Director of Greek National Opera Ballet on his upcoming performances in Egypt

Eman Youssef, Sunday 2 Jun 2024

Before the Greek National Opera Ballet's two performances at the Cairo Opera House, the troupe's director Konstantinos Rigos talks about his work and inspirations.


The Greek National Opera Ballet will perform at the Cairo Opera House on 6 and 7 June, with the modern dance accompanied by the fusion of Greek classical and folkloric music.

On 6 June the troupe will perform the Dance With My Own Shadow, a piece that, premiered in the Stavros Niarchos Hall in 2019 to the music by Manos Hadjidakis and choreography by Rigos. 

On 7 June the ballet company will present Return of the Summer, which is the modern dance diptych consisting of Point of No Return choreographed by Ioannis Mandafounis to the music by Giorgos Koumendakis and Rigos, and Les Nuits d’Eté, with Rigos's choreography to Hector Berlioz's music.  

Ahram Online: What inspired you to present the Greek National Opera Ballet in Egypt? 

Konstantinos Rigos: Egypt and Greece have unique historical and cultural ties that continue to be reflected in numerous cooperations.

The Greek National Opera ballet has a history of performing at the Cairo Opera House. We first came to Egypt in 1999 with La Bayadere and then in 2000 with Zorba. 

In 2001, my choreography for Sleeping Beauty was presented at this beautiful opera by the dance theatre of Northern Greece. 

The upcoming Dance With My Shadow performance, choreographed by me, seems like a perfect opportunity to present dance with a completely different style, allowing the audience to see the possibilities of the Greek National Ballet. 

AO: How would you describe your style in choreography? 

KR: My style is based on fusion. It contains elements of neoclassical, contemporary, and sometimes traditional Greek dancing. The first performance on 6 June features strong elements of folk dances combined with classical lines and movements that create a unique physiognomy.

AO: There are a lot of emotions in your choreography...

KR: It is all within the beauty of dance, the dialogue between Greek and French composers, and the different atmospheres and strong personalities of each. This is what the choreography conveys. 

Through the dramaturgy, the style, the atmosphere, and the story I want to tell in each performance, I try to show the dancers their potential. They dance with their souls.

Each step alone may not mean anything but the whole choreographical sequence can create real magic.

At the same time, my priority is to create a unique atmosphere for the audience through the set, costumes, lights, video projections, and sound environments.

AO: As director of the Greek National Opera Ballet, what challenges do you face?

KR: The challenge is to create works that the company loves to perform by dancing, to find different paths of interest in movement, and to find new ways of expression for the dancers. 

But among those challenges is also our need to collaborate with world-renowned choreographers in several spaces - small and large, indoors and outdoors.

We continue experimenting with the limits of movement and dramaturgy while opening the dialogue between classical ballet and modern dance.

AO: How do you see the role of ballet art in promoting cultural exchange internationally?

KR: Extroversion is perhaps the most important way for cultures to meet and dance. The art of the senses helps in this communication. We are happy we have the support of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to help us promote our cultural identity abroad.

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