Bytheway Productions presents ‘SPIRIT’, a dance marathon by choreographer Eleana Alexandrou created in the midst of the pandemic, streaming online on June 27 & 28 live from the Rialto Theatre at 18:00 – 22:00 through Bytheway Productions’ Facebook page and Youtube channel.
About the performance
The performance is a dance marathon. There is one goal: to keep dancing until the last minute. The marathon will last four hours.
The audience has free access and may connect through their screens from a space of their choice with a coffee or a snack, for as long as they decide or come and go as they choose.
The condition is new and creates a number of challenges for everyone. The rehearsals took place through screens in bedrooms or kitchens, where there was space for a body to move. Due to the restrictive measures, ‘SPIRIT’ will be released live on the internet. What the viewer will see is not the documentation and presentation of a performance but a live durational work designed for screen.
Why four hours? Indeed, the duration might appear menacing. Is this new situation not changing soon? Could the decision to become involved with the marathon turn the apparent dead-end into a new perspective? What to do with all this time? How do I keep my body alive? How do I coordinate my arms and feet? What do I do with my thoughts? How to deal with tiredness, exhaustion? if I get lost, will there be someone to help me? Where is the viewer?
The viewer, though not physically there, may have an entrance and presence in the work. They may, in a way that will be announced later, send their questions, thoughts or associations to be answered or commented on, thus creating a dialogue that will accompany the performers throughout the duration of the marathon.
Thoughts by Eleana Alexandrou
Often, I have questions about the very function of the art of dance in relation to the place and community I live in. How does the viewer relate to a contemporary performance? I seek communication pathways between the spectator and the work whose main component is the experience of the body.
In 2018, I started my nine-month long residency at Dance House Lemesos, with a task for myself: to enter the studio and dance for as long as I can, without any themes or other questions. At first, this “meaningless” decision was very difficult to sustain. This period was followed by performances/ trials in studios, galleries, public spaces with one spectator, with many or none. Then, there was my participation at the Buffer Fringe Festival in 2019, where I danced for three hours and from time to time I answered questions I received from the spectators.
These experiences, led me to ‘SPIRIT’. I negotiate the availability of the performer towards the viewer, the abundance of time, the engagement with a movement and its extensions, the now that becomes more important than the tomorrow, the effort to conquer the self – as a spectator or a mover. After the restlessness, the self suppresses, accepts, acquires space. Thoughts are produced, they are constantly there unless I consciously try to dismiss them, to direct the attention somewhere specific like the rhythm of my breath or the countless wrinkles on my hands from the countless washes.
Concept/Direction: Eleana Alexandrou
Dramaturgy: Elena Agathokleous
Sound design and performance: Panos Bartzis
Performance: Arianna Marcoulides, Petros Konnaris, Rania Glymitsa, Marina Argyridou
Light design: Aleksandar Jotovic
Graphic design: Omiros Panayides
Production/Visual direction consultancy: Eva Korae | bytheway productions
Broadcast direction: Constantinos Eracleous
Technical direction: Yiannos Ionas | EventPro
The performance is created within the framework of the TERPSICHORI programme of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth of Cyprus.
Supporters: Makers Will Make, Cyprus University of Technology – Department of Multimedia and Graphic Arts, VSMS Lab – Visual Sociology and Museum Studies Lab