achronic fracture – performance project with and for mature adults 65+

Polena Kolia (GR/DK)

20.07 – 27.07 

For information and registrations email to: [email protected]

The project achronic fractures (title in progress) takes its offset in the anatomical, biological and psychosocial transformations of the maturing body, in order to tangibly explore the notions of fracture and of resilience, of bodily change, of empathy, of care and the stunning ability of the body to transform and embody the impacts of time, to stay alive and inspire its continuation. What does the maturing of the body teach us about loss, recomposition, the whisper of οur timeless need to coexist?

Τhe piece achronic fractures continues the collaboration between the contemporary dance festival Dance Days Chania and creator and dancer, Polena Kolia Petersen, on community dance activities and dance with and for mature adults 65+. With a need to facilitate participatory projects of longer duration for the visibility and strengthening of the accessibility of the 65+ communities to movement workshops and creative processes, this project proposes a series of movement workshops and the creation of a final dance performance to be presented at the upcoming Dance Days Chania Festival in the summer of 2024.

Aiming at offering opportunities to the local community of mature adults in Chania and the kinetic enactment of their creativity and participation, the project proposes an action model with a double function:

– movement workshops: on one hand participants get to acquire knowledges and experientially explore the anatomy of the maturing body through touch, breathwork and movement (bones, muscles, fascia, ligaments, mental capacities in relation to the function of organs and bodily systems). Meanwhile, we map tools with which each body unfolds its mobility and expressive capacities. Two fundamental questions support the unfolding of the workshop: How do I listen to my body and its movement in the now, as if I was sensing it for the first time, like a blank canvas? How do I let go into movement, in order to listen to my anatomical body and unlock the archive of my embodied memory and expressivity? The aim is to nourish the awareness and sensing of the movement beyond pain and restriction, and on that ground support the personal acceptance and movement choices of the mature body, eventually reviving the daring and expressive confidence in the now.

– choreographic composition: furthermore we will be applying those explorations and tools into a choreographic research for the creation of a new dance performance. The anatomical explorations of movement and breath will lead to the creation of movement material circling around the topics of time, sensation, breath, restriction, giving in, silence, bodily memory, mental and physical endurance. The creative interaction of the group will be enriched by the sharing of autobiographical experiences around the experiences of change, decay, loss, acceptance and the ability of the body to insist and share to ensure the continuation of life. We dive into issues of performance and mobilize creativity amplifying the diverse and specific abilities of mature bodies to express on stage and immerse the audience into a scenic world, where the body communicates through the honesty of its movement motivated by its empathic ability towards self and others. The final performance will be activating the participation of the audience in the experience beyond a passive reception.

The participants may choose to take part only in the movement workshops or/and in the choreographic composition for the creation of the final performance. The project aims to offer a variety of inclusion and participation options, but also to create a community of creative exchange, where the participants can feed back to each other: those who take part in the movement workshops can act as an external eye in some rehearsals, supporting with their feedback, and those participating in the choreographic process as well informed by their interactions with their co-dancers in the workshops.

The project approaches the biological changes and the vulnerability of the body as a source of strength and empowerment of our psychosocial webs of care and mutual support, in order to reverse the equation between degeneration and exclusion of the maturing body. Instead the project ascribes a transformational power to our ability to accept the passing of time, to listen to the changes of our bodies and to treat them as new invitations with a deeper existential offset. Because the mature body reminds us not only of the fact that the human is fascinatingly resilient and insistent on living, but also that this insistence is a scream about the importance of our social bonds and coexistence, in order for the cycles of life to carry on. The project keeps drawing on the thread of the deeply humane and sensitive work in the collaboration between Dance Days Chania Festival and Polena in dance with and for mature adults, that unravels on the narrative pillars of the personal stories of the participants. This time, however, the project finds a kinetic offset, in order for the body to move the stories it has stored in its bones, muscles, mind, emotions.

Polena Kolia Petersen is a Greek-Danish performer, craetor and facilitator of dance. She was born and raised on the island of Leros, and has lived and worked in Denmark, Sweden, the UK and Greece. She is now based in Athens. She has amongst others collaborated with Romeo Castellucci – Societas (IT), Amorphy dance co. / Tzeni Argiriou (GR), Norrdans (SWE), Persa Stamatopoulou Dance Co. (GR), Sofia Kouloukouri (SW/GR) – MIRfestival, Neopost Foofwa (SW). Her works have been presented amongst others at Dance Days Chania Festival, Open House Fest – Dance House Lemesos, Flux Laboratory Athens, Ticino in Danza and funded twice by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports (2021 & 2022). She revolves her physical practice around Open Training / MB, the physical component of Japanese Butoh dancer Min Tanaka’s Body Weather approach, which she got acquainted with by working with Kitt Johnson/X-act and which has been a crucial encounter for developing her personal physical research and ecological approach to body and place in the performing arts. She embraces the living body in her work through all its expressive fabrics – its movement, its voice, its senses, its memory, its language and its poetic emancipatory potential, its imagination and its ability to interact and relate to other human and non-human bodies. Having roots in two cultures, two mother tongues and many displacements, having grown up on “the island of the mental institution” and of the Greek psychiatric reformation and finding her own identity in a non-place and a questioning about what comprises the personal lived experience and the collective memory, the normal and the non-normative, the exploration of memory, of experiential anatomy, place and imagination stand centrally in her practice. As a creator her work moves within the realm of expanded choreography with a focus on socially engaged, participatory and embodied democratic dance practices. She applies human- and site-specific approaches in my creative methodology and pursues social and/or physical participation of various audiences in the research, creation, performance and/or legacy of the work. Finally, her artistic and physical research address sustainable frameworks of practicing and creating contemporary dance, while building durable bonds with and for local communities and ecologies. She has received the Mary Zemke Memorial Fund Prize (Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, 2017-2018) for her ability to bring people together and build community through her dance practice. In 2023 she was selected as a member of the european artistic network Biennale des Jeunes Créateurs de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée – DE.a.RE Gathering Spells.

For information and registrations email to: [email protected]

20 – 27 July

Polena Kolia | achronic fracture – performance project with and for mature adults 65+

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