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The music would begin, the rhythm insistent, the voice harsh and metallic, and the dancer would rise as if compelled to make his statement. Eyes half-closed, in trance -like absorption, cigarette hanging from his lips, arms outstretched as if to keep his balance, he would begin to slowly circle. (...)..but the dancer seems to be feeling his way, searching for something, unsteady on his feet. The dance took place, in public, people were watching it, and yet it appeared to be a private, introspective experience for the dancer.(...)

"Road to Rembetika, Gail Holst, 1975.


In December 2008, I started  my final project within my BA studies in dance at the National Dance Academy. The topic of the research paper was: "REBETIKO: Intreccio di Storie diverse - Ricerca ed elaborazione del linguaggio musicale-coreutico della tradizione urbana greca" (REBETIKO: An interweaving web of different stories - Research and exploration of the musico-choreutic language of GreeK Urban Tradition).


The starting point, but also the core of this project was Rebetiko; a term that is still used to indicate the triptych of music, song and dance, rooted in Middle East and inseparable from the Greek society since the early twentieth century to the present day. The intention to investigate, analyze, review and re-propose the extensive material of Rebetiko,  relies on personal passion for the specific traditional urban music and the two associated types of dance, as well as the desire to use my cultural background as a source of inspiration within an artistic discourse. 

The first performative outcome was "Intreccio di Storie Diverse" ;

a 20  minutes long dance, theatre and video piece with live music, played by the Italo-Greek band : Evi Evan.


Alongside the theoretical and performative aspect of the project, started a series of  ImproFolk workshops, concerning mainly body research/work and improvisation. The focus is on revisiting different kinds of urban folk dances and discovering how these  influence and inform a dance setting, becoming a blueprint to find a form of intimate and personal dance.


ImproFolk and Recycling Strategies for research & performance


Brief description


The workshop examines how to revisit, adopt and adapt the folk material in a new cultural context. This workshop wants to challenge the participants through a process of individual or/and collective exploration, deconstruction, selection (re)use of a given “cultural material” in order to discover new ways to perform it based on some of the basic principles of contemporary dance improvisation. The “cultural material” that is used as a starting point is related mostly to Rebetiko, an urban traditional genre of music and dance, developed in the 20th century during the two world wars in Greece but with roots related to the Ottoman Empire and the culture of the Minor Asia.
The two main dances of Rebetiko– a female and a male dance of irregulars Rhythms (9/8)-­‐and text of songs are proposed and the participants are invited to bring a folk song of their own cultural heritage or a dance as a sample of a cultural reference. During the workshop we will facilitate the creation of an experimental space that encourages the blossoming of collective and individual instant composition.


Impro taximi _ Kostis Kotsopoulos - Unknown Artist
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