Production Language English
Country of Origin Greece
Description Through breathtaking stage design and ingenious choreography, Dimitris Papaioannou delivers a meditation on the congruent relationship between the world of the living and the realm of the dead. His contemporary interpretations of Greek myths intertwine with references from classic works including Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, Michelangelo’s David and a paralyzing take on Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson.
Ten mostly nude dancers traverse a stage layered with door-sized, black vinyl slabs used to create an archeology of memory by covering and uncovering undulating, body parts and exquisite pop-up surrealist tableaus. The movement conveys a wildly kinetic physical vocabulary. The result is a dark and sometimes absurd narrative that poses existential queries, and slightly hopeful solutions—set to a warped version of Strauss’ Blue Danube waltz, adapted by Stephanos Droussiotis. The Great Tamer features performers Pavlina Andriopoulou, Costas Chrysafidis, Ektoras Liatsos, Ioannis Michos, Evangelia Randou, Kalliopi Simou, Drossos Skotis, Christos Strinopoulos, Yorgos Tsiantoulas, and Alex Vangelis.
After Pina Bausch’s passing, Dimitris Papaioannou became the first artist to create a new, full-length work for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Since She, which premiered in 2018 in Germany. He also created the opening and closing ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Papaioannou gained early recognition as a painter and graphic artist, before his focus shifted to the performing arts where he wore many hats—director, choreographer, performer, set designer, costumer, make-up artist, and lighting designer. He was a student of the iconic Greek painter Yannis Tsarouchis before studying at the Athens School of Fine Arts. In 1986 he formed Edafos Dance Theatre as an initial vehicle for his original stage productions which were hybrids of physical theater, experimental dance, and performance art, resulting in their iconic work, Medea (1993). After the company dissolved in 2002, he followed with more avant-garde dance works including 2 (2006), Nowhere (2009), Inside (2011), and Primal Matter (2012). In 2015, he created the opening ceremony for the Baku 2015 First European Games.
Papaioannou’s 25 productions range from mass spectacles with thousands of performers to intimate pieces, and have appeared in a wide variety of venues, from his famous underground squat theater in Athens, to the ancient theatre in Epidaurus, to the Théâtre de la Ville, and Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza. In 2017, he created The Great Tamer, his first international co-commissioned work with ten co-producers, including the Festival d’Avignon. The Great Tamer is on an international tour, scheduled through 2019.