the modern dance awareness society

dance dance everywhere

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment


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.

Leave a comment


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.

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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!

Leave a comment

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!



Leave a comment



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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

costumed inspiration


Despina Stamos and  Jill Woodward 

 performing “dress-up dances”
 at excellent young designers sale Thursday Dec.18th
 See dance in the market as you shop for your holiday gifts!

Lamia‘s Design Loft
 20 East 31st St. (between Madison and Fifth Ave)

 Indie Designers Holiday Sale and Party

 Private Shopping Event with free wine, treats, dance and music! 

Exclusive one-of-a-kind items from various designers: Handbags, Gloves,
 Clothes, Jewelry, T-Shirts and other great handmade boutique items.
Great prices, beautiful quality, and most of all you will have fun!
Amazing original (and affordable) gifts!


Sohung Designs

and more…

Thursday, December 18, 6 p.m until the last guest goes-:)
Lamia‘s Design Loft
 20 East 31st St. (between Madison and Fifth Ave)