The guardian of a dark, flooded universe tries to maintain order. It is a fragile balancing act only he can perform. The intrusion of a visitor from the bowels of the earth disrupts his solitary existence, introducing tenderness and torment, to the point of cruelty.
In a duet that soon escalates into a duel, Dimitris Papaioannou, accompanied by the fascinating dancer Šuka Horn, probes the limits of reality through the filters of science fiction and horror. The result is a gripping chase, a nightmarish manhunt... unless it is us trying to escape our own subconscious?
Born in Athens in 1964, Dimitris Papaioannou gained early recognition as a painter and comics artist, before his focus shifted to the performing arts as director, choreographer, performer, and designer of sets, costumes, make-up, and lighting.
He was a student of iconic Greek painter Yannis Tsarouchis before studying at the Athens School of Fine Arts.
He formed Edafos Dance Theatre in 1986 as an initial vehicle for his original stage productions, hybrids of physical theatre, experimental dance, and performance art.
Originating in the underground scene, the company challenged perceptions and gained an expanding number of dedicated followers. MEDEA (1993) marked the company’s transition to big theatres and is considered its iconic work. The Edafos company’s existence spanned 17 years to 2002, and has left its indelible mark on Greece’s arts scene.
Papaioannou became widely known in 2004 as the creator of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games.
Restarting in 2006, with his production ‘2’, he found himself in the odd position of creating avant-garde works in major theatres in Athens that enjoyed record-breaking long runs, with over 100.000 tickets sold.
In 2009, he began using this platform to create theatrical experiments on a large scale: NOWHERE (2009) for the inauguration of the renovated Greek National Theatre and INSIDE (2011) for the Pallas Theater.
In 2012, stripping down his work to bare essentials, he created PRIMAL MATTER for the Athens Festival, which brought him back to the stage after a ten-year absence.
On the same quest for simplicity, he created STILL LIFE (2014), the first work that toured extensively in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia.
In 2015, he created the Opening Ceremony for the Baku 2015 First European Games.
Papaioannou’s 25 productions range from mass spectacles with thousands of performers to intimate pieces, and have appeared at a wide variety of venues, from his famous underground squat theater in Athens, to the ancient theatre in Epidaurus, and from Olympic stadiums to Théâtre de la Ville – Paris and Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza.
In 2017, he created THE GREAT TAMER, his first international co-commissioned work with ten co-producers, including the Festival d’Avignon. THE GREAT TAMER toured for two and a half years across 4 continents, in 23 countries and 38 cities. It was presented a total of 112 times to over 90.000 spectators. The work was bestowed the special award Europe Theatre Prize in Rome in 2017, and Papaioannou was nominated in 2019 for the Olivier award for “outstanding achievement in dance”.
In 2018, Dimitris became the first artist to create a new, full-length work for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. It premiered in May 2018 in Wuppertal (Germany) and was subsequently presented in Amsterdam, London, Athens, Paris, and Catanzaro.
In September 2020, he premiered INK, a duet performed by Šuka Horn and Dimitris Papaioannou at the Torinodanza Festival.
His latest work TRANSVERSE ORIENTATION premiered in June 2021 and is scheduled to be presented in more than 30 cities around the world. The production was nominated as ‘Best New Dance Production’ for the Oliver Award in 2022 in London.