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Q&A: We catch up with Greek dancer Vasiliki Stasinaki

By Simon Fallaha

The 28-year-old Greek dancer is joining up with local company Maiden Voyage Dance this weekend for their latest work, Quartet For 15 Chairs, at Belfast's MAC.

Q: Tell us a bit more about what we can expect from Quartet For 15 Chairs

A: Well, the choreographer, Enrique Cabrera, does much of his work with props. He also has a series of images in his head, and they come alive in tandem with the objects and dancers as part of the action, because everything has its own character. During the rehearsal period, we played a lot with newspapers and chairs; they were the protagonists and we were the puppeteers.

Q: What do you enjoy most about performing this work?

A: What I really like is that, unlike most children's pieces, there isn't a fixed narrative. Enrique's focus is less linear. He cares about producing beautiful and situational imagery that both young and old can enjoy. He also creates atmosphere with the music (by Northern Ireland composer Brian Irvine). There's a real element of playfulness between the objects, the performers and the audience.

When you lose yourself in this work you see it through a child's eyes. It becomes a voyage of discovery for you.

Q: What messages do you hope the audience will take from the piece?

A: How enjoyable dance can be. The work is so rich in movement, melodies and imagery that people can put their own unique stamp on it. It evokes feeling through varying interpretations from people of all ages. Children will relate to the playful point of view, and adults can enjoy the humour and rhythm in the piece as well as admiring the technical skill and poise.

Q: How does it compare with Liz Roche's work Neither Either, which you performed with Maiden Voyage at last year's Belfast Festival?

A: Both require a high level of skill, but they're entirely different works. With Enrique, your object is your partner. With Liz, it was a very internal process, in line with music and Seamus Heaney's poetry.

Q: Are you worried about what the threat of cuts to funding for the arts will mean for companies like Maiden Voyage?

A: It's a really sad situation, because the arts are so important to our society. We couldn't have done this work without money from the Arts Council and Belfast City Council. With their backing we enjoyed success with this piece last year, and we'll be taking it to London later this month. So the cuts are completely destructive for everyone. You can't have high quality art without the right money. They also affect education; we forget, sometimes, how important art is to the qualities of young people.

Q: And finally, tell us a little about your life outside dance ...

A: I was born in Athens, but am currently based in London, where I'm studying a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design. It's a way of continuing to share my passion about the arts with everyone. Art has so many disciplines, but the thought processes in each can influence one another.

My partner's a classical pianist, so he shares my love for all things arty, though he's still trying to get his head around contemporary dance.

  • Quartet for 15 Chairs is at the MAC, Belfast, tomorrow and Sunday. For further details, visit www.themaclive.com

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