Eirini Alexiou-Ohi Pezoume Performing Arts Company

Posted on January 26, 2012


“A Personal Way of Creating”

I perceive the art of dance as the pursuit of beauty – beauty in its deep philosophical meaning – that has the ability to accumulate all the fragmentations and prejudices of our mind and reform them into unity and freshness of view. The mechanism of beauty itself releases emotion as it unveils the death of the old and incomplete towards a new state, that of wholeness and timelessness. 

I make use of this philosophy in the most personal and fateful way, by applying it choreographically on the pieces of work of the “Ohi Pezoume” Performing Arts Company, within the context of the UrbanDig Project.

We created “Ohi Pezoume” together with George Sahinis (director) back in 2004, along with a few other young artists and scientists of different disciplines. UrbanDig Project occurred the following year and has been the main expression of the Company ever since.

UrbanDig Project, or else, “Excavating Ghosts of Culture in the Contemporary City”, wanders around the city and sets up performances in the most unexpected urban spaces, corners and buildings of cultural heritage, in order to reveal to passers-by their hidden stories, all based on historical archives and Greek literally material of the 19th and 20th century. Through art, these stories become a true experience for the viewers who are no longer indifferent passers-by, but, instead turn into active participants of the historical and cultural evolution of the urban web.

Therefore, within this artistic framework, when I create – apart from my personal voyages – I also take loans or borrow references that serve either my pursuit of beauty or my personal obsessive preferences for the aesthetics of Michelangelo and Witkin for instance, who have inspired part of my choreographic output.

On the characters featured in these pieces of work, I apply the shock technique. This means that I put them in a very precise state of expression through the particularities of their movement and action, and then, as the plot unfolds, they keep deviating from their original state – not necessarily evidently – until they are led to either devastation or exaltation. In other cases, the shock comes through the obsessive repetition empowered by the factors of time and endurance, leading to deterioration and eventually to transcendence.

"Elpis" photo: Dimitris Christopoulos

The elements of movement in my choreographies stem mainly from ballet and yoga, as I can find in them a mathematical structure that allows clarity in posture. These forms will definitely go under elaboration in order to maintain a link to the past, but, at the same time, express the present in a fresh and meaningful way, and more precisely to convey new notions.

I cleanse ballet from all unnecessary ornaments and I borrow elements from its form, while at the same time, I acquire from yoga the evolution of the body in a multi-pivotal way, whether in a static state or in motion. I use the power that stems from these two systems of movement in order for the forms to be executed with integrity, as I focus on the details of the muscle tone and shapes, all stimulated through hyper-activation. Lately, I study all the process of movement under the additional circumstances where the body is in constant vibration, upon which any sculptural expression can be built. The performer must confront three basic forces: weight, muscle power and endurance; in some cases the body vibrates and must simultaneously bear upon it the weight and allow the movement of the other dancer, as in the performance “Elpis”; in other cases, the body must demonstrate endurance in order to climb 50 meters high up the Lake Marathon Dam after 45 minutes of intense motion, as in the performance “Marathon Battle AD” or else “Water”. I guide the entire material outcome that emerges from this process to a secondary straining through the framework of speech, artistic visualization of space and dramatization for every performance.

Therefore, why do I choose today to use the forms of ballet and yoga that run the risk of being considered as elite forms of movement, when ever since the 90s dance has been trying to deconstruct itself and incorporate everyday movement in its expression? Because I believe that the perception that every art is separated between two temptations – either that of obliterating material substance and elevating it to form (i.e. classical ballet) or that of letting material substance as it is and making form as formless as possible (i.e. conceptual art) – cannot be valid nowadays in a divisive way. My forms, after the elaboration that they go through, carry within them a sense of absence of what we have been used to so far; this absence usually leads to dereliction, and, what remains is a contemporary fantasy that can connect to archetypes and allegories. More than ever, during this period of collapse of all systems, a utopian view becomes our concern, as we might possibly need to reinvent the relation between archetype and allegory.