Self Portrait is a solo dealing with the body in performance. Originally presented in Athens in 2005, and in festivals around Greece it has also been presented in the UK, Place, Robin Howard Theatre as part of Resolution festival 2008.
Moving away from the primary visceral approach (Roes theatre 2005, Theseum, a theatre for the arts 2006), that presented the performer’s body on intense physicality and in internal psychological turbulence, the work has entered the stage of revision and comment (Robin Howard dance theatre [London], Megaron Mousikis [Athens] 2008); a reflection upon the structural elements of the original choreography and a different approach on the performer-audience relationship, challenging the “in and out of the piece”, image, role playing, time, “truth”. The performer’s role in Self Portrait (2008) is to articulate and dance the choreography, create intimacy and distance with the audience, become the observer and the observed.
Concept-choreography: Iris Karayan
Music: Nikos Veliotis
Costume: Vasiliki Panayiotopoulou
Lighting design: Elisavet Moraki
Performer: Marilena Petridou
Production: ZITA dance company, 2005-2008, YPPO
All photographs © Elisavet Moraki
Showings:4th Festival of the Greek choreographers association, Athens_Roes Theatre, June 2005, VIDEODANCE2005, Thessaloniki_Milos, September 2005, Theseum_A Theatre for the Arts, June 2006, Resolution 08!_Robin Howard Dance Theatre, Londin, UK, January 2008, 3rd Greek Contemporary Dance_Athens Megaron, January 2008, Contemporary Dance Platform Serres Municipal Theatre, March 2008
Resolution reviews 2008
Dancer Marilena Petridou walks into a dimly-lit stage and begins a lecture-demonstration on her performance. An engrossing chain of images ensue as she begins the dance proper: a fascinatingly detailed floor-based sequence of writhing and shuddering, accompanied by painfully loud white noise which stops only when Petridou achieves an upright position; a trail of sticky notepapers distributed Hansel and Gretel style; a series of carefully performed gestures facing the audience. However, the totality is somewhat illegible. The choreography seems so abstracted from its source that understanding something about the subject of the performance, the self, is problematic. Despite this, the unusual movement language and attention to detail left a pleasing lasting impression.
ZITA dance company’s Self Portrait, a solo for Marilena Petridou choreographed by Iris Karayan, aims to say something about the body in performance. She (de)constructs the dance’s fundamentals and states objectives. Either addressing the audience or jerking through introverted motifs; changing into a multifaceted dress; writhing and scraping in fits and starts; flipping from soft call and response to robotics and martial arts. Petridou’s proficiency is proven and there’s something thrilling about a drum kit only used once. An artist is a schizophrenic thing, and maybe that’s the point. The effect is slightly marred by eclecticism though, and feels impalpable in places.