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Kalamata Dance Festival nurtures newcomers, revisits classics

Kalamata Dance Festival nurtures newcomers, revisits classics
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The Kalamata International Dance Festival has completed another year to wide acclaim.

The festival – which is the best known such event in Greece – was created in 1995 to promote dance and showcase the work of talented Greek and international choreographers.

Each year new dance projects attract a wide and varied audience.

Artistic Director Vicky Marangopouloy outlined the thinking behind the event: “Since it was conceived 19 years ago, the Kalamata International Dance Festival has showcased the most important choreographers in dance. These choreographers are now part of the history of contemporary dance. We also host younger talented artists who have been selected to perform at the festival. We believe that after some years they too will be highly acclaimed and a part of history.”

This year the event featured ‘STILL/Life’ – a commentary on the relationship between the developing world and the west.

Choreographer Qudus Onikeku was born in Nigeria and now lives and works in France. His work explores how the west has exploited the natural resources of Nigeria and what that means for the people.

He said: “I was just looking at the relationship with the kind of history that is repeated. And how can we navigate ourselves around it. It is just like the story of a man who is trying to rise and fall, and rise again and fall again. It was the second part of a trilogy on solitude, tragedy and memory.”

Rachid Ouramdane is one of the most highly regarded artists on the French contemporary dance scene. This year at Kalamata he presented ‘Exposition Universelle’.

“It’s a project that I created for the Avignon Festival two years ago. It attempts to observe how art has been complicit in developing political ideologies.This is a performance that shows how dance has been, at some point, connected to realism, socialism and Nazism,” said Ouramdane.

In 1985 Wim Vandekeybus’ dance company Ultima Vex made its debut with ‘What the Body Does Not Remember’. This year it was revived for the festival.

The choreographer told euronews about the piece: “I have many big theories about what the theme should be. When I looked back at it now, it is very simple. It is about instinct, it is about reflexes. It is about how things have to react, how the body has to react, without…” At which point Vandekeybus was interrupted by his son, which led him to say: “So, he [his son] doesn’t think, he comes. That is what this piece is about.”

Euronews reporter, Yorgos Mitropoulos, concluded: “In almost two decades, the Kalamata Dance Festival has become a leading destination for top dancers from around the world to showcase their work.”