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Athina Valha

Background

Athina Valha ~ Co Director Performance + Choreographer

Athina Vahla is an independent artist and teacher and is currently based in Graham's Town South Africa. Originally from Greece, she came to London in 1991, having won the Greek National Choreographic Award. She graduated from the State School of Dance in Athens and was awarded the Onassis scholarship, to further her studies at Laban in London. She received the Bonnie Bird Choreography Award 1994. Athina has worked extensively as a choreographer, animateur and teacher and produced a steady stream of critically acclaimed work. In 2000 she awarded an MA of Arts from Middlesex University.

Since 2001, Athina has concentrated on large scale, site-specific pieces including House of Kurtz, a promenade event for the Master Shipwright’s House in Deptford and Wrestling An Angel which was performed in two sites - the Old Operating Theatre at St Thomas’s Hospital in Borough and a deserted abbatoir in Clerkenwell.

She was commissioned to produce a large-scale performance installation Spaces Between for the re-opening of the Royal Festival Hall, London in June 2007 and a dance response for the Listening Post a large media installation at the Science Museum where she was resident artist for six months from May 2008. In 2009, she proceeded to begin her Arenas Project, and in 2009-2010, she created work out of an eight-week residency for the Infecting the City Festival in Cape Town.

In July 2010, she created Knots, a site-specific piece in the sea, for the Summer Festival in Limassol and her Splinter in the Flesh was further developed by the Hellenic Company in Athens and premiered at the Athens Concert Hall in November 2011 In October 2010 In Preparation was performed at the IADMS Conference in Birmingham, followed by a request from IADMS for the experimental piece to be developed for their conference in Washington DC in autumn 2011. In February 2011 she returned to Cape Town for the Infecting the City Festival and created Strand, a durational performance on the Forecourt Station, based on colonial historical and contemporary contexts. In April 2011 she created Playing Dirty-Women’s Soccer a site specific experiment as part of the Synthetic Dirt Symposium of the Fine Arts Department at Rhodes University, South Africa. In July 2011 she choreographed Wreckage, a choreographic commission for the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in South Africa.

Athina is currently a senior lecturer at the Drama department at Rhodes University in South Africa. Inspired by the dramatic power and substance of her choreography Rachel recently commissioned Athina to co - create the performance element of Unlimited Global Alchemy, were visual drama and choreography will be fused together to bring another layer of substance to this commission. She is also working on Equilibrium Point, a live performance and digital arts project based on game theory and telematics to be presented in Europe in 2013.

At present, Athina commutes between England, Europe and South Africa teaching choreography and creating projects within various collaborative frameworks.

Athina’s work has a strong visual identity, is often site-specific, epic in scale, and aspires to create living environments for the audience to inhabit and explore. She has an interdisciplinary approach and works with a range of collaborators, resulting in multi-media pieces that are rich in symbolism and visual imagery. She is fascinated with the body and its physical limits, the manipulation of gesture and spatial design. She works with a range of professional collaborators as well as children, older people, martial artists, disabled performers and non-professionals.

Athina has been artist in residence at Greenwich Dance Agency   www.greenwichdance.org.uk and an Artsadmin Associate Artist  www.artsadmin.co.uk