Despina Sophia Stamos arrived in the US in 1970 from a quiet, farming village, on an island in Greece. To live between two cultures, the conservative traditional Greek, and the perceived “freedoms” of America, is to teeter between the two.
tiptoeing a tightrope
straddling an ocean
Two distinct experiences of understanding the world, often in conflict.
push and pull-a foot in each
balancing on both but as they diverge
tumbling into the liminal space between.
From the falls, into the seam, the magic of discovery
between here and here…
performed by Despina Sophia Stamos and guest artists Bianca Falco and Marija Krtolica
soundtrack compilation DSS
set collaboration with cast
The work is an exploration of the space and tensions betwixt two distinct cultures coexisting in one body. Performers will source memory, kinetic impulse and the performance site to create short interactive vignettes throughout the duration. Interactions upon consent only.
Set to the compiled soundscores of passTRESpass, a decade long project, with displaced people in Athens, Greece.
A dance performance situated in the liminal space between two concrete caverns
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 and our unaccompanied minors.
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.
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 ELANADISTIKANOUME, our 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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
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
With your dj/soundman Cody
The Vintage DJ
DJ Dirty Finger
in the yard:
Not Waving, but Drowning
Bradford Reed and his Pencilina
with your DJ/soundman Greything
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
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.