Slow dancing in the square

Slow Dance Marathon live art installation at Rabin Square will take place Wednesday at 1:30 through Friday at 1:30 p.m.

ballroom dance 88 (photo credit: )
ballroom dance 88
(photo credit: )
The Slow Dance Marathon live art installation at Rabin Square taking place Wednesday at 1:30 through Friday at 1:30 p.m. aims to connect humans through the prolonged hug required in the slow dance partnership. To create the 48-hour dance chain, each of the 96 participants will dance to the sounds of Diana Ross, Lionel Ritchie and Bonnie Taylor for two half-hour sessions. Cyprian native Christodoulous Panayiotou, the marathon's creator, says slow dance was chosen because it is the only dance style without specific steps, so it can not be learned professionally. In this respect, he explains, the event is actually an "anti-marathon." The Tel Aviv municipality-sponsored event is not competitive and does not require dance experience. "Our project is about connection rather than competition," Panayiotou says. "More than any other dance, slow dance forces people to share their personal space and develop a bond with their partner." Panayiotou, an acclaimed video artist whose work earned him the prestigious Deste Prize for Contemporary Art, plans to film the event and present the finished product in art galleries around the world. Panayiotou's inspiration for the slow dance marathon was his nomination for the Deste Prize. "Nominees had to give a presentation about their work," he explains. "I was at a very emotional stage in my life and work and found this prospect intimidating, so instead I slow danced with each of the judges and answered their questions for the duration of the dance." Panayiotu hopes to hold his marathon in seven cities around the world, making the length of each marathon a day longer than the last. His ultimate goal is a marathon with seven continous days of dancing. Tel Aviv is the second city to play host following the success of the 24-hour event in Thessaloniki, Greece last year. Panayiotou says it was a series of independent requests in close proximity which convinced him to bring the marathon to Israel. "Israeli friends had been urging me to hold an event in Tel Aviv," he explains, "and an Israeli curator saw the Thessaloniki show and asked me to come." The gallery/bar Raw Art will be the first gallery to exhibit his film. Panayiotou admits to having "paradoxical" feelings towards Israel. "I'm from Cyprus which shares a Mediterranean climate and mentality with Israel, so for me the country lacks the mystery and exotic quality it holds for many tourists," he says. "But at the same time I find myself fascinated by Israeli's energy and creativity, particularly in Tel Aviv, which seems to be on the verge of something big artistically." To apply or for more details e-mail Participants must be aged 20-40.