes: Fernando Melo
Music: Machinefabriek, Thomas Köner
Dancer: Grace Lyell
▶ 4th floor

A dance that becomes a game of optical illusion. The dancer projects on a film her doubled moving image. It is as if she were inside a glass bell, which distorts her vision of the world and keeps her from connecting with the people around her. The spectator, disorientated at first, can choose whether to enter her world or remain distant and alien.

The Bell Jar invites the audience to observe a dancer through an optical lighting film. This glass-like structure creates the optical illusion of a double image and a sense of disorientation to the observer. Behind this frame, watching the simple actions of a person becomes a unique visual experience. I have always been interested how watching a performer can be an exercise in empathy. The simple fact of observing another human being can challenge existing habits of thought and open up new perspectives. Particularly in times when, too often, conformism and fear seem to prevail, understanding the actions of others through empathy is crucial to our co-existence.

— Fernando Melo


3. Inside

Choreography, set, costumes: Norge Cedeño Raffo
Music: Erik Satie
Dancer: Estelle Bovay
▶ 4th floor

Sometimes in a room from which we have no way of escaping, we try to build a cosy space around ourselves where only music plays. And this is what Cuban choreographer Norge Cedeño Raffo has sought to do with his microdance, which reminds us of that feeling of solitude and desire to escape experienced in recent times.


4. bodies. ever. stitches

Choreography: Cecilia Bengolea
Music: Stitches, “Brick in Yo Face”
Choreographer’s assistants: Dimitra Laoudi, Valeria Lanzara
Dancers: Emilia Gaspari (Mania Karavassili)*, Marita Nikolitsa / Areti Noti
▶ Roof (Terrace)

bodies. ever. stitches (2021) is a duet choreographed by Cecilia Bengolea as a new approach to the solo Erika Stitches of 2017. At the invitation of the Greek National Opera, Bengolea revisits the piece originally conceived for the Japanese ballerina Erika Miyauchi and Dia Art Foundation, and creates a work to be performed by two Greek ballerinas at the open terrace of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens (EMST). Engaging with the diverse languages of ballet and dance hall, Bengolea’s work, in this revisited form, triggers an extended, non-hierarchical dialogue between different bodies as they meet the critical specificity of space, sound, translation, circumstance.




1. Fragments

Choreography: Persa Stamatopoulou
Music: Apostolis Koutsogiannis
Costume coordination: Yorgos Mesimeris
Choreographer’s assistant: Irina Akrioti-Kolioubakina
Dancers: Stelios Katopodis, Thanassis Solomos
▶ Parking lot

It is a choreographic study on two bodies that coexist bringing out their differences and contrasts. Through an unadorned and abstract aesthetic approach, a microcosm of shifts in space and time emerges, with bodies hovering like comets in the universe and conversing collectively or as autonomous units.

— Persa Stamatopoulou



Choreography: Michalis Theophanous
Choreographer’s assistant: Fotis Diamantopoulos
Costume coordination: Yorgos Mesimeris
Dancer: Arieh Bates-Vinueza (Ángel Martínez Sánchez)*
▶ Lighthouse / Bridge

HARPY is a meditation in form of dance about modernity and classic, combining fashion, and the visual arts to propose a game to an inside-out world of that character. A dance performance that inhabits a highly visual environment and approached as a still image that gets alive, followed by the methodology “look and feel” as a project. Influenced in an abstract way by the interesting mythical creatures Harpies, the body transforms itself through different forms: ephemeral shapes that change endlessly as an evolving subject. A body that skips from lyrical and airy into stiff awkward to observe moves; like the “creature” which sometimes is described as being very beautiful, and sometimes as an ugly creature with a warped body.

— Michalis Theophanous


3. Turn the Tide

Choreography, set, costumes: Roberto
Music: BowLand
Dancers: Serena Vinzio, Matteo Fiorani
▶ Lighthouse / Terrace

Turn the Tide on Plastic. This is the name of the racing boat that during the Volvo Ocean Race collected important data on the pollution of the ocean by microplastics, discovering that they are much more widespread than people think. A recent study by the University of Newcastle has calculated for the first time that the amount of plastic we ingest is equal to one credit card per week. There are seven plastic islands discovered so far in the world. Fluctuating landfills, accumulations of all shapes and colours. The emergency is much more serious than is perceived by the masses. Hence the idea of transforming chaos into an untouched bookshop, with neat rows of bottles, the aseptic white, suited to that state of trance in which we have immersed ourselves. An ornament instead of horror. But we must collect ourselves. The reversal of the trend is proving indispensable.


4. Blue Tits

Choreography: Lenio Kaklea
Choreographer’s assistant: Dimitra Laoudi
Dancers: Zoi Schinoplokaki, Yannis Gantsios
▶ Lighthouse / Terrace

If the modernist era, driven by the ideology of progress, wished to explore the unlimited possibilities of humans and nature, the succession of social and ecological crisis finds us constrained in regard to such ambitions. And, if classical dance repertory with its narratives, elaborated stereotypical racial and gendered characters, to which for two centuries dancers had to fit, this new decade finds us in the obligation to propose alternatives for our identities in motion.

In line with these critical thoughts, my choreography of the 7-9 minutes, 4x4m commission will be an exploration of the modernist and urban environment in which the dance will be situated. I will play with both the architectural elements of the SNFCC terrace as well as with how natural elements such as sun light, the sky’s movements and colours make appear or disappear the dancers’ figures. This short dance will also play with how steps and jumps (human, choreographed or animal like) organise the movements of the dancers in space, in relation to each other and with the audience.

— Lenio Kaklea


5. Butterfly

Choreography: Yorgos Papadopoulos
Music: Apostolis Koutsogiannis
Costume coordination: Yorgos Mesimeris
Dancer: Yorgos Papadopoulos
▶ Stavros Niarchos Park

The butterfly and its constant changes and metamorphoses are a wonderful and miraculous teaching for all of us, which gives us inner power. Through its effort to break out of the cocoon, the butterfly reminds us that challenges in life are a necessary condition for the course of our evolution. It carries inside it a centuries-long wisdom and if you are able and willing to listen to it, you will feel you can trust the universe. You will understand that life and death are just a transition and that the soul is never altered. The only thing that is altered is its manifestation through matter.

— Yorgos Papadopoulos


6. Eppur si muove 02

Choreography: Francesca Lattuada
Music: Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 7, 2nd Movement: Allegretto
Costumes: Bruno Fatalot
Dancers: Arianna Ganassi, Antonio Tafuni
▶ SNFCC Agora, GNO entrance

Wrapped in the elegant and impalpable costume of Bruno Fatalot, a dancer moves solemnly on a barrel-pedestal, pulled by the painful and mysterious note of Beethoven’s Allegretto.

His dance fascinates and seduces, as impressive as a prayer song.
An im-mobile dance.
Im-mobility of the secular tree.
Soft movements, invisible to the naked eye.
The blood dripping in the veins, the heart beating.
A sensually funeral dance.
Obstinate Love.
A dance that celebrates an incessant, inexorable, ineluctable flow of the
Combination of solemnity and simplicity.

«Simplicity is complexity solved.» — Constantin Brâncuşi




1. Platform02

Choreography: Ina Lesnakowski
Music: Loscil
Set: Carlo Cerri
Dancer: Saul Daniele Ardillo
▶ GNO Foyer

Platform02 is my first attempt at choreography. The motivation for this solo came from the idea for a simple concept. A concept in which the dancer’s space is continuously reduced challenging him to adapt his movement and a concept which would also fit well into microdances, where the dancer is already required to perform in a limited space.

What inspired me were questions that can only become more and more relevant. How much room do we give ourselves and how much do we need? What are the consequences of less and less room for everyone? How much space do we want to leave for other species and nature? All things in life need space and resources to flourish, that counts for ourselves, for nature, for the arts.

Together with Saul Daniele Ardillo I wanted to play with the relationship between space, the platform that is given to us, and movement, its qualities, its possibilities or limitations.

— Ina Lesnakowski


2. Phantasmagoria

Choreography: Markella Manoliadi
Music: Gabriel Fauré, “Après un rêve”
Singer: Artemis Bogri
Choreographer’s assistant: Dimitra Laoudi
Dancer: Ariadni Filippaki (Marta Rivero de Miranda)*
▶ GNO Foyer

Phantasmagoria usually refers to an exceptionally beautiful and impressive spectacle, yet in its core one finds two quite different notions: the spectre and allegory. A spectre, thus, persistently returns to the stage, goes through the entire history of theatre wanting to convey to us something from the “mythical suffering” in civilisation. A Promethean voice from the beyond, a vision-like projection of the craftsman-artist, the spectre as a “non-being” speaks about everything that has been forgotten, everything that is impressively present only in the ephemeral touch of art.


3. Carne da eroe 2.0

Installation: Roberto Zappalà
Music: Camille Saint-Saëns, “The Dying Swan” / Chinese market noises
Dancer: Giulio Pighini
▶ GNO Ballet Studio 1

A dancer tries to free his body by carving with his gestures the thin plastic wrapping around him. We perceive the tremor of every muscle, the suffocated breath, the desire to survive. His shudder is a cry in a compressed movement, the last beautiful song of a dying swan. From the gasps of the plastic we are overwhelmed by the dancer’s sighs: better heroes for a day or slaughter meat for life?


4. The Wound / Archive of Western Images

Concept, direction, choreography, set, costumes: Pietro Marullo
Sound designer: Jean-Noël Boissé
Assistant to the set design: Diana Ciufo
Assistant to the dramaturgy: Marianna Cifarelli
Dancer: Arianna Kob
▶ Stavros Niarchos Hall Backstage

It was born in me the desire to reflect and work on the idea of an archive, to put together an enormous quantity of images. Images of Western culture. I felt that that “tension there to hold together” would be my detonator. […]

However, it seems to me to glimpse two common elements that echo underground rivers that cross the great continent of Western art: I am referring to the veil concept and the figure of the woman. […] From a historical perspective, it’s precisely after the Second World War that the veil, that is the support of the image, begins to “speak”, to show itself as such. […] Scholars like Stoichita have not hesitated to compare Lucio Fontana’s cuts to Christ’s wounds side in the depictions of the Crucifixions, Passions, Pity, etc. So the veil leads us, in this very fast meta-medial reflection, to the concept of wound.

[…] The nerve centre is in my opinion in Hans Belting’s words when he announces that: “The history of art as a discipline isn’t dead yet, its methods are obsolete”, referring to Yves Klein’s operation of using the flamethrower to literally “burn the image” making the productive act of the image (the burning) a performative act. A creative action.

Following this perspective, it’s interesting for me to grasp a milestone of visual and performing art, that is, of representation: that of the wound. My project is therefore a question for the viewer: what is the wound of Western culture?

— Pietro Marullo


5. Shelter

Concept: Saul Daniele Ardillo, Simone Giorgi
Choreography: Saul Daniele Ardillo
Music: Pasquale Catalano
Dramaturgy: Simone Giorgi
Installation: Adam_Signature
Dancer: Minouche Van De Ven
▶ Stavros Niarchos Hall Backstage

“[…] this experience of the scapegoat is everywhere in society, except in each of us.” — René Girard

Rite and sacrifice are the key to interpreting this work in an installation frame, where movement and staticity are opposed like the old to the new, like the sacrificed to the sacrificer. But what if the latter were the same person?


6. Afterimage

Choreography, set: Philippe Kratz
Music: Pablo’s Eye
Video design: Ooopstudio
Dancer: Thomas Van De Ven (Philippe Kratz)*
▶ Stavros Niarchos Hall Backstage

Usually, dance is limited to representing ideas or states of mind through the form of the body. Through this microdance, the choreographer Philippe Kratz has tried to increase the expressiveness of the story by immersing the dancer, as in the performance of the legendary Loïe Fuller, in an environment of colours, chosen according to Goethe’s theory of the chromatic circle (for example, yellow is linked to the image of the bon vivant and the lover, purple is attributed to the teacher and the philosopher, and so on).

Afterimage (i.e. “the residual image”, that is the permanence on the iris of the colours that we have looked at for a long time) takes its cue from a personal story of the performer that is developed on three levels that interact with each other: the form of the movement, the atmosphere of the sound experience and the colour represented by the video animated projections.

In this case, however, Afterimage is also translated as the permanence of a memory experienced before our eyes, which we do not necessarily relive chronologically, but which remains impressed on us as a sensation into which we enter completely.

The fluid lines of the dancer serenely blend or clash with the projections that make the physical place of the stage, rigid and limiting in its three white walls, malleable and ephemeral at the same time. And the individual imagination of the spectator is stimulated in the search for signs of a story that is not explicitly told, but manifests itself “impressionistically” among red suns and purple cubes.


7. Kepler

Choreography: Diego Tortelli
Music: Noise music, Beach house
Set: Diego Tortelli, Alessandro Tortelli
Costumes: Diego Tortelli (in collaboration with Nuvia Valestri)
Video design: Alessandro Tortelli
Dancers: Leonardo Farina, Sandra Salietti Aguilera, Jamal Uhlmann
▶ Stavros Niarchos Hall Backstage

Kepler-452b is an exoplanet orbiting Kepler-452, a G-class star in the constellation Cygnus, 1,400 light years away from the solar system. The excitement surrounding the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star at a distance close to Earth’s distance from the Sun has led its discoverers to designate it as the most Earth-like exoplanet known to date.

If it were a rocky planet, it would be a Super Earth and, given its mass, would be geologically active with erupting volcanoes and covered, when viewed from space, in a thick blanket of clouds. If it were possible to observe the parent star from its surface, Kepler-452 would appear very similar to our Sun. Kepler-452b is also called “Earth’s old cousin” by NASA.

What if we really could colonise a new planet? How would our sense of body, of movement, of space change? What would we take with us from our previous experiences on our own planet? Would we be more human or more artificial, more analogue or more digital, more emotional or more rational? Would we return to create a new “prehistory” or build a new “future”?

What would be our relationship between a micro and a macro dimension in terms of different surfaces and new habitats?

The creation Kepler plays this almost science fiction and imaginary role of a micro-world within which the performer asks her/himself the question of inhabiting, colonising, surviving a new place through her/his dance.


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* The venues may change for technical reasons.

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