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Photo: John Stathis

Mystery_25 Spring Forward: The most special celebration of contemporary dance in Europe was realized with great success in Elefsina

04.05.2022

Spring Forward was held with great success in Elefsina. The most important European contemporary dance meeting was organized by 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture in collaboration with the artistic organization DAN.C.CE UNITIVA and the largest European network for contemporary dance,Aerowaves. With more than 4,500 spectators and a full house at all the venues that hosted the festival’s rich programme, Spring Forward can be considered as a triumphant harbinger of the events of 2023, the ECoC’s title year. The event closed with a touching closing ceremony, in the presence of cultural representatives, politicians and high-ranking industry executives, at the open theater of the Old Olive Mill, with more than 2,000 spectators giving a standing ovation to the artists and participants of the Gran Bolero performance, by Spanish choreographer Jesús Rubio Gamo. At the climax of the performance, 2023 Eleusis volunteers and amateur dancers from Elefsina and wider local community took to the stage, inviting the audience to participate in the performance by singing and clapping.

Photo: Panagiotis Maidis

Shorty before Jesus Rubio Gamo’s 12 Spanish dancers took over the stage, the Mayor of Elefsina, Argyris Economou, took the floor, stressing that “today’s events are a precursor to the best moments that await Elefsina, as the 2023 European Capital of Culture,” and that “now the conditions allow us to achieve the extroversion that we desire, and make our city known, in Greece and abroad.” Subsequently, the Chair of the Board of Directors of 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture, Despoina Geroulanou, after congratulating the 2023 Eleusis team who “worked tirelessly and in unison under the leadership of Michail Marmarinos and Nana Spyropoulou, to achieve this small miracle in the city of Elefsina,” mentioned that “the dream of all those who envisioned Elefsina as the European Capital of Culture is finally becoming a reality. The city is changing its face to become a center of culture in Europe.” After thanking John Ashford for his 25 years or contribution to the art of dance, Spanish choreographer, Jesús Rubio Gamο, concluded by saying that dance and music have the power to save us from loneliness. Lastly, Froso Troussa, Artistic Director of DAN.C.CE UNITIVA, after thanking John Ashford for his unique contribution to dance, extended her wishes for a smooth continuation to the work of the European Capital of Culture.

Photo: John Stathis
Photo: Panagiotis Maidis

Immediately afterwards, the 12 dancers from Barcelona and Madrid took to the stage of the Old Olive Mill, along with the amateur dancers from Elefsina and the wider local community, giving the audience a unique artistic experience that they will not soon forget. The highlight of the event could not have been any other moment, other than the thunderous applause that the more than 2,000 standing spectators gave to the artists and contributors of the event.

Photo: Panagiotis Maidis
Photo: Panagiotis Maidis

Of particular importance was also the response of the public to the call of 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture, instead of charging an entrance fee for the events of Sping Forward, to support the work of the Children Support Center of Elefsis, an important organization that provides psychosocial support to children and families in Thriasio Pedio who face social exclusion.

Photo: John Stathis

The Spring Forward programme was presented in five different venues across Elefsina: Old Olive Mill, Eleourgiki, the 2nd & the 4th High Schools of Elefsina, and the Daskalaki Stadium, which were literally transformed into the most contemporary dance stages. 25 dance performances “transported” usto 16 countries: Japan, Taiwan and Korea, Belgium, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Holland, Italy, Lithuania, Switzerland, Spain, Greece, Armenia, Romania, and Hungary, transforming the city into a great meeting place that facilitated the exchange between local residents, visitors to the city, as well as the creators. Along with the dance groups based in Europe, partners from Asia who participated in the Aerowaves artistic exchange program, presented new and important works at this year’s Spring Forward, along with parallel activities, such as Dance Quality Writing, a skills development program for upcoming dance writers, the Upstart Forum, a public discussion-touring programming event, and Spingback Social with live artist interviews on Social Media, etc. 

Photo: Panagiotis Maidis

As part of Spring Forward, and in an emotionally charged atmosphere, in the presence of allhis close collaborators on stage, Aerowaves founder and Artistic Director for 25 years, John Ashford, passed the baton to his successors,Roberto Casarotto and Elisabetta Bisaro, who will now lead the organization into a new era.

Photo: Panagiotis Maidis

Spring Forward is a co-organization of the 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture, in collaboration with the artistic organization DAN.C.CE UNITIVA and the largest European network for contemporary dance, Aerowaves. The active members representing Aerowaves in Greece are Vicky Maragopoulou, Founder and former Artistic Director of Kalamata International Dance Festival as a Partner and Frosso Trousa, artistic director of DAN.C.CE UNITIVA and co-organizer of 2023 Eleusis as a representative.

Production execution: View Master Events.

Photo: John Stathis
Photo: Panagiotis Maidis
Photo: John Stathis