the modern dance awareness society

dance dance everywhere

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1:1 please remove shoes

please stop by and join us! as we explore the latest development of 1:1 please remove shoes.

happening at 112 West 44th St, on September 29, 30 and October 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

this installation runs 5:45-7:45 pm. please feel free to stay for any length of time.

1:1 please remove shoes is an interactive, multi-media performance installation that conjures the visual, the kinetic and while sourcing the experiential- It is conceived as a self sourcing environment where the dance is informed by the space and its inhabitants- spectators influence performers-a self referencing loop inviting the spectator to engage.

This month, as we remember and memorialize the events of September 11, 2001, this performance is intended to shift our focus from the clashing of our differences to our interrelatedness, shedding light on the joys and surprises of trusting one another.

cast: Cecilia Fontanesi, Bianca Falco, Danika Holoviak, Storme Sundberg,Emily Peck, Yina Ng, Josh Bisker, Despina Stamos and special guest artists TBA.

this event is free for the public!
1:1 please remove shoes is made possible by in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. We are also receiving support from Chashama and donors like you!

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fall updates 2010

I have returned from Greece with lots of wonderful inspiration from our project there. I am always so moved by the people we work with in Athens. The courage and generosity of the participants fills me with gratitude and awe; gratitude to have the opportunity to meet these lovely people and awe over their strength of spirit!

Many exciting events coming up!

Please join us on Friday, September 19th,  for a screening of passTRESpass 2009 at Zora Space in Brooklyn. The event is called

Migration: The Question of our Times. September 19TH, 7:30PM

Border crossing and migration are issues that confront societies worldwide, both rich and poor. Author and professor Behzad Yaghmaian (Embracing the Infidel) leads a program of film and discussion on the topic. He will recount stories from Muslim migrants who make the treacherous journey to Europe from places such as Iran, Turkey, and Sudan. The premiere screening of the half-hour documentary passTRESpass introduces immigrants from Africa, Afghanistan, and Albania trying to create a life in Greece. They express their pain and difficulties through movement and spoken word in a show performed for an Athens audience. Choreographer Despina Stamos, who instigated the performance and appears in the film, along with the film’s director, Jill Woodward, will be present for an informal discussion and Q/A following the screening.


“The International population must move”.

Tens of thousands of immigrants and refugees make their way across the porous borders of Greece every year. They come from all over Africa, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. Despina Stamos, a Greek American dancer, connects with a diverse group of immigrants in Athens and proposes a community dance performance. The process gives them a rare opportunity to express themselves regarding issues such as racism, being treated as criminals, and living without papers. Although the performers must work around language complications and other challenges, eventually a composition is presented to an Athens audience. Their collaboration bridges communities from four continents and culminates in an experience that will touch their lives profoundly. In English, French, and Greek with English subtitles. Featuring the Modern Dance Awareness Society.

Park Slope, Brooklyn

(F to 9th street/4th Ave, M/R to Union Street)

$5 suggested donation, cafe open with refreshments that can be purchased.


Please join us at 3rd Ward on Sept. 11th!

Rubulad and 3rd Ward Present:

On Saturday, September 11, 2010
Pre-Hysteria – a fund-raiser to help save Rubulad from extinction
At 3rd Ward – 195 Morgan Avenue at Stagg Street
live music by:
Les Sans Culottes
Lily and the Parlour Tricks
Thomas Francis Takes His Chances
The WoWz
With your dj/soundman Cody
The Vintage DJ
DJ Dirty Finger
and more..

in the yard:
Not Waving, but Drowning
Jessica Delfino
Bradford Reed and his Pencilina
with your DJ/soundman Greything

performances by:
Zero Boy
Fairytale Experiment Presents: Shadow/Play
The Jared Whitham Show
Modern Dance Awareness Society
“Blow,” a performance by Vanessa and Yung
Aerialists curated by Anya Sapozhnikova
Dreams and Aspirations Vending Machine by Yung
G. Scopitronic’s Non-Stop Film Fest
Light Circus Extraordinaire of Norm Francoeur
Delicious Barbecue
and a cast of thousands who have generously donated their time and
talents to help S.O.S. – save our space!
“Pre-hysteria” refers to all things dinosaur-ish, stone age or of the
terminal, way-back past. Please dress and comport yourselves
Your $20 will help ensure the existence of Rubulad for 65 million more
years to come.
Directions: L Train to the Morgan Avenue stop and follow the address
numbers or to the Montrose Avenue stop, down Messerole and left on
10:00 pm doors, 11:00 pm show. 21+ w/ ID, really.
We are guests of 3rd Ward so no BYOB please.

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Athens, Gr. Proximity presented at 15th annual anti-racist festival

Proximity creates an opportunity for immigrants and Greek locals to learn about each other and to dance together for a moment at the festival. We continue through July 11th.


μια performance με αφορμή το 15ο Αντιρατσιστικό Φεστιβάλ
9-10-11 Ιουλίου 2010, Άλσος Γουδή (είσοδος από Κατεχάκη)

Θέλουμε να τους βοηθήσουμε, έχουμε δοκιμάσει τα φαγητά τους, έχουμε ψωνίσει απο τους πάγκους τους αλλά σπάνια έχουμε την δυνατότητα να τους συναντήσουμε και να τους γνωρίσουμε από κοντά, να τους γνωρίσουμε σαν πρόσωπα που έχουν μια ιστορία και μπορούν να τη διηγηθούν.

Η ομάδα ELANADISTIKANOUME και η χορογράφος της ομάδας The Modern Dance Awareness Society (Ν.Υ.), Despina-Sofia Stamos, σε συνεργασία με μετανάστες performers, δημιούργησαν στα πλαίσια του Αντιρατσιστικού Φεστιβάλ, τις συνθήκες ώστε να γίνει αυτή η συνάντηση.

Θα καλέσουν και τις 3 μέρες, 8.30-10.30μμ τους επισκέπτες του Φεστιβάλ, να συμμετέχουν σε ένα δρώμενο που θα βρεθούν στο ίδιο τραπέζι με ένα μετανάστη ο καθένας, να επικοινωνήσουν άμεσα μαζί του, να μοιραστούν κάποιες στιγμές και αν το επιθυμούν να χορέψουν μαζί του.
Mohammad Anwar Hossain
Ahmet Seho
Sedat Hayta
Eddy Waziri
Alphonso Thiaby
Abdul Hussain Nazari
Kozeta Myzequari
Despina – Sofia Stamos
Arhond Giannopoulos

Ολυμπία Σωτηροπούλου

Ιωάννα Ρεβίθη

Βίκη Βασιλοπούλου

Παναγιώτης Ανδρονικίδης

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updates 2010

so many travels, so many shows

MDAS created multiple performances for Rubulad this year including, mother goose gone BAD, bunnies hopalong and a revisit of product x.

we were also joined by Phillipa Kaye, Bianca Falco, Jill Woodward, Rob Stupay, Cecilia Fontanasi, Rachel Dutra, Jodi Bender and Geo Geller for a site specific roaming performance at the Gaga Arts Festival in Garnerville NY a few weeks ago!

At the moment, I am preparing to go to Athens for a performance installation with the lovely immigrants I had the pleasure of working with last year. This project will be a collaboration with the participants and Panagiotis Andronikidis. The performance will happen at the entrance of the 15th annual anti-racist festival of Athens on July 9, 10 and 11th. We are still raising money to make this happen.

I am also working on 1:1 please remove shoes for October which will be made possible by chashama and a grant from the LMCC! Hooray institutional support!

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september 2009

modern dance awareness society

two chances next week to catch us

Monday September 21stChashama gala benefit 6-9 and after party 9-11pm

in the new public art alley- Anita’s Way on 42nd St. between 6th and Broadway.

Despina Stamos and Toby Billowitz in Cabbage Salad and blindate every half hour.

super exciting!

join us

****Thursday, September 24th

at 7:30-8 and again after the Rembetika, Smyrneika and Entehna music performance in  the historic Queens Theater in The Park

as we explore the latest development of 1:1 please remove shoes.

1:1 please remove shoes is an interactive, multi-media performance installation that conjures the visual, the kinetic and while sourcing the experiential- It is conceived as a self sourcing environment where the dance is informed by the space and its inhabitants- spectators influence performers-a self referencing loop inviting the spectator to engage.

Thursday, September 24


An evening of uniquely arranged Rembetika, Smyrneika and Entehna music.

8PM, Tickets $25


Choreographer: mdas, the modern dance awareness society, founded by Despina Sophia Stamos

Pre- and Post-Show Performances 7:30PM and 9:30PM, Free event

Hope to see you there!



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eddy and doudou

eddy and doudou

passTRESpass has been a wonderful whirlwind, the marketplace as a space for exchange, learning and listening- I am still reeling from the experience. 


our cast grew immensely during our time together- each individual honing their offering until the final performance. their solos brought tears to my eyes. one of our Afghans originally needed to hide in the dark part of the room–he was so shy and suddenly in the performance it was like he was on fire, channeling his story- sharing his escape, expressing what he couldn’t express in words. another dancer- who danced during the Communist regime in Albania learned to improvise a duet with an amazing man from Senegal. each dancer found their way in the score and surprised us with their generosity and commitment. And now we wonder, what is next for them, will they get caught by the bureaucratic broom of the right wing?  Our mobility stands in contrast with their predicaments.

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performance in Athens


July 4 and 5 at 9pm  pre-show installation at 8:30

Kypseli Municipal Agora- Fokinionos Negri 42

entrance is free

This work will be performed in conjunction with the performance installation created by Aliki Germanou

                                                                                                                                                                                                “ fates”

performed by Niki Hatzivasiliathou, Maria Daskalaki and Efi Alevisou

and Dimitri Halazis’s  “Entaphsiasmos”

passTRESpass is

instigated by Despina Sophia Stamos in collaboration with Wen-shuan Yang, Panagiotis Andronikidis, Jill Woodward, Alice Klugherz and the performers: Lauretta Macauley, Marie Sankoh, Fatima Sankoh, Tapha Diaw, Doudou Gueye, Papa Loum, Kozeta Myzequari, Abdoul Houssain Nazari, Diarno Sanghott, Gloria Strutioth, Alphonso Thiaby, Eddy Waziri, Mirza Yousefi and the generous assistance of Konstantina Panagou, Dimitrios Chalatsis

music composed by Vassilis Mitropoulos

viola duet performed by Edward Malave and Lena Tsaklagkanou

sound collage created by Wen-Shuan Yang

video collage created by Jill Woodward

costumes and props Alice Klugherz

this project was conceived as a collaboration of many artists, activists and community members.

A purpose of the work is to pose questions regarding how we negotiate boundaries on the different levels; human relationships, physical space, and cultural practices. 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?

Enormous thanks to the Kypseli Market community, the African Womens’ Organization,  Eugenia Tzitzilaki, all the participating artists and all the generous donors who have made this show possible!



 Lauretta Macauley – Originally from Sierra Leone, Lauretta left her home and family in order to escape the conditions of deprivation that were present under the single party rule of Siaka Stevens. She has been living in Greece since 1982. Lauretta has worked for many years with elderly Greeks. In 2006 she co-founded the United African Women of Greece, an organization that fights for the rights of African immigrants.

Marie and Fatima Sankoh’s parents escaped conditions in Sierra Leone to provide a decent life for their children. Both girls were born in Athens and excel in school. Officially they are not citizens of Greece or Sierra Leone.

Tapha Diaw,  Doudou Gueye,  Papa Loum and Alphonso Thiaby are from Senegal. Doudou has observed that people from economically deprived countries are called immigrants whereas all others are considered tourists. Papa is in favor of a world with no borders and no papers. Alphonso has been sponsored by a Greek employer. He has lived in Athens for four years and speaks fluent Greek.

Abdoul Houssain Nazari and Mirza Yousefi are from Afganistan. As a child, Abdoul lost his mother when his house was bombed, escaped a massacre, and lived in Iran for 11 years. He’s been separated from his family since his escape . He and Mirza work hard in construction.

Kozeta Myzequari left Albania when the Iron Curtain collapsed, as her economic and social world crumbled. She has lived here for 19 years and her Greek is fluent.

 Diarno Sanghott is from Mauritania where about 20% of the population live on less than US$ 1.25 per day. He is interested in integrating into Greek society.

Gloria Strutioth was born here in Greece. Her family is from Albania. She and Marie Sankoh are best friends.

Eddy Waziri is from Tanzania. He believes in equal rights for all people.