Mariela Nestora-update

Posted on March 20, 2018


What has happened since the last interview?

A lot has changed since then. Overall it has been a time of collaborations, open calls, experimentations, theory and practice meetings, collectives and also of performing again myself.

In the last interview I was about to start working on the project ‘Exactly what I wanted minus one’ based on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. This project was developed during a residency in Berlin for 3 dancers and presented there. Then I continued working on it through open calls for 4 different presentations at the Athens Biennale, AB3 MONODROME. This was a difficult time of no funding and few opportunities for creating/participating in dance works. I felt that working through open calls was a way to keep on working both for choreographers and performers, despite the extremely short duration of the projects and the absence of artists fees for anyone involved. Other projects created in this way were «Silent world» at B&M Theocharakis Foundation Museum and more recently «I was born old» responding to a provocation of Lisa Alexander ‘Love letters to a Post-Europe’. In this piece 2 mezzo sopranos, 1 actress and 27 dancers came together, for the love letter of Greece to Europe written on the day of the Greek bailout referendum. After meeting through this project, some of the performers of this group continued working together in «Maybe by tomorrow I won’t remember how I felt today» based on the history of Europe.


I participated in several collectives, at Embros theatre (re-activation), Kolektiva Omonia (Where are we now? festival at Embros), Green Park (activation and several projects), Syndesmos Chorou (‘On the road’ promenade at Kalamata International Dance festival and several 7+1 community projects).

I also initiated the collective choreography project CCP, a project of 2 different series Untitled and Entitled. In the Untitled series, 5 choreographers worked with a protocol for co-choreographing a solo for each one (Untitled #1, #2, #3, #4). In the Entitled series 4 choreographers and one designer co-created a solo on a specific subject (Umidita). These works presented mostly in independent or self organised space in Athens, Crete, London, Berlin and also in Brest at DanseFabrik Festival as part of ‘Iris, Alexandra, Mariela, Katerina et moi.’ a focus on contemporary female choreographic production in Athens by invited curator Lenio Kaklea.


I also experimented with text based work, responding to ‘page 31 theatre festival’ at CAMP: an invitation for performances based on texts which are on page 31 as the title suggests. I worked with different groups of actors and dancers on ’The Apocalypse’ by St.John, ‘Notes from the Underground’ by F. Dostoyevsky and ‘Blindspot’ by J. Mavritsakis. I continued this kind of text-based work with actors and dancers in ‘Nature Morte’ based on the poem by W. Shakespeare ‘The Phoenix and the turtle’.

The biggest change for me was that I returned to performing something which I had not done in many years. It started with ‘A-M I’ a piece for 2 people dancing and 2 people speaking about what they see, which was presented with different artists in very different contexts from Embros self organised theatre to Kalamata International Dance festival. In collaboration with Louizos Aslanidis (long time collaborator of YELP dance co.) the video-dance «Later perhaps I will do something else’ was created. In collaboration with Delphine Jonas (FR) I performed in «How to survive in a hostile temperate environment’. Responding to an invitation by the fictional Libby Sacer Foundation for the exhibition ‘Ghost songs’ at Cheap art gallery I created ‘C7’ a solo performance with plants which has been developing ever since. It has been presented in galleries, museums, festivals and it still keeps on growing.

This was also a time of working with the public space. I performed in collaboration with visual artist Emilia Papafilippou in her installation ‘Pulsating fields’ at the Ancient Forum. In collaboration with Slovenian collective Federacija Deluje we performed at Kotzia Square. I created a promenade from the National Library to Omonia Square ‘Two steps further down’ as part of the Athens Biennale AB5 Omonoia and also created and performed in ’20 pencils’ a durational performance at Arsaki Arcade invited by Removement.

With YELP danceco. we performed some previous works in other venues or cities and created only one new work ‘‘Tis this, no other but this’ presented at the Athens Festival 2016. This piece was developed over several months, including presentations of it while in progress, with a team of 9 people, of long term and new collaborators of YELP.


Finally in my interest of connecting theory and practice I collaborated with Dr. Betina Panagiotara in the conference ‘Cut and Paste: Dance advocacy in the age of austerity’, Athens and continued with this collaboration, in addition to Dr. Steriani Tzintziloni in ‘Here and Now’ performance lecture at Tanz Kongress in Hannover.


Do you consider your work Greek?

I don’t know how to respond to this question since I don’t know what ‘Greek’ work looks like. I guess that living in Athens is a major influence in the way I live my everyday life and determines partially what I am exposed to. Maybe some of this ends up in my work. As an artist I try to respond to my environment, to peoples needs, to the dance field’s desires, flaws, disadvantages, inadequacies in different ways.


Is there a Greek dance scene, do you recognise specific characteristics?

For sure there is a Greek dance scene since there are many choreographers and dance artists working and creating work here, even if there is no way of summing it up yet. Despite my interest in discovering similarities or trends, so far in all of our discussions within the dance community, the only common characteristic we have discovered, is that there are no common characteristics. For now, I am happy to ‘belong’ to a dance scene with fluid identity and happy to be part of a community based on differences rather than similarities. At the same time I am curious yet optimistic about the evolution and development of this ‘greek’ dance scene.


I was born old


March 2108