“From Darkness to Light” at the Temple of Apollo Epicurius

The attendees at the performance, communing with nature. Photo: ANA-MPA

ATHENS – An exciting encounter between history and nature took place at the “Parthenon of the Peloponnese: the Temple of Apollo Epicurius on July 28-29. Over 800 people, both Greeks and foreigners, gathered at the 1,000 square meter archaeological site for the overnight, interactive performance, entitled “From Darkness to Light,” by the internationally distinguished choreographer Apostolia Papadamakis.

The Sleep & Dream Performance Series garnered popular and critical acclaim with presentations at the Borre Museum in 2014, at the Central Stage of the Onassis Foundation Building in 2016, and at the Municipal Theater of Piraeus in 2017. The group travelled for the first time to the Temple of Apollo Epicurius, in the ancient town of Figaleia on the border between Arcadia, Ilia, and Messinia, at an altitude of 1,130 meters.

Dedicated to the unknown and countless possibilities of the human body, the artistic project “From Darkness to Light” was a dream-like experience using the work of architect Iktinou in the area surrounding the emblematic temple. The 40 overnight visitors were asked to write their dreams anonymously when entering the show. Shortly after 11 PM, when the rest of the audience with free admission left, the overnighters placed their sleeping bags in the “dream space.”

Throughout the night, Papadamakis narrated the dreams of those who stayed overnight in the Temple. The award-winning composer Tryfon Koutsourelis collaborated with the choreographer to create a 14-hour musical piece that complemented the performance. For the composition of that piece, they used data from the architecture of the temple, which was converted to sound through the use of the data sonification method.

Papadamakis guided the audience to the land of dreams, seeking the light of Apollo. With inventiveness and creativity, she managed to connect the dancers with the audience, under the light of the full moon and the sunrise.

The all-night show attempted to connect man to darkness, light, sleep, dreams, and imagination, all through dance and music. The gifted choreographer drew inspiration from the rituals of the ancient Greeks and from the beauty, power, and harmony that the temple displayed.

The performance was funded by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and was carried out with the generous support of the Greek Tourism Organization and the Region of Western Greece in collaboration with the Antiquities Authority of Ilia and the municipality of Andritsainas-Krestenas.

On Sunday morning, July 29, during the closing of the show, a traditional Greek breakfast was served to the overnight audience, and the representatives of the agencies who assisted in the creation of it, gave a brief greeting.

The Minister of Culture and Sports, Lydia Koniordou, noted that “the process described by the show, our ascension from darkness to light, is the goal of every artistic creation. However, we are removed from the difficult days we all have to endure. Through the darkness of destruction, loss, and fire, we come to light through generous help, fellowship, and selflessness. As long as there are people around us who can help us through the darkness, we are entitled to hope.”

The general secretary of the Greek Tourism Organization, Konstantinos Tsegas, noted that “the Ministry of Tourism and the Greek Tourism Organization always support such valuable initiatives that highlight new places as ideal cultural and historical destinations.”

Head of the Antiquities of Ilia Committee, Dr. Erofili-Iris Koly, talked about the history and the significance of the temple, “Built in the high mountains of western Arcadia, in Vasses, at an altitude of 1,131 meters, by the inhabitants of the ancient Arcadian city of Figaleias, the Temple of Apollo Epicurius holds a distinct place among the other monuments created by the ancient Greeks.

The beautiful “Parthenon of the Peloponnese,” Iktino’s work (420-400 BC) according to Pausanias, is one of the best surviving examples of classical architecture, with conservative yet pioneering special features. This must also be the reason why the Temple of Apollo Epicurius is one of the most protected ancient monuments of Greece in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Giorgos Georgiopoulos, Deputy Regional Governor of Western Greece, and Deputy Mayor of Andritsainas-Krestenas Miltiadis Georgakopoulos also attended the event.

Material from the ANA-MPA was used un this report.

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