Zoe Papaeracleous

TRAVERSAL: SITE-SPECIFIC DANCE PERFORMANCE

What brings you to Lympia? In what way do you think that your performance can be integrated in a cypriot festival like Xarkis?

I was drawn to apply to be an artist-in-residence at Xarkis and come to Lympia because I have been looking for a way to connect my artistic practices with my cultural heritage. I desire to bridge the gap between myself as a working artist and my experiences growing up with a Greek-Cypriot influence. I hope to learn about what it is to create a piece within a Cypriot context. I would also say that working in a village like Lympia is appealing; most of my time as a child visiting Cyprus I would be at my Yiayia’s house in Agros, another village. I expect that memories of those times will be evoked during this period. I wish that both my personal experiences of Cyprus and my own unique flair be expressed through my piece and be integrated into Xarkis.

What are your expectations from your participation in this year’s festival?

I try not to have very specific “expectations” entering a new project because I think expectations can be limiting. However, I do hope to make connections with other Xarkis community members. I also aim to learn more communication and cooperation skills to work with others around me, especially those who have grown up in different cultures than my own. I yearn to move my body and inspire others to dance more and anywhere. I would like to eat some delicious Cypriot food and soak in the hot Cypriot sun!

Having a Greek Cypriot origin, and based on the experiences you gained growing up in Baltimore, how would you say that the sense of “community” in Cyprus and the USA is different?

When I come to Cyprus, my sense of community is centred around my relatives. My family members here are incredibly hospitable and generous, which communicates a feeling of unconditional love and support. The sense of community feels deep because I feel that in Cyprus family is very important. I cannot really speak about communities that are not centred around blood-relation in Cyprus, but I do look forward to being a part of the Xarkis community now! In the USA you can find the same sense of community as in Cyprus but I do think there is more diversity in how people define community. I will say that I think community forms when there is a feeling of shared identity between members. I think this can happen when you work at the same place, attend the same school, have the same interests, etc. But I do believe that certain identities yield stronger feelings of community than others. The strongest feelings of community in the USA have occurred for me when I am with family members, with other Greek-Americans, and with other dance artists. The way people express themselves within these various communities can be quite different, but I think that is what also makes communities interesting.