Curators’ Statement

The opening ceremony of this year's festival will feature the dance performance Mellowing by the Dance On Ensemble from Berlin, co-produced with Onassis Stegi from Greece and the National Choreographic Centre Rillieux-la-Pape from France, and choreographed by Greek artist Christos Papadopoulos. The Dance On Ensemble has previously participated in the Bitef festival through a collaboration with choreographer Jan Martens, and what sets this German company apart is that its dancers are all over forty. In this collaboration with Papadopoulos, their first together, they explore the essence of the ensemble itself, posing the question of what it means to mature. How does the body mellow and change as it matures? Eleven dancers gradually fill a clean, white space, and, subtly shifting weight from one joint to another, accompanied by music composed by Italian-Greek composer Coti K. that resembles the ticking of a metronome, they explore the possibilities of human attention and concentration through a minimalist and almost meditative scenic expression. Drawing inspiration from classical dance techniques, eleven bodies synchronize minimalist movements forming collective images, assembling in diverse constellations that they occasionally break apart only to rebuild them, all the while enabling us to enjoy the beauty woven into the cracks of the seemingly strictly formalized language of the stage. Finally, the mellowing in Mellowing is precisely reflected in the subtly executed idea of individual rebellion through just barely noticeable disruptions of established limitations. Papadopoulos and the Dance On Ensemble explore moments that create a certain feeling of unrest, yet which also possess a kind of calming power, both for the bodies on stage and for those in the audience.