Chameleon dance theatre

Posted on August 25, 2011


by Stavros Kottas and Zoe Kollatou

Talking about dance, us, humanity and other serious stuff… 

Z. inspiration? 

S. true inspiration occurs no more than 2-3 times in a lifetime. I believe in everyday practice. 

Z. inspiration lasts no more than a few seconds. If you don’t know what to do with it, it is as if it never came to you. Influence comes from everyday life, usually from negative issues and events. There’s no longer inspiration by the sea, the wind, the birds, the miracle of life, love etc. 

S. things that interest me change al constantly. Everything has been danced before. The way makes the difference. The way you see, the way you move, the way you live. There is no recipe; there is a method, some form of technique. Then you start deconstructing to reach your own pattern. That way you avoid clichés, recognizable forms and create an individual one. Your form. You need a framework to work in and meet your needs. Not easy, but nice.

Z. Define cliché in a dance piece.

S. Bringing your everyday life on stage. Art does not imitate life, it invents it. 

Z. One could say everything is cliché. Art doesn’t imitate life. Artists copy each others work. Lack of confidence? Lack of aim? Lack of creativity? Lack of imagination? Lack of respect towards the audience. It is like you underestimate the audience. Could get influenced by another artist, a particular work, an idea. It is unthinkable to steal somebody else’s creation and present it as your own though.

S. Copying seems so simple. It is not. Transforming an element might be interesting. Maybe copying happens because there is no interest in experimenting or discovering new things. Regarding the audience, be interested in everybody, everything, even rocks! If there is no audience, there is no performance. Like faith. Without followers, it doesn’t exist. There should be a ritual. In everything we do.

Z. If I don’t respect the audience, they will not respect me. There is no specific target group, though. Positive or negative remarks, I don’t mind. All opinions are valid, as long as someone has something to say. Indifference bothers me. I would like the audience to take something with them. Maybe even to have some thoughts…

S. The aim is to emotionally move the spectator.

Z. To have what is in our mind, present in the work. I don’t want to pass on any message, ‘teach’ or dictate. No fingers pointing. It is just our point of view on our environment. If I could manage to assist different points of view closer to mine, I would be very happy.

S. Days where art had to be necessarily didactic are long gone. Even though it can be didactic, it’s not its sole purpose. We need to look ahead. Question the ethics of our time. Not in a social or political perspective. Political art nowadays has to be read differently. People are interested in deep and superior issues. They want to leave a performance full of questions, not answers. This is true entertainment. We are used to watch really fast cut, easily digestible, simple things on TV. There is no proper education system. Not only for the arts, in general. We are not going through just an economic crisis but an ethical, intellectual, educational one. We could overcome it if we truly understood the extent of it. We will be able to help each other out. Then we would be able to pass the message towards the audience. Let’s just hope… 

Is dance necessary in our lives? To what extent? 

Z. Nothing is really necessary apart from our basic needs. Dance could work or not in a different way for each one of us. It has different forms and individuals make their choice. As for dance performances, judging from the size of audience, the support it receives and our cultural development, I could not say it is a necessity. If it wasn’t there it would not be missed, since the basis of its proper function doesn’t exist. 

S. Every art form is necessary. Not like water, though. Art needs to be created in order to exist. Regarding dance in Greece, traditional dancing has been popular and hopefully it will continue to be. Greeks are looking for this expression when celebrating or while mourning, during hard times. Greeks do dance. If they don’t get a chance to watch ballet, contemporary dance or Butoh, they wouldn’t really mind. 

Z. why haven’t you presented your work for such a long time? 

S. Not doing is harder. We need to distance ourselves from things. To become observers, to watch, to listen. We are still working. A major issue, of course, is the financial state. 

Z. There is no reason to show something, if it is not ready to be presented. This way you loose contact with audience, but it is never too late to regain it. It is far more important to say something important 4 or 5 times, rather than talking nonsense every so often. Immediacy, sincerity and economy in a work move me. 

S. I am also moved when it radiates a certain truth. Humor also is very important in our work. It makes things less heavy. Humor, not joke. It is one of the things we look for, when choosing collaborators. And will.

Z. Imagination and being pretty ‘fearless’ works out in collaboration as well, since most of the material comes from improvisation. 

S. Lots of hard work. Through a series of improvisations you begin slowly to understand what the subject matter needs. It is revealed to you at some point and you start working on that particular direction. You could be wrong, but that will only be revealed later. Anyway you don’t really know right from the start. 

Z. Improvisation is the tool. Most of the times work depends on the creativity of the movers. In certain times a specific image is in my mind and I wish just to reproduce. 

S. If we have a common goal, there is no need to force things. Since we can all see where the work is taking us and we try to follow this path. There is always a third eye, an outside one. Things are simpler, so much harder. We are not trying to discover something new, to bring on some huge surprise. We are just trying to find the organic way in which an idea can be revealed. 

Z. There is no parthenogenesis in art. Things repeat themselves. If we allow the personal element to unveil, there is a chance we take one step further. Everything is a circle but we could increase its perimeter. 

S. Excessive movement has run its course. We are moving towards minimalism – as people- not just in dance, in our lives. It is also a trend now, a tendency to fill up our reserves and then maybe after many years something new will surface. As far as our work is concerned, I exclude nothing. Since it is honest. 

Z. Everything can be used and mixed together as long as there is a clear aim. I am not interested in watching you walk, if you don’t really know why you are doing it. Dance is full; dance in many cases has outreached extravagance. We are also moving towards more minimalist forms. Moreover we are on the ‘dance’ side rather than the ‘non-dance’ side. It’s not necessary to have a specific style. Still, looking at works, you see that there is always a line followed.

S. To create a movement language is hard but very beautiful when it happens.

Z. This talk is getting heavy…What shall we wish for?

S. Dance, otherwise we’re loosing ourselves!