In the eyes of the public a dancer’s career may seem like a sprint, but in fact it is a marathon of challenges, beginning with training at a young age and coming to a close with the final bow. As a career wanes, every dancer is called upon to refute the obvious: the body, exhausted by the constant technical demands, has to resist decline and continue to shine before the triumphant exit.
Classically trained dancer Ioannis Mandafounis, who has performed with internationally recognized modern dance troupes, returns in this work to his “first love,” ballet, paying it a final tribute. The piece plays with the overblown sentimentality of the farewells of the “étoiles,” the great ballet stars, while also retaining its own sentimentality, as well as humor. An evening that takes us behind the scenes to show how ballet routines are learned, offering a commentary on the superhuman struggle hiding behind the seemingly painless art of dance. Antigone Frida plays the role of teacher-pianist.
Concept & Interpretation: Ioannis Mandafounis
Teacher & Musician: Antigone Frida
Dramaturg: Eri Kyrgia
Coaching: Smaralia Karakosta
Light: David Kretonic
Sound: David Scrufari
Administration & Communication: Mélanie Fréguin
Production Management: Erin O’Reilly
Line Production: Cie Ioannis Mandafounis
Co-production: City of Vernier – communication department, Theater Freiburg, STEPS International Dance Festival of Migros Cultural Percentage, Onassis Stegi, Migros Culture Percentage Dance Festival Steps
Supported by: City of Geneva, State of Geneva, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
With the support of: Duncan Dance Research Center
Thanks to: École de danse de Genève – Patrice Delay and Sean Wood
Mandafounis was twice recipient of Onassis Foundation fellowships. Both times were catalytic for his career: the first gave him the opportunity to study at the Paris Conservatoire, one of the most important dance academies in the world. Several years later, in the context of his continuing education as a dancer, he received a second fellowship to study alongside Master Akira Hino in Japan.
Setting out and coming to an end. Typically, the life of a classical ballet dancer begins with training at a young age, in some cases as young as 8, and ends in middle age, around 45. While there are always exceptions to these rules, the career of classical dancers is relatively short. For stars (“étoiles”), the final bow is a moment of ultimate exaltation.
Despite his training in classical dance, Ioannis Mandafounis didn’t follow the career of a classical dancer. Nevertheless, he still declares ballet to have been his “first love.” Like anything else you devote yourself to entirely, ballet involves moments of painful preparation, and others of great joy and reward. The dancer constantly struggles with the limits of his body, of his endurance, with himself and the exaggerated demands of the profession.
Though the utter admiration for the hard-won bodily capabilities of a dancer may be a cliché, underneath remains an entire system of discipline to rules. And while on stage everything hinges on upholding those rules, behind the scenes, that entirely “ascetic” dedication can also comprise an excuse for humorous, light moments.
Onassis Cultural Centre, Main Stage.
How to get there
By bus or trolley-bus:
Take bus or trolley-bus and get off at ‘Panteion’.
If you are heading downtown, the bus/trolley stop is just 10 metres from the entrance to the OCC.
If you are coming from the city centre or the Syngrou-Fix Metro station, use the pedestrian underpass in front of Panteion University to cross over to the other side of Syngrou Avenue.
On the Metro:
Take the ‘red line’ (Line 2: Anthoupoli – Elliniko) and get off at ‘Syngrou-Fix’. Follow the signs to “Exit to Syngrou/Drakou” and you will emerge on Syngrou Avenue. From there, you can either take a bus or trolley-bus from the stop in front of the Metro escalators on Syngrou Avenue and get off 3 stops later at ‘Panteion’; if you are not in a hurry, it is a 12-minute walk down Syngrou Avenue to Panteion University, where you can use the pedestrian underpass to cross over to the other side of Syngrou Avenue.
Parking in the densely populated area around the OCC might be a problem, especially at night or during the weekend. The OCC has underground parking facilities for roughly 200 cars. Every level has designated places for people with mobility problems near the elevators.
Entrance on Leontiou street
5 € / 3 hours
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Wheelchair access is via the ramp on the building’s side entrance at the corner of Leontiou and Syngrou. Upper storeys are accessible via the elevator, and there is wheelchair access to all the Centre’s auditoria and galleries.
Event date and time:
12-14 April 2019, 20:30.