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"Harry Mavromichalis' choreography is fantastic.  In a performance complicated by language, the dance segments serve as reminders that motion can be a true universal."

- Mallory Jensen,
New York Press

 

In The BoI Review:
"The audience was swept into the compassion created by the choreographer, dancers, costume, lighting and music..."

 

In The BoI Presentation:
"The result is a great performance, with talented and very committed dancers who come from all over the world..."

 
Within Review:
"With one leap back in time in understanding the likes of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles, Harry Mavromichalis has fast forwarded us all to the equally perplexing historical period of now.

"Anonymous’ Within suggests we are moving into a golden age of art again..."

 

 

 


Petra: The Awakening of Myth
* Saskia Constantinou, Cyprus Weekly, September 17-23, 2004
* Ioanna Mavrou, Simerini Newspaper, September 16, 2004
* Marilena Evangelou, Politis Newspaper, September 19, 2004

In the Borders of Ignorance
* Jack Anderson, New York Times, October 31, 2003
* Roberta Zlokower, www.exploredance.com, October 30, 2003
* Krista McDevitt, Dance Spirit Magazine, May/June 2004
* Glyn Hughes, Cyprus Weekly, August 2-8, 2002
* Agnieszka Rakoczy, Cyprus Mail, July 21-27, 2002

Within
* Glyn Hughes, Cyprus Weekly, August 10-23, 2001
* Evi Zannetou, To Periodiko Magazine, 20 July, 2001
* Evi Zannetou, Star Magazine, 22 July, 2001

Other shows
* Mallory Jensen, New York Press, October 8-14, 2003 for (Nob) Odyssey's
* Laurel Graeber, New York Times, October 3, 2003 for The Goblin Market
* Timothy Lavin, www.downtownexpress.com, October 21-27, 2003 for The Goblin Market

 

Publication:  www.exploredance.com
Title of Show: "In The Borders of Ignorance"
Venue: "The Duke on 42nd Street", New York
Title of Review: "Dance Anonymous: In the borders of ignorance"
Date of Review: Oct. 30, 2003
Reviewed by: Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

 

Harry Mavromichalis formed Dance Anonymous in 2000 and has toured in NYC as well as in Cyprus. The first piece tonight, Fear - The Rebirth of Courage, is being prepared for the 2004 Olympic Games. Mr. Mavromichalis has interwoven Greek mythological characters with the
present for a fairy tale effect. The second piece, A Time of Change, premiered in Cyprus last year. This work, relating to trans-sexuals and their standing in society, is performed to the music of Argentinean composer William Catanzaro. Mr. Mavromichalis studied at Steps and the Ailey School, and he explores issues of sexuality and psychology. (Publicity Notes).

Fear: Performed by Mara Reiner, as Queen Fear; Bafana Solomon Matea, Sean Scantlebury, Ayelen Liberona, Jonette Ford, Nicole Coea, as Dancers; and Tanja Konjar Hall and Elyssa Dole as Inside the Dress.

In pitch darkness, this piece unfolds, with a creative and cultural motif, an extremely tall figure (16 feet - at least one figure stands atop others) within a long, white dress. The woman at the top arranges her sleeves, much like the Chinese dancers (See Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Chinese Dance) to extend well beyond her arms, and then more and more figures do the same, with these lengths of sleeves utilized as part of the choreography. In an ambiance of fascinating sound, shapes, and surreal, oversized costumes or scant swim trunks, these figures seem to represent mental demons, moving to New Age music. This intertwining of characters is literal as well as figurative, as pattern of material serve as metaphorical umbilical chords and dream-like connections. Mr. Mavromichalis' work will be extended for the 2004 Olympics, and the essence of Greek mythology will be well received. I would recommend assisting the audience with either written material or stronger visual clues, as to the actual mythological connections.

A Time of Change: Performed by Mara Reiner, Bafana Solomon Matea, Sean Scantlebury, Ayelen Liberona, Jonette Ford, Nicole Coea, Tanja Konjar Hall, and Elyssa Dole.

To the airy sounds of seagulls and ocean, three large tanks, with bubbles and smoke, are wheeled onstage. Each tank contains one human form in brief, white underwear-styled costumes, designed for male or female. Kudos to the lighting and set designers, as these tanks are so surreal, in the dimness of the stage, with human forms appearing to be caught in an embryonic or aquatic state of existence. This work, presumed to concern changes in sexual orientation and the effect of alienation, is eerie and memorable.

Tanja Konjar Hall, as the Nurturer, has extremely textured and colorful costumes that contrast sharply with the near naked outfits of other dancers. The percussive and bubbling sound effects enhance a New Age overtone, and the black and white body suits that follow the scant, white costumes, seem to transport the audience to another realm of imagination. Fear and angst are apparent in the nakedness and vulnerability of these dancers. This is an edgy work, with athletic leaps and falls and, finally, one enchanting song in Greek, which I had anticipated, considering the Greek heritage of this Company.

When the bubbly and smoky sets re-appear, with the near-naked dancers reaching out in space, and Tanja re-appearing, this time in an even more fantasy-inspired costume, there seems to be a nice closure to this very visual work. This piece is certainly a dreamlike creation and has potential for numerous, future presentations. Harry Mavromichalis has merged some daring ideas, daring designs, and daring choreography to develop In the Borders of Ignorance. I look forward to learning about the evolution of these interesting works and the general public reaction. These are courageous themes.

 

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Publication:  The New York Times
Link: www.nytimes.com
Title of Show: "In The Borders of Ignorance"
Venue: "The Duke on 42nd Street", New York
Title of Review:   Sacks, Tubes and Transsexuals
Date of Review: Oct. 31, 2003
Reviewed by: JACK ANDERSON

 

Striking visual images helped make Harry Mavromichalis's "In the Borders of Ignorance" theatrically impressive.

There were elaborate costumes by Yiorgos Bellapaisiotis and imposing scenic devices by Panikos Michael and Panikos Tembriotis. Yet the two-part production, performed by Dance Anonymous on Wednesday night at the Duke on 42nd Street, was not always choreographically expressive.

"Fear," the first segment, was part of a still incomplete work that is to receive its premiere next year. The scene Mr. Mavromichalis showed here featured an alluring and ominous character called Queen Fear, played by Mara Reiner, whose body protruded from a towering dress.

Figures encased in stretchable sacks fluttered around her like ghosts, then shed the sacks to reveal themselves as human beings who tried to climb the dress to reach the queen. The significance of these actions to a taped score compiled by Zenios Tselepis will presumably grow clear when the work is finished.

"A Time of Change," the second section of "In the Borders," was complete in itself. Mr. Mavromichalis choreographically tackled a challenging subject: the emotional life of transsexuals. Dancers posed inside tubes appeared to be trapped there. Freed from the tubes, they danced to taped music by William Catanzaro.

Entwining bodies seemed longing to merge. There was much whirling, running and flamboyant gesticulation. Finally, a figure in a sexually ambiguous costume emerged from a tube. Yet the almost constant choreographic agitation only fitfully attained dramatic coherence.

 

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Publication: Dance Spirit Magazine
Link: www.dancespirit.com
Title of Show: The Elan Awards
Title of Review: Rob Marshall adds Elan Awards to his many honors. 
Director and Choreographer celebrated by fellow dancers.
Venue: Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
Date of Review: May/June 2004
Reviewed by: Krista McDevitt

 

     photo by Ellen Crane
The dance community gathered at the 2003 Elan Awards on October 13 to celebrate the work and career of Rob Marshall. The awards annually honor one choreographer who has made outstanding contributions to the dance field.

Rob Marshall is best known for directing and choreographing the six-time Academy-Award winning film Cabaret. For his work on the film, Marshall received an Oscar nomination, as well as the Director's Guild Award, a Golden Globe nomination, and the NY Film Critics and National Board of Review Awards for best directorial debut. Before Marshall took on the silver screen, he conquered Broadway. Marshall's first choreographic work was Kiss of the Spider Woman. He then went on to She Loves Me, Damn Yankees, Victor/Victoria, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Company. He made his Broadway directorial debut with the revival of Little Me starring Martin Short in addition to co-directing and choreographing Cabaret.

Marshall has worked extensively with Disney/ABC. He choreographed the movie musical Cinderella as well as directed and choreographed the movie musical Annie, which received twelve Emmy nominations and won the Peabody Award.

In addition to the presentation of the award, the Elan Awards program featured the work of fourteen other choreographers. Directly after the special presentation to Marshall, Desmond Richardson performed Wonderland, choreographed by Dwight Rhoden. The presenting companies ranged from modern to ballet to jazz and from dramatic to comical.

The choreographers whose works were featured at the Elan Awards included:

Jennifer Archibald
Ilyse Baker
Michelle Barber
Nina Buisson
Dance Anonymous
Geoffrey Doig-Marx
Caron Eule
Caroline Liadakis
Roberta Mathes
Rhonda Miller
Ellen Shadle
Coleen Walsh
Leslie Wexler
Matt Williams

One Flew Over by Matt Williams
Trapped by Harry Mavromichalis/Dance Anonymous
Behind the Hidden Gate by Nina Buisson

 

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Publication: www.downtownexpress.com
Title of Show: The Goblin Market
Title of Review: Tribeca children's theater tackles the classics
Venue: Manhattan's Children's Theater
Date of Review: October 21-27, 2003
Reviewed by: Timothy Lavin

 

Bruce Merrill adapted Christina Rossetti's poem, "Goblin Market," in a stage production for children at the Manhattan Children's Theater In New York City, the center of the dramatic world, developing a theater specifically for children is an idea neither novel nor unique. But the founders of Manhattan Children's Theater, 380 Broadway in Tribeca, are experimenting with a creative twist: treating their youthful audience members like adults.

When Bruce Merrill and Laura Stevens started the organization in 2002, they hoped to create a new theater company dedicated to high-quality, more serious children's productions.

"I feel like it's important to bring back the classics in such a way that makes it accessible to kids and doesn't dumb it down by any means," said Stevens, the theater's executive director. "Our mission was to make accessible to our audience classical adaptations as well as poignant new work."

The theater's latest production is "Goblin Market," a near-verbatim adaptation of an 1862 poem by Christina Rossetti. In the great tradition of 19th-century children's tales, it's actually scary - and suggestively violent. (The show is recommended for children five and over.) Though the goblins, played enthusiastically by Benjamin Oyzon, Jodi Redmond and Marta Reiman, introduce themselves genially to their audience prior to the show, the gruesome masks they later don, designed by Chris Mahle, leave little doubt about the goblin moral disposition.

The story involves two sisters, Laura and Lizzie (Sally Conway and Jannecke Foss), who find themselves beset, "morning and evening," by beguiling goblin men hoping to sell them fruit of dubious origin. Laura eventually succumbs and lapses into a goblin-fruit stupor, leaving her younger sister to engage and outwit the beasts.

The production, adapted and directed by Merrill, includes ambitious dance sequences choreographed by Harry Mavromichalis and a percussive soundtrack composed by Michael Vitali. The combination, though uncommon in an average Halloween pageant, visibly thrilled the youngsters in the audience last weekend.

 

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Publication: New York Press
Link: www.nypress.com
Title of Show: (Nob) Odyssey's
Venue: La Mama Experimental Theater
Date of Review: October 8-14, 2003
Reviewed by: Mallory Jensen

 

Quick - What happens in Book IX of Homer's Odyssey?  What, you never read it?  Been too long since college?  Don't feel bad.  In Ioannis Michalou(di)s' (NOB) Odyssey's, Odysseus  himself doesn't remember what happened to him in that book, at least not at first, and Homer actually wants to rewrite it.
   
This is the conceit that drives the show, a mÇlange of dance, poetry, music and scientific art that previewed in September to favorable response at La MaMa.  Michaloudis is a researcher at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies, where he works with aerogel, the lightest solid in the world, made of 99 percent air.  Holding this fragile form is like grasping a cloud.  Part of (Nob)Odyssey's raison d'etre is to put aerogel to artistic use in its European performances: The sets and costumes will be made with these light-as-air components, and the performers' movements will make ample display of its versatility and unique properties.
   
The key to Michaloudis staging is one of Odysseus' most memorable lines: "Cyclops, you ask me for my famous name.  I will tell you then/ Nobody is my name." The show's title is meant to be pronounced as "nobody sees", just one of Michaloudis many playful word interpretations.

The show begins with the blind bard, Homer (played with much gravitas by a woman, the Albanian singer and actress Justina-Marie Alaij), whoshuffles onstage and calls out the names of the dead, then explains that he wants to change Book IX of the Odyssey.  At least, that's what the program sys Homer says; Alaij speaks primarily in French (the subtitles weren't yet prepared, and my tenuous grasp of the language didn't help very much).  When Odysseus (Yiannis Kallianiotis) appears, incarnated once again from Homer's imagination, comprehension becomes a bit more difficult - Kallianiotis speaks mostly in Greek, resorting in English only for a few key phrases.
   
After some bantering, Odysseus retells the story of his journey home after the Trojan War.  When his memory starts to go, the revision of Book IX begins.  In the original, Odysseus and his companions arrive at the home of the cy Cyclopes; one of the Cyclopes, Polyphemus, retaliates by eating half the group.  Odysseus saves himself and the rest by outwitting and then blinding Polyphemus.  In Michaloudis reimagining, Odysseus befriends Polyphemus through wine and jokes. When Odysseus remembers that he is on a journey home and tells Polyphemus that he must leave, the giant is so distraught that he blinds himself.

To describe the plot of (Nob)Odyssey's is to ignore an integral component of the production: the dancing.  Harry Mavromichalis' choreography is fantastic, and the dancers (many from his troupe, Dance Anonymous) are beautifully rehearsed.  In a performance complicated by language, the dance segments serve as reminders that motion can be a true universal.  Their bodies become the ocean tide and pieces of the island landscape just as easily as they become Greek warriors, and they convey the experiences and feelings of those warriors effortlessly. The aerogel-enhanced costumes are a visual delight as much as they are a physical enhancement that allows the performers to do unexpected, inspired contortions.
   
Along with the 12 dancers who play his companions, Odysseus has two dance counterparts: his shadow (Solomon Bafana) and his female aspect (Ayelen Liberona).  Where Kalliniotis plays Odysseus as a loudmouthed if charismatic shyster, Bafana and Liberona provide the grace and strength usually associated with him.  By the end, one feels that these dance scenes, set to Tim Kiah's original score and roughly alternating with the acting and singing, reaffirm the ability of modern dance to interpret both emotion and narration meaningfully.
   
(Nob)Odyssey's is a work in progress that, unfortunately, will not run as planned at La MaMa.  Michaloudis will bring it to France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus, and, if all goes as planned, will see it produced in Athens during the Olympics.  Some kinks need to be worked out along the way -first and foremost the issue of translation and subtitles- but if Michaloudis and the performers can retain what they've already achieved, this boundary-pushing update of a timeless tale is sure to capture the imagination of all who see it.

 

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Publication: The New York Times
Link: www.nytimes.com
Title of Show: The Goblin Market
Title of Review: Family Fare: Don't Taste that Apple
Venue: Manhattan Children's Theater, New York
Date of Review: October 3, 2003
Reviewed by: Laurel Graeber

 

 Anyone who has read Christina Rossetti's long poem "Goblin Market", about a maiden accepting fruit from "goblin men" and then nearly wasting away in a an agony of desire, might well conclude that her true subject was more fleshly than super-natural.  Nevertheless, her work can be read on many levels, and Manhattan Children's Theater has opened its fall season with a stage version that is an eerie gothic romance.
   
Bruce Merrill, the director and adapter, has kept almost every line of Rossetti's verse.  It is spoken mostly by Sally Conway and Jannecke Foss, who play Laura and Lizzie, sisters living near a haunted glen where goblins' siren voices entreat them to buy fruit.  Laura (Ms. Conway) succumbs to temptation and trades one of her golden curls for the goblins' succulent wares.  By the next day, she seems destined to suffer the fate of Jeanie, a neighbor who also ate the fruit and died, pining for more.
   
This "Goblin Market" is as much music and movement as it is poetry. Michael Vitali's score includes rhythmic drumming for the dark forces and a haunting, melodic counterpoint for the maidens. The choreography, by Harry Mavromichalis, ranges from comic, chorus-line kicks as the naughty goblins frolic, to impassionate modern dance as Lizzie confronts them to try to win her sister's release from their spell.
   
Although the goblins are first introduced as wholesome young thespians (Ben E. Oyzon, Jodi Renee Redmond and Marta Reiman), this doesn't diminish their fearsome potential once they don grotesque masks designed by Chris Mahle.  At least one parent had to remove a terrified toddler at the performance I attended. This is not the fault of the company, which clearly states that the show is for children over 5.
   
My advice is that if young theatergoers haven't reached the stage where they think Poe's "Raven" is a riveting poem, then they're probably too young for this.  If, on the other hand, they get chills from reading ballads like Alfred Noyes's "Highwayman" in English class, then they're likely to find "Goblin Market" an extra-spicy Halloween treat.

 

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Publication:  Politis Newspaper, Cyprus
Title of Show: "Petra: The Awakening of Myth"
Venue: Strovolos Municipal Theater, Nicosia, Cyprus
Date of Review: September 19, 2004
Reviewed by: Marilena Evangelou

 

Petra: The Awakening of Myth, a surprise performance for the Cypriot standards. It was a show that felt like New York. It could have success if it was shown at the metropolis of showbiz. Harry Mavromichalis could be characterized as the Demetris Papaioannou of
Cyprus. The most inspirational dance performance that we have seen in Cyprus for years.
Note: Demetris Papaioannou is the man who choreographed the opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.

 

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Publication:  Cyprus Weekly, Cyprus
Title of Show: "Petra: The Awakening of Myth"
Title of article: A completely enthralling evening
Venue: Strovolos Municipal Theater, Nicosia, Cyprus
Date of Review: September 17-23, 2004
Reviewed by: Saskia Constantinou   

 

CYPRUS saw the world premiere of Petra, the Awakening of Myth with Dance Anonymous and the Cyprus State Orchestra last Saturday at the Strovolos Municipality  Theatre.

As described by the choreographer, Harry Mavromichalis “Myths as cradles of human imagination, point at what is important and help us grow. ‘This is why, in Petra, we chose to reconstruct those myths relevant to us, and create a new myth out of old ones. The Myth of Petra.”

Oniros, the sculptor leaves his wife for another woman, one whom he constructs. He sculpts his ideal mate in a statue that comes to life. He then follows her to places no man has ever been, only to find that she has always been a reflection of his lust, a perfect image of a dream. When left alone, and confronted by his demons and angels, he lunges into the quest for truth and inner peace. He is eventually able to turn his eyes to the world around him and the time ahead.

Oniros is in fact the actual stone which, sculpted through his experience, becomes his new self. He goes through a metamorphosis through his inner journey finally reaching “katharsis”. Oniros has to go through the hurt in order to grow, as psychology and even more clearly mythology shows us. Petra is the journey of a man who dams to find himself.

The music was composed by Canadian-born Heather Schmidt, who is currently living in New York. She is known not only for her compositions, but also as an awarding winning concert pianist. The music for Petra would not stand alone for a concert performance but was entirely suitable for the choreography of this performance.

It was full of pulsating rhythms, much use of harmonics and ponticello effects (the use of the bow near the bridge of the stringed instruments creating a rather eerie effect) and generally driven. Unlike much contemporary music, Heather Schmidt’s composition for this dance was very accessible.

Pulsating: The orchestra, under conductor Maciej Zoltowski, was better balanced than in previous performances in the Strovolos Theatre. The ensemble playing was good, although there are still wind and brass intonation problems. The orchestra is currently being led by the Acting Concertmaster Janna Sargerson, who had two solos. They came across clearly with the second solo, after the intermission, definitely sounding more relaxed.

The dancers are part of Dance Anonymous, a New York-based modern dance company which was founded in September 2000. There are 16 members from all around the world, including the USA, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, Slovenia, South Africa and Uganda.

The work was physically very demanding with huge leaps, and a great deal of athleticism and elasticity required. They were in perfect sync with each other and one was aware of them working as a team. The costumes and masks were designed by Georgos Bellapaisiotis, from Nicosia. He is a graduate of the Parsons School of Design in New York and with a BFA in Fashiïn Design. Lighting and scenery were by Paul Hudson, who has been responsible New York City theatre, dance and television productions. The costumes and lighting were all professional, interesting and totally in keeping with the theme of the performance but its excellence was for me, made by the brilliant daring and innovative choreography of Harry  Mavromichalis.

It was more than just dance - he brought different psychological aspects of a character to life, bringing awareness to the public, but at the same time, entertaining. Although the evening was completely enthralling, the production might be improved with some cuts as some of the numbers were rather repetitive.

Harry Mavromichalis is a Greek Cypriot who holds bachelors degrees in Communication and Spanish Literature and who studied dance in Copenhagen and New York. He is currently the Artistic Director of Dance Anonymous and under his direction, this modem dance company can only move from one success to another.

 

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Publication:  Simerini Newspaper, Cyprus
Title of Show: "Petra: The Awakening of Myth"
Venue: Strovolos Municipal Theater, Nicosia, Cyprus
Date of Review: September 16, 2004
Reviewed by: Ioanna Mavrou

 

Last Saturday and Sunday under the auspices of Kypria 2004 Festival, Dance Anonymous' premiered "Petra: The Awakening of Myth".  A show with unique choreography, exquisite costumes, talented dancers, lovely music and a few surprises.  The audience applauded the dancers and all the collaborators (like Heather Schmidt - the composer) with enthusiasm.  But most of the applause was received by the conductor of the Cyprus State Orchestra, Maciej Zoltowski, the orchestra, and of course the choreographer of the show, Harry Mavromichalis.

The only absentee from the show that deserved equal applaud was the costume designer of the show, Greek Cypriot Yiorgos Bellapaisiotis, who had remained in New York where he works for the Japanese Haute Couture house, Akira.  The multi-color and inventive costumes were as essential to the performance as the carefully planned lights of the lighting designer, Paul Hudson.  There was something new in this show, and that was the fact that the costumes were all high-fashion pieces.  The clothes moved alongside the dancers taking the part of each character. They were playful (Hades' hairy coat, the puppet "lady" with her pink-laced dress that revealed little monsters).  They were simple (the protagonist's clothes).  They were aerodynamic (the flying dancers that came out of the Box of Wonders of Hades and danced in the air with the help of bungee rope - the surprise of the night.)  It is not a coincidence that Yiorgos Bellapaisiotis has been awarded many times and that one of his creations (when he worked next to Alexander McQueen) ended up as the cover of the Sunday Times of London.  The show was made up of all these different parts but the amazing thing about it was how they all blended together to give this spectacle that the audience enjoyed so much.  And this success belongs to Harry Mavromichalis, who, like Oniros (the protagonist), has managed to take all the parts and bring them together to create a stunning composition.  

 

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Publication:  The Cyprus Mail Newspaper, Cyprus
Title of Show: In the Borders of Ignorance
Venue:
Date of Review: July 21 - 27, 2002
Reviewed by: Agnieszka Rakoczy

 

Being an artist means working hard for your bread and butter, and Harry Mavromichalis, can definitely say a lot on the subject. “It is very hard”, admits the 30 year-old Famagusta-born dancer and choreographer, whose company Dance Anonymous performs “In the Borders of Ignorance” in Cyprus this week. “Not only because of the physical aspect of the dancing profession. It is also that eternal money problem, especially after the September 11 attacks”, says the artist, now based in New York. “A lot of funding has been cut back so it is difficult to get money for a project. “I am lucky enough because I work in my profession all the time” Mavromichalis smiles. “I dance for different companies. I tour the States. Most probably because I am a man. If I was a woman and started as late as I did, forget it. Men are in demand in the world of dance. Women? That is a different matter. So I am privileged, at least in a gender kind of way.” This is an important statement coming from somebody like Mavromichalis, who, after all, seems to be ‘chosen’ in many different ways.

Firstly, how many people decide they want to make dancing their professional career in their twenties? Secondly, how many of them have succeeded? Thirdly, what’s the percentage of successful ones who end up in New York with their own dance company? There is definitely one name that comes to mind and it comes up in conversation, although in a connection with a different subject.

Martha Graham, the founder of American modern dance, started when she was 22. She created her own technique marked by the fierce pelvic contractions and the rugged ‘floor work’ that startled those who took for granted that real dancers soared through the air. And her style caught on, becoming the cornerstone of post-war modern dance.

“Yes, Graham is one of the great” admits Mavromichalis. “She managed to get dancers down on the floor. And changed the dance posture - suddenly it was OK to work with your whole body, not only with your legs and arms. But there are the others that are very important as well. Leicester Horton is one of them. And Alvin Ailey who took Horton’s technique and brought it from California to New York. And Jose Limon whose technique is rounder than Horton’s, more about fall and recovery.

“Actually, my work is based on all of them. And most importantly, on own body as well. Because this is what modern dance is about: how to follow your own body, how to feel it and how, on the basis of this feeling, to develop your own technique.”

Looking at two pieces his company is performing, one has to admit the sequences developed by Mavromichalis for his dancers have much to do with this kind of healthy naturalness, especially combined with an element of acrobatic fitness impossible for most of us to achieve.

“I think that emotions are a very important part of a performance. This is possibly one way in which I differ from many other New York choreographers. For most of them, movements, their quality and technique are more significant than feelings. My dancers must feel what they dance. If they don’t, they can’t do it well. It is like with an expression on the face of a good actor, only a dancer has to do it with his whole body.”

His pieces often show the loneliness and alienation of an individual who struggles against the power of society. They all seem closely connected to the philosophy of Martha Graham - of whom a critic once quipped that if she ever gave birth it would be to a cube. Instead, Graham became the mother of American dance.

The association comes to mind while watching the second part of Mavromichalis’ program, entitled “A Time of Change” and dealing with the subject of trans-sexuality. Danced by Jonette Ford it tells the story of a girl who feels her outward female identity does not match her understanding of her inner being.

Why is the subject so significant for him? “Well, I am not a trans-sexual” he laughs. “But some of my friends are. And being a rebel, I do understand what not fitting into the society means. When I decided that I wanted to do a performance on trans-sexuality, I started studying. I read this book “The Danish Girl” which is all about a married man’s realization that in fact he is a woman. And the other, based on the real story, on the identical twins, two boys, of which one, due to unfortunate circumstances, has been brought up as a girl. Can you imagine what agony an individual has to go through, if everybody tells him that he is one thing and he feels that he is something completely opposite?”

The result is a great performance, with talented and very committed dancers who come from all over the world, wonderful costumes by another young New York based Cypriot, Yiorgos Bellapaisiotis, and an interesting set and lighting design by a Nicosia artist Panikos Tembriotis.

 

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Publication:  The Cyprus Weekly Newspaper, Cyprus
Title of Show: In the Borders of Ignorance
Venue:
Date of Review:
August 2 - 8, 2002
Reviewed by:
Glynn Hughes

 

This is the second visit to Cyprus of Dance Anonymous... Dance also - as with abstract painting and sculpture - gives the opportunity to allude to problems which may appear to be beyond the comprehension of much of a large audience. It also gives dance lovers an opportunity to feel considerable empathy towards a problem that may not be theirs or in fact they are not even sure what it is except that the dancers exude such pure feeling of consciousness through their art that sympathy and indeed passions are aroused. The duet which had homosexuality as its focal point is a case in point. Everyone loved it. It was danced superbly by Solomon Bafana Matea and Jamison Dalton. The crowd were so emotionally involved that it flashed through my mind that Shakespeare had perhaps written a Romeo and Julian. The Bard, however, was updated and with Francis Jacob’s music there were intermittent thuds sending tremors through the stalls.

In another section, Shunned, the ensemble demonstrated their considerable versatility and originality in movement each dancer belonging to the choreographed group and at the same time having an identity of the self. The whole of the second part of the program was devoted to the subject of trans-sexuality. Titled “A Time of Change” it had music by William Catanzaro. It may be a surprise to dance lovers brought up on Giselle or the ‘deceptively sexually intriguing’ Swan Lake that “A Time of Change” was received with a terrific warmth of applause and held the audience in compassion and expectancy. This was to be expected for the choreography and dancing throughout the evening was outstanding and the theme had the stuff of Greek Tragedy - with a happy ending.

The frocks, after all, were to convey the sexual inclination of a trans-sexual and not the camp of a transvestite. No mincing bestrode the stage as there was no reason for it to be so. The audience took it as it was; a fine piece of dance theater with a very powerful theme. Using the archaic Greek ‘Goddess’ or the Medieval “Vice” character - danced by Tanja Konjar Hall in a magnificently sensuous dress that had the splendorous attractiveness of a bird in love - seeking plumage the audience were soon transposed into a world where myth meets the boy, or girl, next door.

Extraordinary movements both vulnerable and secure created inner tension. Two large transparent tubes, one containing a male the other a female (both nude) were rolled onto the stage. The archetypal female, was rounded and still. The male, virile, like a hunter for fish drawn with charcoal energy on a cave wall. There was a male dancer who was alienated and it became clear that this was a person who felt trapped in the wrong body. Expert dancing by Jamison Dalton.

A third transparent tube was brought on center stage and it was here this ‘male’ became a woman. By gifted choreography the ‘text’ unraveled and the “goddess” transferred herself to the ‘male’. Throughout the whole piece there was a poignancy which certainly overwhelmed the audience. When Jamison Dalton reappeared having ‘found’ himself and wearing the goddess’s magnificent costume - it took time to realize the change so melded was the choreography - the result was as powerful as classical drama. The audience was swept into the compassion created by the choreographer, dancers, costume, lighting and music.

 

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Publication: Star Magazine, Cyprus
Title of Show: Within
Venue:
Date of Review: 22 July, 2001
Reviewed by: Evi Zannetou

 

‘Horeftika Vimata’ with funding from the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Cyprus Tourism Organization, and Blade Enterprises are presenting for the first time in Cyprus, the modern dance company from New York, Dance Anonymous.  The choreographer is the Greek Cypriot Harry Mavromichalis.  The choreographer has told us and we have also witnessed it in many of their rehearsals that are characterized by cooperation, friendliness and harmony that “Within” deals with the internal world of people and their struggle to find out who they really are.

“Within” is divided into two parts:  “The Urge of Being” and “In Dreams”.  The first part is divided into four sections.  The first section is a solo that represents the sub conscience, the second section deals with the reality of things rather than the sub conscience and the third section is a duet that deals with people’s sexuality.  The fourth section deals with the emotions of people who are shunned by society.

”In Dreams” is in three parts; one that shows how we perceive movement in dreams, another how we experience sex in dreams, and the third deals with fear in nightmares.

In the future, the young choreographer plans to deal with political issues through his choreography so he can send out different messages.

 

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Publication: To Periodiko Magazine, Cyprus
Title of Show: Within
Venue:
Date of Review: 20 July, 2001
Reviewed by: Evi Zannetou

 

“Within” is Harry Mavromichalis’ first work and it deals with the internal world of people and their need to discover who they truly are.  There will be four performances total in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, and Paphos.  “Within” is divided into two parts:  “The Urge of Being” and “In Dreams”.  The first part is divided into four sections.  The first section is a solo that represents the sub conscience, the second section deals with the reality of things rather than the sub conscience and the third section is a duet that deals with people’s sexuality.  The fourth section deals with the emotions of people who are shunned by society.

”In Dreams” is in three parts; one that shows how we perceive movement in dreams, another how we experience sex in dreams, and the third deals with fear in nightmares.

In the future, the young choreographer plans to deal with political issues through his choreography so he can send out different messages.

He called his company, Dance Anonymous for three reasons.  Firstly because in the USA there are organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous or Drugs Anonymous who help people who are addicted in different substances.  The person doesn’t have to give out their name and thus keep their anonymity.  Harry felt that his dancers and he are addicted to dance.   Secondly because he wanted the name to have a Greek word (anonymous), and thirdly because he loves anonymity, meaning that if he could have been able to promote only the company without getting into the spotlight then he would have done it.

Amongst others, he has worked with Sophia Spyratou (choreographer of ROES in Greece) when she came to Cyprus to choreograph for the Theatrical Organization of Cyprus the play ‘Peace’ by Aristophanes.  He also worked with Alexia at Stavros Sideras’ musical “Frank and Stein”. 

He admires the American choreographer David Dorfman because he uses live music and many times his musicians dance while playing music.  He uses a lot of improvisation also. 

“For me, dancing is a joyful exercise which makes me happy.  I am still not sure if I want to continue performing in front of an audience.  While the need for choreographing has been growing, the need for performing has been decreasing.  In the shows in Cyprus he is only dancing for 10 minutes and that is because he didn’t have enough time to teach that part to his new dancer.  “I believe that choreographers should not participate in their own creations”.

The greatest compliment to a dancer is the audience’s applause and the choreographer’s approval in that the dancers were able to get what the choreographer was trying to show.

For a choreographer though it is to be able to make his/her audience understand and feel the meaning behind the piece.

The Creator:

When Harry finished his military service he had no idea what he wanted to study.  One day he went to the “Motion Art Studio” to see his cousin dance and there he loved what he saw and started taking dance classes.  With his teacher’s advise two months later he started taking ballet.    He then went to the USA to study, still unsure of what he wanted to major in.  After a semester in Boston, he transferred in Madrid where he studied the language and Spanish Literature for a year.  He then returned to the USA where his new University asks him to declare his major.  He decides Spanish Literature and Communications.  Two months before his graduation he is still wondering what he wants to do with his life since he is not into the office kind-of-work.    Meanwhile something extremely dramatic happens to a very good friend of his that makes him reevaluate what is important in life.  “There I realized that in life we have to do what makes us happy whether that makes other people unhappy. So I decided to return to dance”.   He went to a dance school in Copenhagen and then returned to the USA to study at The Ailey School and Steps on Broadway where he worked really hard and created his own dance company called Dance Anonymous.

 

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Publication: The Cyprus Weekly Newspaper, Cyprus
Title of Show: Within
Venue: Odeon, Paphos
Date of Review: August 10-23, 2001
Reviewed by: Glyn Hughes

 

The night I saw Anonymous at the Odeon, Paphos, it was rumored the light house nodded in approval or maybe envy when Athena Christodoulou in Fear, Part 3 of “In Dreams” towered above the stage. One minute there seemed to be mythical birds, something Rapunzial the next; entrapping some of the masochistic cast with bands of silken umbilical ties and even giving (difficult) birth to the others who popped out from under the largest frock Yiorgos Bellapaisiotis has ever been obliged to design.

If the heavens had opened with showers of black orchids the audience would have not been in the lest surprised. In prose all this may seem extraordinary, a sort of purple light fantastic show-biz blurb but in fact everyone took it all in appreciative stride.

After this piece, Harry came on the stage and cheerfully said to the awestruck crowd “You can talk now”. With one leap back in time in understanding the likes of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles, Harry Mavromichalis has fast forwarded us all to the equally perplexing historical period of now. ...Anonymous’ Within suggests we are moving into a golden age of art again.

The first part of “In Dreams” could at first be mistaken for a complex of confusion but in fact revealed a coherent, startling, inspirationally deep wandering through the night. That it was more erotic than part two, Sex, was simply that Eros is more persuasive when not trying too hard.

The second part of Within was titled “The Urge of Being”, “addressing the struggle people go through during their lives; the struggle to put aside all things that label them, such as family, friends, and society to find one’s true self.”
Except I’d be out of a job if I told you, the truth is, a real painting speaks for itself and to be honest words cannot describe its meaning. It’s the same with dance. Both Becoming (part 2) and Shunned (part 4), danced by the company, ‘spoke’ to the entranced audience with collective power. Part 1, Subconscious danced by Solomon Bafana Matea, spoke volumes through aesthetic muscle power and elegaic confidence. That this causal, delicate frame could send out vibrations as powerful as a whole retrospective of Praxiteles’ sculptures is not actually amazing. This is the secret of the dancer’s art and Matea has it in abundance.

Then there was Intimacy (Part 3) danced by choreographer Harry Mavromichalis and Matea. This was passion and intimacy discovering the meaning of life and producing art. The normalcy of being in love.
Anonymous with Within is helping us recover from the dark ages.

 

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