Friday, July 17, 2015

Isadora Duncan and Greek Traditional Dance by Giannis Zografakis

In this video I have changed the music accompaniment. Isadora uses Greek dress, Greek ritual dance, Greek philosophy, tradition and mythology, but she forgot the most important factor: the music. You can't project mystagogy with the dringis-dringis on the piano. Thus this "surgical procedure."

Traditional music comes from an ancient, almost mystical past. Its purpose is to bind the soul and the spirit with something transcendental, through a continuous and repeated motif.

The music that Isadora uses to express the choreography is pointless and ineffective, and as a result out of the whole exercise comes nothing special; it provides no message, no meaning. It's hypotonic and seems to serve no purpose at all. The ritual dimension of the choreography vanishes, loses itself in the original musical score, the sound of a piano on which the choreography has been based. But when the movement and rhythm of the body is linked with the elements of traditional Greek music, it automatically gains meaning, and from therein emerge the hidden rituals and symbols that have to do with the eternal cyclical or spiral movement of the rebirth of the shapes through the inevitable stages of death and birth.

In the Minoan tradition the Cretaceous Zeus had the characteristics of a dying god that would every year die and be reborn, following nature's patterns. That's why there used to be in Crete a grave dedicated to Zeus, the only one of its kind in the whole of Greece, on Giouhta mountain. This trend was closely connected with the naturalistic dimension that stemmed from the ancient matriarchal worship of the Minoans.

Traditional music replicates exactly those circles through the repetition of specific sound motifs that circle around a spot in which lies the purpose, the meaning, and the fountain out of which stems the original and primordial information.

Ritual dance follows this logic and carries the message of the continuous renewal and rebirth of everything, placing in material frameworks the frequencies that stem from the music.

Dance translates the sound waves of a musical ensemble and turns them into image through the expression and the kinetic flow of the body, thus making the body an intermediary, that brings forth from the virtual world of frequencies the harmony, which it impresses in the material world as movement. The coupling of these two elements can acquire a transcendent sacredness.

Isadora Duncan has approached the ritual and transcendent elements through her dance studies. In the video at hand an effort is made to highlight the values that can bring traditional Greek music and the modern version of dance together.

The video was made by Ana Zumani.

The text was translated by yours truly.

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