the modern dance awareness society

dance dance everywhere

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Spring update 2015

Our short film bodies of resilience will  screen at the International Video Dance Festival of Burgundy. While mdas finalizes preparations for our gala benefit event on May 11th, I will be performing in Stratos Tsortsorglou’s production of The Shout. The work is choreographed by Teti Nikolopoulou in collaboration with myself. Kraugi1-no sponsor More news soon!

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soma – and other spaces

soma – and other spaces

a meditative, movement ritual

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 3.29.56 PM
September 23 and 25, 2014


Chashama 1155 6th Avenue

corner of 45th St.

the modern dance awareness society presents soma – and other spaces, a multi-media durational movement ritual / installation performed by Despina Sophia Stamos and Danica Arehart at 1155 6th Avenue at 1pm, September 23 and 25. The duet gradually unfolds amid the towers of mid-town.

 Juxtaposing the time signature of the neighborhood, we seek to build a momentary “nest” for our bodies and our imaginations.The audience is invited to enter and stay for as long as they like. We invite people to bring their lunch as these are lunchtime performances.

Inspired by Sarah Robinson’s Nesting: body dwelling mind,  Stamos and Arehart create an episodic, kinetic game that expands and contracts over the hour. In development since 2013, the work began with the question- how do the environments that we live in affect our body’s movement? This work is the process through which we approach the question.

presented by chashama

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news from Athens

Lots of good news from Athens!
Panagiotis Andronikidis has been making connections with the Immigrants Social Center in Exarhia, Athens as well as Piso Thrania. They have facilitated showing the  2009  documentary to potential participants and to date, we have 30 people interested in participating. The workshop will take place in Exarhia this year. We will be performing the final work at the Anti-Racist Festival.

Jill Woodward has created a trailer for last year’s project that we are just beginning to share online. We would love to hear your impressions of the work!

Thank-you for the support we have received for the project thus far, though we are still quite a distance from our goal. Please look for our fundraising letter in the mail! Your support has been vital to the project.


Despina Stamos

To donate by check:

Please make all checks payable to The Field.

Write Despina Stamos / mdas in the memo line.

Donors should mail checks directly to:

Despina Stamos

400 West 43rd St. 38-c

NYC, NY 10036

To donate by credit card:

Go to

Enter Despina Stamos / modern dance awareness society

Click “Contribute” and follow the prompts

the modern dance awareness society is a Sponsored Artist of The Field, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization serving the New York City performing arts community. Contributions made to The Field and earmarked for Despina Stamos/mdas are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information about The Field contact: The Field, 161 6th Avenue, New York NY 10013, (212)691-6969, fax: (212)255-2053, A copy of The Field’s latest annual report may be obtained, upon request, from The Field or from the Office of the Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.



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Updates 2013

Lots to report! passTRESpass 2013 in development!

May 20- June 10, 2013

The situation in Greece has intensified for our participants. It is both daunting and critical to continue our work there. Last year, we were challenged by the loss of the Kypseli Agora. That challenge led us to a different work approach- we rehearsed across from the Acropolis and in various local sites as well as creating a stage piece shown in two locations.

This year, Panagiotis Andronikidis, director of ELANADISTIKANOUMEour co-facilitator is coordinating an effort to extend our outreach. Participants from previous years that continue creating with  ELANADISTIKANOUME will be assisting this year’s production by leading some of the exercises  in rehearsals with the new participants!

Stay tuned for more details!

Also, somaphrase 2013 will take place in Andros island July 1 through 7.

Come join us!!!!!

Our first local call for participation

Ανοιχτή πρόσκληση για συμμετοχή στο πρότζεκτ
PASStresPASS 2013Οι ομάδες χορού ELANADISTIKANOUME με έδρα την Αθήνα και The Modern Dance Awareness Society (TMDAS) με έδρα την Νέα Υόρκη, προσκαλούν για συμμετοχή μετανάστες και ντόπιους που θα τους ενδιέφερε να λάβουν μέρος στην διαδικασία δημιουργίας παράστασης με θέμα την μετανάστευση, τα σύνορα και τα δικαιώματα.
Το κύριο μέρος του πρότζεκτ θα πραγματοποιηθεί από 20 Μαίου εώς 10 Ιουνίου, με καθημερινές συναντήσεις στην Αθήνα. Τον συντονισμό του πρότζεκτ έχουν οι Despina Sophia Stamos (TΜDAS) και Παναγιώτης Ανδρονικίδης (ELANADISTIKANOUME).
Καλούμε ομάδες μεταναστών, μαθητές και δασκάλους να πλαισιώσουν το πρότζεκτ συμμετέχοντας με τον τρόπο που μπορούν. Επίσης μουσικούς, χορευτές, ηθοποιούς, video artists και φωτογράφους που θα ήθελαν να συμμετέχουν.
Η παράσταση θα παρουσιαστεί στο Αντιρατσιστικό Φεστιβάλ και σε άλλα φεστιβάλ και εκδηλώσες στην Αθήνα και στην επαρχία.
Η προτοιμασία του πρότζεκτ έχει ήδη ξεκινήσει από την ομάδα ELANADISTIKANOUME με σταθερές συναντήσεις μια ή δύο φορές τη βδομαδα, τα Σαββατοκύριακα.
Για συμμετοχή: Παναγιώτης 6940004843(SMS). neropan@gmail.comΠληροφορίες και Υλικό από προηγούμενα κοινά πρότζεκτ
Despina Sophia Stamos (TΜDAS)
Παναγιώτης Ανδρονικίδης (ELANADISTIKANOUME)
Τrailer της ταινίας που γυρίστηκε κατα την προετοιμασία του πρότζεκτ PASStresPASS 2009 από την Jill Woodward :
Παράσταση PASStresPASS 2009 (Αγορά Κυψέλης)
1ο μέρος:
2ο μέρος:
3ο μέρος:
PASStresPASS 2007:
Proximity 2010: 15o Αντιρατσιστικό Φεστιβάλ
passTRESpass 2012(κριτική)
PASStresPASS Facebook:

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update Summer 2012

Preparations continue for  our two residencies in Greece.

In Andros, we are planning to interview and offer on-site improvisations to elders of the island. We have been offered a van so that the workshop will have transportation to villages and coastlines that are difficult to reach, giving us the opportunity to really bring the work to the audiences that really never see it. In exchange, the village elders will tell us stories of life on the island. This will be a part of the source material that we will use, along with the environment to make our final performance on the 31st of August.

Athens, on the other hand, is going through tumultuous times. There are reports of anti-immigrant violence. One of our former participants was attacked this past year.  There is , sadly, much despair about what the future holds.Even long time residents are struggling with the new laws. Our plan is to create a safe, creative environment for the participating immigrants.


Inspiring…sigh. Last week Panagioti set up another rehearsal/site workshop at Micro Kavouri Beach. We were joined by Abdul, Sedat, Vicky, Patricia and three documentarian collaborators, Tristan, Damien and Elena. The site, a popular beach near Bouliaghmeni has a small island with the ruins of a fort about 300 feet from the shore. This was the space for our investigation.


It was breathtaking to see Abdul transformed into a snake/crocodile, Sedat softening into a rock wall, Patricia exploring crab-ness as Vicky became the sea. The experience was truly beautiful! Thank-you Panagioti for making it happen! The healing aspects of working in nature excite me. I will be posting Damien’s photos!

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you are invited——-dancing in andros, greece

Happy Spring!

We are extremely excited about our upcoming workshops and performances in Greece this summer.

On August 16-31, Damaris  Webb, Jill Woodward and myself  will be facilitating somaphrase- dancing the translation, a site specific dance workshop and performance on the island of Andros, in Greece. We will be joined by Panagiotis Andronikidis (ELANADISTIKANOUME GR)  Of course, you are invited to participate or just spread the word!

In September, we will continue passtrespass with the immigrants at the Kypseli Market Community Center in Athens. This is an extremely trying time for the people of Greece. Our goal is to create a safe, creative environment, as well as an empowering performance platform for those who are hit hardest by the current situation.

video passtrespass

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if you are in Times Square come by and check out portable
Anita’s Way 
the through block connecting W 42nd and W 43rd Street 

between Broadway and 6th Ave 

Wednesday, May 18, 12:30 – 1:30pm 

Thursday, May 19, 6:30 – 7:30pm 

portable is a moment of unity, where through simplicity and timeless  repetition we create a shared language- a diversity in unison.  

this work was supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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call for participants/ performers of all backgrounds
we are interested in a diversity of physical performers, dancers, artists.
portable is a dance that is a celebration of the physical at a meditative pace near Times Square.
conceived and directed by
despina sophia stamos in collaboration with christina andrea and mdas
We will perform “portable” on May 18th from 12:30p to 1:30p and May 19 6:30-7:30 pm.
The modern dance awareness society brings attention to the presence of the human form amid a concrete cavern in Times Square.
portable involves a large cast of dancers that stretch across the stage-a line of bodies between  42nd and 43rd st.  It’s a tapestry of bodies in the process of sharing a sensory oriented state that begins with a mesmerizing, time-shifting unison ritual.The audience has the opportunity to watch from multiple perspectives including a live cam view that is projected on the wall opposite the stage area. Toward the end, they are gently invited to join. The work is a celebration of the uniqueness of the individual, the “ i”, the “1” the essence as it relates to the whole.  It is a living fabric of community made of diverse threads that are a metaphor for our similarities and our individual complexities and differences.

portable is a moment of unity, where through simplicity and timeless  repetition we create a shared language- a diversity in unison.  The participants function as a community where each individual can set, maintain or surpass her/his own limits and boundaries. A mirror of ourselves through the eyes of another, an entrancing and peaceful parade of bodies sharing a common sense, the tactile. Literally, a ritually minimalistic antidote for the modern, competitive, fast-paced society, that daily assaults our deepest sensitivities, cravings and even alters the heart beat of our inner universe.

portable is a reminder, an effort to peel away the excess, the layers of social persona to reveal our own exceptional core that always exists in each one of us. portable ignites a human spark in a concrete environment- a pause in the chaos.
this work was supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

mdas will be conducting two rehearsal/workshops for portable.  this work begins in a group ritual that evolves for the duration of one hour.
we will be working off a single form/phrase which we will post online before the workshop.
rehearsal/workshop will be scheduled via Doodle calendar after you contact us.
contact- despina at
or call     212-629-0701

Friday May 13th between 2-8 pm and Monday May 16th 12-8pm.
rehearsal/workshop will be held in the space in 2 hour intervals.

dance and mirror neurons
m neuron research form phrase is based on these meridians.

repeating the phase tickles these meridian points
heart, pericardium, gallbladder, small and large intestine and lung.
this is the basis of the form/prase.
one point is to energize our depth, by tracing our depth as we roll up and down our spines, each time experiencing the sensation of depth stimulation.

Heart Meridian (H) Yin:

The Heart meridian stands for the blood vessels (Arteries), for the oxygen supply of the body and for emotional pressure and stress (accepting or rejecting people).
The heart – meridian has nine points and starts underneath the axilla fold at the external side of the chest muscle. Here the H1 surfaces. H runs along the inside of the upper arm and the lower arm, over the wrist to end at the inner fingernail corner of the little finger.
The heart meridian reacts to its oxygen supply and metabolic situation and therefore displays the energy of the heart muscle.


The bile detoxifies and eases the burden on the body. In the head, this has an influence on the brain, the eyes as well as the ears. Psychologically the gallbladder is connected to rage and anger.Localization

The Gallbladder-Meridian connects 44 points. It starts lateral of the corner of the eye, moves in a zigzag line over the temple and skull, along the side of the neck and the lateral torso down to the abdomen. GB then continues along the exterior of the leg and the foot and reaches its termination on the outside corner of the nail of the fourth toe (GB 44).


The Gallbladder is easily irritated psychologically, as can be demonstrated by ultrasound examination. It also is closely related to eye problems, migraine and tinnitus. Disturbances of the GB and the bile ducts are frequently the primary cause of many chronic health problems such as migraine, headache, eye diseases, ear and nose problems, such as sinusitis. Toxins such as heavy metals, mercury, pesticides, insecticides, food additives, colours and preservatives, as well as viruses (hepatitis and herpes), have a tendency to accumulate in the bile.

Psychological pressure and stress, such as anger, irritation, feelings of being annoyed  and frustration weaken the flow of the energy in the gallbladder and bile, and also in the liver.


The Pericardium as the “Master of the Heart” stands for the cardio-vascular system, not only representing blood pressure ad blood circulation (warmth of hands and feet) but also a person’s positive affirmation of life. The libido is closely linked with this affirmation. Psychologically it reflects “perceiving Life as Pressure”.Localization
The Pericardium-Meridian starts lateral of the nipples at P 1, runs along the lower edge of the shoulder to the inner upper arm and then in a rather straight line along the lower arm to the wrist (P 7). From here it continues over the palm of the hand to of the inner corner of the nail of the middle finger and ends at the fingertip under the nail (P 9).


The SI represents not only the mucous membrane of the small intestines, but also the mucous membranes of the nose and the throat area. Here is also the impact zone of food allergies. Important for the health of the mucous membranes is a physiological flora consisting of friendly bacteria rather than fungi and parasites. Psychologically SI relates to digesting emotional and mental demands and pressures.
The small intestine – meridian connects 19 points. It possesses “the power of transformation” – uptake of food and converting it into energy. SI has particular effects on mucous membranes and is especially important for most of the illnesses having a strong nervous component, such as rheumatic complaints, toothache and illnesses of the abdomen.
SI starts at the exterior of the little finger, runs along the outside of the arm to the shoulder blade, then in a zigzag line to the neck, the cheek and ends at the ear.
The Small Intestine meridian represents the mucous membranes and in particular its bacteria population. It has a close relationship with the sinuses. Billions of organisms live in symbiosis in the small intestine, their metabolism requires energy.


The lung represents the bronchi, the immune system (protection from infections), allergies and the skin. Psychologically it stands for communication problems.


The Lung meridian is the “Master of the Respiration”, therefore its acupuncture points are used for illness of the lung, the respiratory system and the heart. Its eleven points begin in the third intercostal space. The meridian runs on the inside of the arm over the thumb to its terminal point on the exterior of the thumb (In the EAV model this point represents the lymphatic system, which is not in accordance with the meridians as laid down in TCM!).


The lung meridian also represents the oxygen content of the body, is associated with the skin and shows reactions if allergies and heavy metal toxicity are present. The Lung meridian controls the exterior of body and all the Yin-Meridians. It reacts most sensitive to harmful external influences (such as wind). Discords of the lung normally relate to a lack of Yin.

The Lung meridian has a close relationship with the meridians of the heart and circulatory system. It runs through the diaphragm and connects with the Large Intestines in the abdomen. The meridians of Lung and
Large Intestine traditionally form a Yin-Yang pair.

A disturbance in the thorax (the lungs) can cause a disturbance in the abdomen (in Stomach, Liver, Gallbladder, Bladder, Pancreas) and in the pelvis area (Intestines, Kidneys, Prostate) and vice versa.
Large Intestine Meridian – LI – YANG

* L indicates disturbances of bowel movements and of the lymphatic system of the intestines. It often points to toxicity build up in the intestines (toxins, heavy metals etc.). A psychological correlation is avoiding connections and fear of loss.Localization

The LI meridian connects 20 points. It begins at the nail corner of the index finger (side of the thumb), runs along the top of the arm to the shoulder joint (Li 16) and over the lateral neck and the lower jaw to the lateral side of the nose. The Large Intestine meridian represents teeth and jaws, skin and mucous membranes.


The LI represents the quality of its mucous membranes, its intestinal flora and bowel movements, but also infections, toxicity and focus formation of teeth. In the large intestine billions of microorganisms live in symbiosis. Their metabolism must be supplied with energy.

Disturbances of LI are frequently connected with a chronically pathogenic microflora (caused by fermentation of food in the intestines) and/or dysbiosis (altered intestinal flora). Underlying causes are often a disturbance of the acid/alkaline balance of the body, medications (antibiotics, laxatives), wrong diet and food allergies, environmental toxins and psychological stress. Stimulating Li 11 with the Pain-box has a harmonizing and immune-strengthening effect. A dysbiosis of the large intestines can adversely affect Gallbladder and Liver.