Saturday, July 26, 2014

Day 27: Final Post - Athens, Greece and Izmir, Turkey. Wrapping it up in Grand Style:) The Gifts of A Dancer's Life.

We took walks, boats, buses, planes and more buses from Ithaki to Athens arriving at the Intercontinental Hotel late in the evening. What a shift in environment it was! Going from our little island getaways to the business culture of a corporate hotel was a shock to my system. Luckily, I had a secret weapon to ameliorate the situation.. my mother was there waiting to greet me!!!  She joined us for the remainder of our tour and what a joy it was to be with her. I feel so grateful that she traveled all that way (from Houston, Texas) to share in the dance tour experience. My husband has also traveled with me all over the world in support of my dancing - these are memories that I will cherish my whole life through.
  Archive: Mimi, me and Danny on a dance tour in Positano, Italy !  Good times.
During our time together in Athens, Greece Mimi and I took the opportunity to visit all of the historic sites we could and walked until we dropped. Good times!

Together at the Parthenon.

In terms of work :) our performance venue in Athens was the world famous and overwhelmingly historic Herodes Atticus Odeon at the foot of the ancient Acropolis. This was the second time I had the profound privilege to perform there (Thank you Martha Graham). From its stage, the performer has a breathtaking view of the Parthenon lit up by golden light in the dark sky. The theater holds thousands upon thousands of audience members who must sit upon concrete benches with no back support in order to enjoy the performance. Even so, the Athens audience was lively, engaged and respectful. I danced “Errand” again that night with Ben Schultz and magically all of the elements came together. I still missed the sets of Graham’s Errand Into the Maze yet, somehow this ancient theater gave a mystical support to the dance that I had not experienced before. Although there were over 4,000 souls in the audience I felt that I was dancing for one. It may have been my most nuanced performance to date. Again, I am so grateful for that opportunity to be on the stage and live in the dance. 

 My first performance in the sacred space was as Cassandra, 2006 . Photo by Christophe Jeannot.

2014...Dancers doing a barre onstage in a sliver of shade.

A grand view of the Herodes Atticus.
Ben Schultz and I rehearse Errand in the blazing sun.
From the performance. Photo by

Our repertory for the show was the same as most every other venue with one BIG difference, we were joined by dancers from Athens performing Graham’s seminal group work Panorama. AMAZING!! Their director, my friend Penny Diamentapolous had worked these dancers to the point of perfection. The formations of the dance, sometimes linear, sometimes amorphous shone with a clarity I have rarely seen in this work. The dancers had fire in their eyes as they shot across the stage, contracted in mid-air and landed with the authority of Modern dance. Bravo to Penny and all of the dancers!!!!!!!
The Athens dancers were perfection.
The following day, Mimi and I took a side trip to the island of Hydra. OMG!! This was an experience for the books (or my blog). There are no automobiles on Hydra - the mode of transportation is donkey. The donkeys are stationed at the port when visitors arrive on the island. They take your luggage, move appliances whatever needs to be done. It truly is a culture different from my native one. I loved the experience. Mimi and I shared a day to remember.
Hydran donkeys work hard.

Inspiring colors abounded.
I took a swim in the sea - loved it!
My mother is always chic/fabulous.

The final stop on our European Summer tour was Izmir, Turkey which offers a beautiful promenade along the port and has a huge radius with panoramic views of the entire city. The traditional bazaar was just that BAZAAR! When Mimi, Lloyd, Lorenzo, Cain and I entered into it, we had no idea what a labyrinth it would become. All of the company members shopped, wheel-ed and deal-ed and came away with lovely items (some with silk rugs :).

Our performance was lovely as the Izmir audience welcomed us with warmth and enthusiasm. We were joined that evening by dancers from all over Turkey in Graham's Panorama staged once again by the dynamic Penny Diamentapolous. The Graham technique was new to these dancers and I was beyond impressed with their willingness to jump into the unknown. They made it work!!
Bazaar shopping with the crewe.
Mimi and Lloyd shop for rugs after their 100th glass of Turkish tea.
Jellyfish in the harbor. Izmir, Turkey.

Beautiful fixture in the central Mosque.

Classic scene in Turkey - a doggie enjoying a free life. Beauty.
Last show - Rite of Spring. In true Graham fashion, dance yourself to death.

This is the end. There is no finality - only to continue. Only to continue - one step at a time. Thank you for participating in my blog. Thank you to all of the dancers, presenters, directors, board members and audiences who made this blog possible. Thank you to my family and friends who encourage me to share my work and to continue it.

Thanks Simona!
Thanks to these kids and all of the dancers - kisses!

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