“Dimitris Papaioannou’s The Great Tamer [is] a piece of theatre that grabs the attention and largely doesn’t let go. It’s part dream, part nightmare, part riddle, with a lot of room left for the audience to make their own associations and meaning; somehow, that just adds to the mystery and allure.” —Seeing Dance
Dimitris Papaioannou gained early recognition as a painter and comics artist, before his focus shifted to the performing arts as a director, choreographer, performer and a designer of sets, costumes, makeup and lighting. He formed Edafos Dance Theatre in 1986 as a vehicle for his original stage productions, hybrids of physical theater, experimental dance and performance art.
Originating in the underground scene, the company challenged perceptions and gained an expanding number of dedicated followers. Papaioannou became widely known internationally as the creator of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
His latest work, The Great Tamer, is a visually stunning and surreal pageant that grapples with the meaning of life, the mystery of death, time, destruction and reconstruction against the occasional strains of a slowed down version of Strauss’ “The Blue Danube.” Often referencing famous sculpture and paintings, including Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, Michelangelo’s David and, most overtly, Anatomy Lesson by Rembrandt, Papaionnou uses the human body to create vignettes that are at once macabre and beautiful, brimming at times with humor, horror, circus-like stunts and optical illusions. He also freely and unapologetically utilizes nudity to add wit and absurdity to such sober material in a way that is both inventive and surprising.
DISCLAIMER: This performance contains nudity and is recommended for adults 18+.
Funds provided by Deborah Irmas, Diane Levine, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation multi-year grant for Collaborative Intersections in the Visual and Performing Arts.
Photo Credit: Julian Mommert