For their new creation, Lamenta, the choreographers bring together a group of nine contemporary, Greek dancers, highly skilled in a diversity of dance techniques. Together they explore how the energetic - both earthy and transcendental - qualities of the Greek traditional music and dances can unfold and nourish a contemporary creation.
Ωρέ σήκω, Μαριόλα η μαύρη ν'από τη γη
ωρέ κι από το μαύρο χώμα, ψυχή, καρδούλα μου
Ωρέ με τι ποδάρια η μαύρη να σκωθώ
ωρέ και χέρια ν'ακουμπήσω, ψυχή Μαριόλα μου.
Poor Mariola, rise from the earth.
Rise from the black soil. You are my heart Mariola.
How can I rise without feet, poor woman?
How can I touch without hands? You are my soul, Mariola.
Μαριόλα (Mariola), a traditional miroloi
How to embody the emotions of loss and grief.
Both Koen Augustijnen and Rosalba Torres Guerrero have a strong interest in translating emotional states through the body into physical performance and dance. It is a central point in their artistic trajectory and research. Realizing the lack of space and rituals to express emotions of loss and grief in our contemporary Northern-European society, they were struck by the rituals of mourning that are still practiced in parts of Greece.
These Greek laments or mourning songs are called miroloi. They express deep feelings of grief and loss and are performed during funerals but as well when somebody leaves the family to marry or to emigrate. The miroloi relate to a collective context of loss and saying farewell. They are sung to accept the loss and release the emotions of grief. Torres Guerrero and Augustijnen are intrigued by the emotional and physical impact of the miroloi. They apply the potential of the miroloi in a different context, that of contemporary dance, integrating and dialoguing with the traditional forms.
Tradition and contemporary
are not in opposition
Every living tradition has contemporary expressions. Koen Augustijnen and Rosalba Torres Guerrero draw a parallel between the process of the miroloi and the process of transforming a traditional dance form. The miroloi help to facilitate the process of accepting loss. By letting go, a transformation happens. In order to transform and re- explore traditional dance forms one has to accept to leave behind certain elements from the past. By doing this, a renewed contemporary dance vocabulary can emerge.
To what extent is traditional dance permeable to other influences? How do we relate to the past? How do we relate to tradition? How can it be represented on stage today and become of interest for contemporary audiences? How is it possible to question and update tradition without losing its soul? Can we unlock traditional codes from the past to explore new cultural pathways?
Greece is a country were the traditional dance and music are still present and part of society. The next generations will decide if they will keep these traditions alive; preserve them in museums or worst-case scenario, let them disappear and assimilate completely in the mainstream western culture. As such a re-appropriated traditional dance can have a social dimension and be a political statement. Do we choose to turn our back on rooted traditions and rituals? Do we let traditions drift to solely be an affirmation of identity or do we use their intrinsic strength in today's reality? Can we use the best of both worlds (traditional and contemporary dance) into an intercultural performance?
Lamenta reinvests in the intuitive, physical and fundamental forces of Greek traditional dance, with its energizing, earthy and transcendental qualities, to unfold and nourish a contemporary creation. It considers the body as a crossing between the intuitive and the intellect, the irrational and control, as a conversation between Dionysos and Apollo on their way to a present, relevant and revealing synthesis.
The re-exploration and research of the Greek traditional dance and music will go beyond the copying of forms. Nine Greek contemporary dancers (Lamprini Gkolia, Christiana Kosiari, Konstantinos Chairetis, Petrina Giannakou, Dafni Stathatou, Athina Kyrousi, Taxiarchis Vasilakos, Alexandros Stavropoulos & Spyridon ‘Stak’ Christakis) with a background of Greek traditional dance from their region, come together with Siamese Cie and re-explore elements of the miroloi and the Greek traditional dance through a contemporary prism. The traditional dance, being the energetic and popular expression of belonging to a collective body, is infused, questioned, deconstructed and recomposed through applying a task- based process.
This process is supported by the Greek dramaturge Georgina Kakoudaki and the Belgian dance dramaturge Guy Cools, who bring in their complimentary knowledge of the intricacies of the tradition, the traces of history and mythology. Parallel to the creation process of Lamenta, Cools published his new book: Performing Mourning. Laments in Contemporary Art (Valiz, 2021).
The musical dramaturgy is the backbone of Lamenta
In Lamenta, Koen Augustijnen and Rosalba Torres Guerrero focus on the miroloi and other traditional music from the region of Epirus in the North of Greece. Augustijnen visited Epirus in the week of August 15th (celebration of Saint-Maria) and met some great musicians such as the percussion player and singer Alexandros Rezopoulos at the Kerasovo Music Festival and on the festivities in the villages in the region. Augustijnen also met the singer and composer Xanthoula Dakovanou, who is the artistic director of the Kerasovo Festival and teaches polyphonic traditional songs from Epirus. Koen attended her workshops and was impressed by how she incorporates the traditional music of Epirus, while making cross-overs to other cultures.
With Xanthoula as musical director, a group of fifteen Greek musicians gathered to create new recordings of the miroloi selected for Lamenta. The musicians included, the renowned Epirus clarinetist Niko Filippidis and his band, Alexandros Rezopoulos, numerous musicians of the contemporary, Greek ethno-jazz scene as well as Xanthoula herself as a singer. The Greek musicians were joined by the French jazz musician and flute virtuoso Magic Malik.
Composer and musician Sam Serruys, who worked on several creations of Augustijnen and Torres Guerrero (Pénombre, Gudirr Gudirr, Badke and (B)) added soundscapes to these recordings to create the final music score. The music of Lamenta is released on a CD, produced by MOUSA, Athens.
Epirus was often occupied by other nations and in more recent history was hit by mass emigration. It seems that the hard life and suffering is translated in the music by a heavy deep drum beat and by an extremely slowed down rhythm. The heavy, grounded rhythms and the extraordinary use of the clarinet are of major importance for the soul of the music and for the atmosphere of the performance.
Lamenta uses the whole spectrum of slowed down music to extreme acceleration to create a dynamic spiral, like a pump leading to a possible catharsis. The musical dramaturgy of Lamenta starts from the revival of the miroloi in its original form and glides towards more contemporary musical forms, influenced by post-rock and jazz, which bring it closer to contemporary societies.
15, 16 June > Athens & Epidaurus Festival (GR)
30 June - 01 July > La Comédie de Clermont-Ferrand (F)
7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 July > Festival d’Avignon (F)
17 July > Théâtre Paul Eluard Bezons (F)
8, 9 October > MARS Mons (B)
13, 14, 15 October > Le Maillon / SN Strasbourg & Pôle Sud / CNDC Strasbourg (F)
20 October > Stadsschouwburg Brugge (B)
21, 22, 23 October > Kunstencentrum Vooruit Gent (B)
13, 14 December > La Villette Paris (F)
28, 29 January > KVS Brussels (B) (option)
3, 4 February > Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (Lux)
18, 19 February > Charleroi Danse (B)
5 May > Arsenal Cité musicale-Metz (F)
Cast & Credits
Concept and choreography:
Koen Augustijnen & Rosalba Torres Guerrero
in collaboration with the dancers:
Lamprini Gkolia, Christiana Kosiari, Konstantinos Chairetis, Petrina Giannakou, Dafni Stathatou, Athina Kyrousi, Taxiarchis Vasilakos, Alexandros Stavropoulos & Spyridon ‘Stak’ Christakis
In coproduction with Athens and Epidaurus Festival, Festival d’Avignon, La Comédie de Clermont-Ferrand, scène nationale, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, La Villette Paris, Charleroi Danse, Arsenal Cité musicale-Metz, Le Manège Maubeuge, Théâtre Paul Eluard (TPE), Bezons, scène conventionnée d’intérêt national/art et création - danse, Le Maillon Strasbourg, POLE-SUD, Centre de Développement Chorégraphique National Strasbourg, Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen, MARS Mons Arts de la Scène & Duncan Dance Research Center Athens.
Siamese Cie is supported by the Belgian Tax Shelter, the City of Gent and the DRAC Auvergne-Rhône Alpes (F)
How is it possible
and update tradition without losing
Musical artistic direction:
Guests Magic Malik (flute, voice) & Nikos Filippidis (clarinet) with Kleon Andoniou (electric guitar, voice), Solis Barkis (percussions), Dimitris Brendas (clarinet, kaval), Xanthoula Dakovanou (voice), Lefkothea Filippidi (voice), Kostas Filippidis (luth), Stefanos Filos (violin), Avgerini Gatsi (voice), Panagiotis Katsikiotis (drums), Dimitris Katsoulis (violin), Ourania Lampropoulou (santouri), Antonis Maratos (electric bass, contrebass), Alexandros Rizopoulos (percussions, voice) & Thanassis Tzinas (voice)
Recordings at Studio Syn ENA - Athens by Giorgos Korres Mixing by Giorgos Dakovanos and Giorgos Korres
Musical production by MOUSA, Athens (GR)
Recordings and mixing at DGP Studio - Oostende by Sam Serruys
Georgina Kakoudaki & Guy Cools
Begoña Garcia Navas
Light/sound handling and technical direction:
Administration, production & tour management: