Heliotopia is a dance-theatre piece that is built on social engagement in development with the Melissa Network, a network in Athens, Greece for women refugees fleeing war, oppression and gender-based violence. It follows a single woman’s path on a journey of departure, trauma and rebirth.
The woman is called Melissa and we follow her story from the moment she arrives through the sea in a new and unknown land; Greece. In her new life she tries to build everything from point zero, adjust to the new environment and find her place in western culture. In her struggle she faces obstacles and constantly falls in alive nightmares that cannot escape from. She gradually finds other women that had gone through the same or similar path and she gets back her voice, strength and eventually her smile.
The piece takes the audience on a psychological and physical journey through a process of recovery: the stages of grief, realisation and acceptance wherein we pass through a flower’s process of wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming.
This flower’s process was the seed of the idea for making Heliotopia when I read the book The Sun and her Flowers of Rupi Kaur. This nature process initiated a series of thoughts around the way we face difficulties in life, which is a constant cycle that requires our strength to fight, find our roots, rise and bloom again.
Direction & Choreography: Korina Kokkali
Performer: Eirini Fanarioti
Live Music-Composition: Katerina Polemi
Additional Electronic Composition: Gary Salomon
Dramaturgy: Simon Gleave
Set & Costume: Gina Iliopoulou & Alexandros Garnavos
Lighting: Alekos Anastassiou
Costume Designer: Keno_Athens, Charalambos Nikolaou
Video Promo - Projection: Xristos Symeonides
Photos-Trailer: Vasilis Antonopoulos
Our first call for performing our material was in Nordic Fringe Festival 2019 in Lahti of Finland
The second presentation was at Poreia Theatre in Athens (16,17,23,30 December 2019).
Special thanks to D. Tarlow and Poreia Theatre.
Many thanks to Nadina Christopoulou co-founder of Melissa Network in Athens for the special collaboration and the material we gathered from our workshops with the migrant women of Melissa.