On Saturday, September 28, we performed at The Yellow Days Festival at the School of Fine Arts in Athens with a cast of 12 displaced from Iran, Afghanistan, Cameroon, 4 Greek dancers and our collaborating team, Maria, Bianca and myself. Our total performers this year was 21!
We were joined by an amazing band of traditional musicians from Iran to complete our program.
Your donations during this period have made it possible to share an additional stipend for all the participants of the project! Thank you wholeheartedly
This summer, as the new government came into power, they flexed their right wing muscles by closing all the self organized refugee housing projects, emptying these spaces of families with children, who were stuffed into caged buses and sent to detention centers before being forced into the horrific camps that specialize in dehumanizing the already traumatized. The police in their militarized glory, guarded the walled off empty buildings but left the heroine dealers, pimps and human traffickers free to continue their market.
Despina Stamos and Bianca Falco
Bianca Falco and I arrived in Athens on Monday morning to begin passTRESpass2019. We met with our wonderful collaborator Maria Juliana Byck and our beautiful dancers/refugees to distribute the stipends we fundraised and were delighted that they were interested in continuing the dance. Jamilla and Mina are doing well as well as Abdoul and the toddlers.
We are excited to begin the workshop process today. We are pleased to meet in person the new participants from the last production of proximity. Everyone is interested in making new work!
We will be rehearsing Monday Wednesday and Friday from 5-7 at the Steki Metanaston.
Tentative performance September 27-28 at The Yellow Days festival at the School of Fine Arts.
Stay tuned for more details!
a Gala Reception
May 2, 7-11pm
1 Bryant Pank 48th floor
benefiting the modern dance awareness society ‘s
a four week dance/theater workshop and performance with refugees from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq in Athens, Greece
Enjoy the sensual sounds of singer Claudia Valentina as the sun sets.
View the City from rare heights while enjoying drinks and tasty bites.
Bid on wonderful art work by Haideen Anderson Kennedy, Patty Hefley, Lesley Powell, David Normal, Benjamin Ferguson, Gisella Sorrentino, Recycle and Pray and more tba.
Indulge in dance and healthy bodywork offered by Gibney Dance, Brooklyn Heights Pilates, Geoff Kuffner Thai massage, Pilates with Bianca Falco and Despina Stamos, yoga with Barbara Gentile and more!
See your friends and dance, dance, dance!
Please Join us May 13, 12-4pm for Dancing Across Borders: A Benefit for Refugees at Home and Abroad.
On May 13th, the modern dance awareness society and Dance Afghanistan join forces to host a fundraising event to support refugees at home and abroad. 100% of proceeds from the event will go towards supporting “proximity” dance project Athens refugee cast, Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza, and Dance Afghanistan story translation project by refugees.
The event will be an afternoon of outdoors and indoors dance-based performances, film projections, presentations, and poetry. The day aims to highlight cultural integration issue, raise awareness about refugees and migration, and promote the role of the arts in capacity building.
The day’s performances and activities will run in two locations near Times Square:
@ Anita’s Way, 135 W 42nd St, New York
These activities will feature film screenings of Jill Woodward’s “bodies of resilience”, “passTRESpass”, and preview of “journey without a map”. The modern dance awareness society will also be restaging “proximity,” a transnational dance dialogue, with performers Daphne Pantazopoulou(Athens), Wen-Shuan Yang, Abdul Nazari and residents of Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza via Skype from Athens.
@ Nearby dance loft between 6th and Broadway on W44th, specific address sent upon ticket reservation
Activities at the dance loft will feature light fare, traditional Greek and Afghan dance performances, and Afghan poetry readings. The event will conclude with a presentation of the research conducted in Greece by the Generation Outside Network concerning the quality of life for long-term Afghan refugees, followed by a Q&A discussion.
TICKETS & DONATIONS
Ticket reservations (free) are required for both Anita’s Way and nearby dance loft activities. Though events are free, your generous donation will go a long way towards supporting the refugee community!
ticket link :https://www.artful.ly/store/events/11892
All donations are tax deductible thanks to Fractured Atlas’ fiscal sponsorship of Dance Afghanistan project. All donations will thus be processed by Dance Afghanistan and distributed among the modern dance awareness society, Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza, and Dance Afghanistan story translation project by refugees.
Our fundraising campaign for Athens refugees!
After a tumultuous beginning, passTRESpassAthens 2016 culminated in a wonderful workshop and performance of proximity as part of Outopias, an exhibition curated by Thanos Vovolis at the Benaki museum.
OutTopias, Benaki Museum Athens, Greece
September 24, 2016
passTRESpass Athens https://tmdas.org/passtrespass-athens/
The purpose of the work is to pose questions regarding how we negotiate boundaries on the different levels; human relationships, physical space, and cultural practices. Participants explore movement vocabulary with an emphasis on excavating and physicalizing particular psycho-geographies – personal stories and communal histories. As we are confronted with each other’s cultures, how can we successfully co-exist and flourish? What do we carry with us? What do we leave behind and how does that effect our environment?
As kinetic organisms moving about on a planet shrinking from population density and technological advances, we are colliding faster and harder; realities intersecting, borders shift. As the ground shifts, how do we make sense of where the pieces fall? How do we choose to rearrange them?
Thanks to Embros Theater, City Plaza and Benaki Museum for their support.
Despina Sophia Stamos
sound and editing Maria Juliana Byck
camera Leon Taylor
Stay tuned for part 2, dis*place*ment, November 19 & 20 at 2pm at Anita’s Way, Times Square. dis*place*ment is a transcontinental dance conversation with the artists from City Plaza. All tickets proceeds will go to the cast in Athens.
Landing in Athens with Irene Siegel on August 24, we are immediately informed that an attack had occurred in a neighboring refugee center. Two gas canisters and a Molotov cocktail were thrown into the ground floor at 5:30 am, by fascist nationalists, causing a fire that burned the storage room. Luckily, no one was hurt.
Many families were moved to the City Plaza Hotel, presently home to 400 people half of which are children. This event was frightening and further traumatizing to the people many who were there because their own worlds were crushed by bombs, DASH fanatics, smugglers and harrowing journeys.
Irene immediately translated for Arabic speaking Syrian Kurds.
She was extremely invaluable providing much needed communication bridge. Slowly, we connected with various groups within the center.
Mohammad, a 14 year old traveling with his 16 year old brother Basir shows interest in our dance proposal. He brings his friends. They are beautiful performers. They are children who have made it to safety.
For cultural reasons, the girls and women do not participate. We dance with them at the women’s gathering every Tuesday and Thursday from 7-10pm. Yoga for women at 7 all week. Joined by 16 yr old Alishba, whose grandfather was killed by the Taliban in Pakistan, Nisreen and Evine, two Syrian sisters, 16 and 14, Slava 13, Raida 10, occasionally Lava 14.
Nur, a young mother from Homs, shows us her neighborhood on Google maps, satellite view. She traces with her fingers the different areas around her home belonging to different warring factions. She zooms into the bombed building remains a few doors from her own family’s home, while cradling her infant.
We have just returned from Greece, and as you might imagine, the situation this year provided inevitable challenges to mounting passTRESpass. Despite the hurdles, we are pleased overall with the impact our project continues to have on refugees in Athens. We had 5 American and 1 Greek facilitator this year. Irene Siegel, Lorene Bouboushian, and Karl Cooney were new to the project in 2015. Their dance, language, and logistical skills were a huge asset to our work. Despina Stamos, Panagiotis Andronikidis, and Jill Woodward returned to the project.
A steady influx of refugees from Syria and other places continued to arrive daily in the midst of one of the worst European financial meltdowns since World War II. We touched many more people but not always in the lengthy workshop process that we’ve done in previous years. We gathered a group of participants who joined us as we created performances in various plazas, known as platias, in Athens.
We performed at 8 locations where immigrants tend to gather, including one refugee camp just outside the city. This compound was a temporary home to hundreds of recently arrived Syrians, including around 150 children. When our dance was finished we were delighted to have the children and adults share some of their own movement games with us.
Because Irene speaks Arabic and French, we were able to communicate better with refugees than ever before. Lorene’s background as a children’s dance educator was immensely helpful as we found ourselves interacting more and more often with families and children. In all of these locations, we incorporated the audience members into our dances, and invited them to join us at the next place.
A few refugees and Greek community members had the time and wherewithal to join us in building a performance piece. We were scheduled to present work at the Athens Anti-Racist festival, but the festival was cancelled because it was a direct conflict with the last minute unprecedented referendum announced by the government. Instead, we joined with a local theater group and presented a 30 minute dance piece for an audience at a cultural center the night before the referendum.
We are all improvisers in our movement work, and we drew on those skills to adapt our project and improvise logistically everyday throughout the three week workshop period in Athens. Even people we touched only briefly told us how much our presence meant to them, and we are extremely gratified that we were able to have those interactions.
We look forward to sharing our more of work through video in progress, and meanwhile if you’re interested you can see our final performance below.
The party was awesome, thanks to all those who came, partied, volunteered, sang, and documented! We want to give a shout out especially to Chashama, who donated the party space and catering, meaning almost all of the ticket and Silent Auction proceeds go toward the project.
We netted approximately $3100 on the Gala, which will get us to Greece and cover a portion of our workshop costs, including food for our participants. Thanks also to our amazing Gala sponsors and other donors, whose help allows us to expand the project and create another short documentary film. Tax-deductible donations are still gratefully accepted.
We’re preparing to leave for Greece in just two weeks, but in the meantime, check out some photos from the event on our public Facebook page (no account required). If you are on Facebook, please “like” our page to follow our process in Athens. Any photos you’d like to share can be posted there.
We have exciting plans for a fall event that will build on the transcontinental video live stream concept. Stay tuned for your invitation, and have a wonderful, dance-filled, joyful summer!
We are beyond thrilled to invite you to our upcoming Benefit Gala on May 11, 2015. Enjoy amazing views from the 48th floor of the Bank of America building. Our Athens collaborators will join us for a transcontinental live-stream dance performance, sharing a taste of what passTRESpass will offer this summer.
Tickets are $50, click to buy!
Can’t come but want to support? Donate here!
Tax-deductible sponsor packages are also available – contact despinasophia at hotmail.com.