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Christina Savopoulos | March 27, 2022

A week ago I was introduced to the world of Infinite Affection | Άπειρη Στοργή, a Greek dance performance, by way of an interview with lead artist Luke Macaronas. The work was devised with Melbourne-based Greek dancer, Christos Konstantinides, and is performed with Omados musicians. The work includes the involvement of past and current UniMelb students and is supported by the University of Melbourne’s Theatre Board. The production team did an impeccable job of creating and presenting this thought-provoking piece of theatre. Hearing Luke speak about the work in his interview only further sparked my interest to experience the performance live, and it exceeded my expectations from the first minute. Despite the performance I attended being one of their final shows, the energy levels never wavered; every movement was without fault.  

As the audience entered the hall and took their seats, it was clear that the performance had already begun as Macaronas lay on the ground, cradled with his knees to his chest as if in a womb. Konstantinides sat on a chair on the opposite end of the stage, immobile, staring at Macaronas’ figure on the floor. Soon after the audience was seated, the musicians began playing and the performance officially commenced. Macaronas began to writhe on the floor, struggling for control of his own body. It was hard to tear my eyes away from the delicate yet violent movements Macaronas employed so precisely to display this internal struggle.  

Konstantinides proceeded to dance with Macaronas, teaching him the way of Greek folk styles. Before long, the visceral body control of both dancers was clear and repetitive movements on Macaronas’ part highlighted the generational elements they wished to incorporate—the young learning from previous generations, and vice versa. This general struggle was also evident through the positioning of the dancers. At many times they were physically and abruptly separated immediately after moments of collaboration and closeness. At some point in our lives we’ll all attempt to bridge generational gaps in language, culture and knowledge; an idea Macaronas and Konstantinides bring beautifully to light through dance. It is wonderful to witness two incredibly talented dancers at work, especially considering that the performance requires much attention and discipline. 

The lighting design by John Collopy was so dynamic, it could have been a third dancer on stage. It changed with Macaronas and Konstantinides’ movements, reflecting their thematic journeys. Lights surrounded the perimeter of the dance space. As the dancers moved, their shadows were artfully cast on the white walls and ceiling. Although Macaronas and Konstantinides were the only dancers on stage, their shadows filled the room, making it feel as if ten dancers were in the space. Their shadows towered over the audience and made the experience all-enveloping. At one moment, the absence of light submerged Macaronas and Konstantinides in darkness, morphing the performance space into something haunting.

The music featured was taken from Epirus, Macedonia, and Chameria, and contributed to Infinite Affection’s historical appreciation. In a note from the artist, Luke Macaronas, featured in the program, he speaks of searching for an artistic community currently decaying—a community where dance, music and theatre are taught at a generational level. Their incorporation of the Tsamiko in their performance acknowledges the history behind the dance, which was created by guerrilla soldiers who fought against the Ottoman occupation in the 19th century. The musicians present at the performance—Joseph Tsombanopoulos, Katerina Stevens, and George Athanasakos—are clearly experts in their field, perfectly capturing the musical styles and inclinations born in these regions of Greece. It is through this continuation of music and dance, especially in folk styles, that we can adapt and preserve parts of history for new creative ventures. 

As the performance reached its conclusion, Macaronas and Konstantinides invited audience members to join them on stage for a collective Greek dance. Everyone eagerly participated in spite of their familiarity with the steps—a beautiful ending to a thrilling performance. In my conversation with Luke, he mentioned wanting audience members to feel in touch with their bodies after viewing Infinite Affection—to consider “how they use their bod[ies]”. Allowing the audience to interact with the performance first-hand encourages this intended connection to one’s body and their identity. I’m always inspired after watching any sort of performance, and Infinite Affection was no exception. One of my passing thoughts while viewing was ‘I need to Greek dance more!’, so I was grateful for this post-show audience connection. Growing up, I always participated in Greek dance at Greek school but I don’t think I fully registered the significance of these dance styles and their connection to land. It’s an aspect of Greek culture that’s especially rich and deserves the attention Macaronas and Konstantinides are giving it today.

Whatever project the artists and production team behind Infinite Affection choose to invest in next—whether as a collective or solo artists—will surely be just as evocatively and emotively presented, and heartfelt as their current production.

Infinite Affection is currently showing in South Yarra, with its final show tomorrow afternoon March 27 at  4pm. Purchase your tickets here.

Photo Credit: Sodi Murphy-Shrives 

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Christina Savopoulos

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