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Kalamata Dance Festival Commences in Spectacular Fashion

TAO at Kalamata Dance Festival
Chinese group TAO Dance Theater at the Kalamata Dance Festival. Credit: Fan Xi / TAO Dance Theater / Kalamata Dance Festival

The 29th edition of the Kalamata Dance Festival commenced on Friday and will continue until Sunday, July 2023.

The festival has been held annually since 1995 in the Peloponnesian city of Kalamata and is dedicated to the “poetry of the human body.”

The theme of this year’s performances, which include international dancers from as far as China, is “(Re)Τurn to the Body”.

“We want to discuss what it means to be alive and mortal,” the event’s organizers explained. “Our focus is not on the body as a biological entity or as a cipher for abstract concepts, but rather as a representation of life itself, along with the awe, mystery, and respect that it inspires.”

Chinese performers open Kalamata Dance Festival

At the International Dance Festival (KDF) on Friday evening, 11 Chinese dancers from TAO Dance Theater made their debut, becoming the first-ever Chinese artists to participate in Greece’s leading contemporary dance event. The audience warmly welcomed them with applause.

As part of the “Numerical Series” by TAO Dance Theater, the show has been showcased in over 100 arts festivals worldwide in recent years.

“We are very happy for this collaboration and it is an honor for us,” Linda Kapetanea, the festival’s artistic director told Xinhua, a Chinese media outlet. “We are very happy to be the ones who build these cultural bridges,” she added.

“Dance is a very good channel. People can understand, communicate, and integrate in a variety of ways. I am looking forward to their (dancing) works coming to China,” Tao Ye, the founder and choreographer of TAO Dance Theater commented.

Themes at this year’s festival

“The works of the artists invited to this year’s Festival encourage us to view the human body as knowledge gained through first-hand experience, as a poetic place of individual and collective experience and as a manifestation of life itself,” said the event organizers.

The performances “cater to all age groups and special audiences,” claim the organizers. “The festival invigorates the city’s public spaces and features world-renowned artists from around the globe, ranging from China to Canada, celebrating the human body as the very essence of life.”

Many of the performances are being held in Kalamata’s Municipal Stadium whereas others are in the city’s main square. Kalamata has been home to the dance festival since its inception in 1995.

“We want to share with all audiences works created by bold, genuine, restless, and enduring creators from a variety of backgrounds and fields,” the organizer explained. “The performances we host are meant to inspire and galvanize the public into creating a communal life of values and meaning.”

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