Stage work for nine dancers (2021)

Age of Crime, a dance piece choreographed by Lenio Kaklea, was commissioned by the Athens Festival on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the War of Greek Independence (1821-1829). As in every national anniversary, celebrations are not merely an act of remembering; they mark an event upon which memory is organized and identity is performed. Thus, their formality guarantees a certain understanding of history, both lived and narrated. Greece, however, was more than a nation that struggled to declare its independence from the Ottoman Turks. Philhellenism as conceived by European intellectuals and romantic literary figures —‘We are all Greeks’ stated the poet Shelley among others— gave the rebellion an imagined noble purpose and ‘revamped’ Greece as another project of demi-Orientalization.

The piece aims, therefore, to revisit the above historical narrative and reveal the complexities behind the invented continuity between present and past, investigate critically the erasure of facts caused by the idealized representations and mediated memories. By dismantling those complexities, one comes upon a disturbing image of modern Greece; the indiscriminate plundering and victimization of both Turks and Greeks during the War, a sort of vicious heroism that was often legitimized by the misconception of bandits as brave revolutionaries. By bringing to ‘life’ such matters, despite the persistent narratives, the choreographer invites the ‘living dead’ onto the stage to tell their own version of the story and even dares to debunk victimhood by applying an unexpected accumulative form of narration.

Duration: 1 hour

Choreography, set and direction: Lenio Kaklea
Dancers: Maria Bregianni, Venetsiana Kalampaliki, Konstantinos Karvouniaris, Georgios Kotsifakis, Dimitris Mytilinaios, Maro Stavrinou, Sania Strimpakou, Yiannis Tsigris and Joanna Toumpakari.
Sound and technical direction: Éric Yvelin
Lights: Loren Palmer
Costumes: Olivier Mulin
Choreographic assistant: Dimitris Mytilinaios
Text editing: Lenio Kaklea
Administration: abd / Chloé Schmidt
Production: Athens and Epidaurus Festival
Executive production: abd and Goodheart productions

In the performance, we listen to extracts from Ottoman narrations for the Greek Revolution from Yusuf Bei to Ahmed Cevdet Pasha, by Sophia Laiou and Marinos Sariyiannis, published by the National Hellenic Research Foundation, Institute of Historical Research, in 2019, Athens, Greece

Photos: Maria Toultsa