Andonis Foniadakis speaks of the influence of his latest dance work

Aterballetto performs three works by leading choreographers

Italian dance troup Aterballetto performs works by leading choreographers (photo credit: Courtesy)
Italian dance troup Aterballetto performs works by leading choreographers
(photo credit: Courtesy)
When choreographer Andonis Foniadakis speaks of his creation Antitesi, which he made as a commission for Italy’s Fondazione Nazionale della Danza Aterballetto, he describes a space between poles, an interim or midway. The world of the piece cannot be easily defined, not by musical style, period, technique or nationality. It exists in the gray area and overlaps between various opposites, a gray area that Foniadakis paints with vibrant colors in broad strokes of movement and sound.
In fact, like the creation, Foniadakis lives and work on the line between various locations in Europe and various dance styles.
Born and raised in the city of Ierapetra on the south of Crete, he was drawn away from his home by his passion for dance. His studies took him from Crete to Athens to Lausanne. His professional journey extended his personal map to include Lyon and Japan. Today, his path continues to touch upon a multitude of locations each year, to which Foniadakis brings his wholly unique blend of movement, musicality and emotion.
“The idea of national identity was a big issue for me because I was raised artistically in central Europe, away from my country,” he said in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post. Foniadakis speaks softly yet with great intention. His words are decorated by a Greek accent.
“There was always the nostalgia and the feeling that I’m a carrier of a Greek DNA in my work. I was proud and loud about it until I realized that there is no country that can define me. I’m my own country and my own land, and I pay the price by struggling with myself and enjoying it on my own. I happen to come from Greece, and that’s very precious to my heart but I believe you become who are through experiences and that has no country. We are own our representative. Nobody can own your creativity and no one is responsible for the success or failure of your work, just yourself.”
BEING FREE from attachments to one location has afforded Foniadakis the freedom to mix, match and juxtapose elements that would otherwise not coexist. Antitesi, Foniadakis’ first work for Regio Emilia-based troupe Aterballetto, began as an exploration of just that, how he could incorporate snippets of musical history into a collage.
“Originally, I was asked to create a piece for the company based on Italian composers. Italy has such a big variety of musical culture. The point was to craft a piece choosing composers that I find interesting to choreograph on, that represent different worlds. The playlist has high contrast, that’s where the title Antithesis comes from, it describes opposition. We move from super-contemporary composers to Baroque composers,” he explains.
“The interesting thing was creating a meeting between these different composers from the same country who existed in different times. My choreography has high contrast because I’ve been trained classically and contemporary as well. It was a great opportunity to pin down different sides of my technique. I found the work could be something neoclassical and then something much rawer and more contemporary all together.”
Not wanting to subscribe to any one pole, Foniadakis also attempted to blur gender lines in Antitesi.
“I had to disturb and get away from the prototype of male-female and get to something a bit asexual, which was a surprise for me. There are some pointe shoes worn by men in the piece.”
He goes on to say that while the rest of the creation was planned in advance, prior to meeting the dancers of the company, this part was a surprise that erupted in the studio.
“I knew right away where I wanted to go with this work and how to take the dancers with me, but this was the surprise element I found in the work.”
Antitesi will be presented as one third of a program in which works by Jiri Kylian and Hofesh Shechter will also be performed.
While his work is being shown in Israel, Foniadakis will gear up for a number of major engagements in 2020 including performances in Brazil, Croatia, Germany and a new work for his company, Apotosoma.