Recently I have been helping Echodrama, a contemporary dance company in Athens, Greece, develop the contacts they will need here in the U.S. to plan a tour to the States. I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring the group's co-director out to Seattle in September of 2014 for the Western Arts Alliance booking conference and have since continued helping them network with the presenters and agents we met there. To learn more about our adventure, check out our blog.
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EXPLORING THE LESSONS OF THE PAST - TO CHANGE THE FUTURE.Echodrama is a contemporary dance company based out of Athens, Greece. They depict modern challenges in light of Ancient Greek mythology, allegory and culture.
Echodrama productions engage audiences at so many levels... explorations of philosophical ideas, educational components emphasizing Greek history, culture and mythology, stunning visuals that seamlessly blend dancers with the environment, and an always engaging, sometimes jarring, soundtrack that underscores the beauty, conflict, tension, redemption and universality that permeates each work.
Yannis Pisimisis - Co-Director and ComposerSevi Dimitriadou - Co-Director and ChoreographerDaniela Pisimisi - Choreographer and DancerPhaedra Pisimisi - Choreographer and Dancer
Things to know about Echodrama Cultural Group:
• They use Greek literature and mythology to reflect modern culture.
• Their core group of dancers have been with them since 2001.
• Each show has an educational component and can be presented to school groups as young as 3rd grade.
• All of their productions have used original music composed for the ensemble, and most of the productions have featured live musicians onstage with the dancers.
U.S. Tour, Phase One - Laying the Groundwork
Our first step in bringing this amazing company of artists to the United States on tour began in September of 2014.
We raised funds through Kickstarter to bring composer Yannis Pisimisis, Echodrama's Co-Director, to Seattle, Washington to represent his company at the Western Arts Alliance booking conference on September 2-5, 2014. I joined him as well to coordinate contacts and help promote the group. Yannis then flew to Los Angeles for two and a half weeks following the conference to follow up on leads, connect with members of the Greek community and investigate artist residencies in Southern California.
Thank you to all of our backers for supporting this first phase of this project.
U.S. Tour, Phase Two - Echodrama in the U.S.
This is an incredible opportunity for these young dancers and choreographers to be exposed on a world stage... and an equally great opportunity for cultural exchange. Greece is going through arguably one of its most challenging times in modern history. The success of this company, given the crippling financial situations of Greek audiences, venues and producers, is a testament to the quality of Echodrama's productions and the energy and tenacity of its artistic team.
$633K E.U. Grant
In 2013, Echodrama received a grant from the European Union - an unprecedented 464,800 euros (approximately $633, ooo) - to produce two evening-length productions. The grant covered most expenses including salaries for dancers, designers and production staff, rental of facilities and equipment both on the mainland and on the islands, radio and TV advertising, and marketing materials. The grant allowed presenters throughout Greece to offer free cultural performances to locals and tourists during the height of Greece's economic crisis.
The grant did NOT, however, allow for Echodrama as an organization to take any salary or fees at all. This means that the founders (Yannis Pisimisis and Sevi Dimitriadou) were unpaid for their two years of preparation and work, and that neither the choreographers (their daughters Daniela Pisimisi and Phaedra Pisimisi) nor Yannis as composer could take any money from the grant for their contributions to the project.
WorkshopsAs part of the E.U. grant, Echodrama also organized seven incredibly successful workshops, bringing choreographers from Europe, the UK and South America to Greece.
Skiathos Cultural Center
From 2007 to 2011, Echodrama developed an extensive proposal for a new cultural center on the Greek island of Skiathos for a Ministry of Development grant in the amount of 16 million euros. With Sevi and Yannis' background in architecture and in city planning, they set to work on an ambitious facility which was to include a large amphitheater, a multi-use performance/exhibition space, retail space for up to sixteen stores, and housing which would be used for visiting artists and companies. As the proposal neared completion, the Greek crisis spiraled and the Ministry withdrew all funds and cancelled the project. They are hoping that, as conditions improve, the Ministry will again begin funding larger cultural projects.