Sunday, 13 November 2016 18:42

Thought-provoking dance work explores faith

Milena Ugren Koulas with dancer Eleni O’Keefe Milena Ugren Koulas with dancer Eleni O’Keefe

The Elephant, a thought-provoking yet entertaining dance work, will be performed at Limassol’s Rialto Theatre on November 6 and at the Pallas Theatre in Nicosia the night before, exploring illusions, beliefs and blind faith.

The inspiration for the piece comes from a Hindu tale of blind men encountering an elephant – which they become convinced is God.
The performance was choreographed by Limassol-based Milena Ugren Koulas, a graduate of Rotterdam’s Codarts Academy.

She has presented award-winning pieces around Europe, along with her husband, musician George Koulas – both well-known in the Cyprus dance and music scene.

The choreographer and dancer came across the story during her ongoing search for understanding the many ways in which religion influences us – our daily lives, our interaction with others, our families…

“Religion is around us all the time in some form,” says the artist.

“The play explores these different forms and, just like in life, there are happy parts, tragicomedy, melancholy… the play, like life, goes through stages.”

Milena Ugren Koulas will be dancing with dancer Eleni O’Keefe. O’Keefe, who studied at the English National Ballet School and the London Contemporary School of Dance, is a member of the Cyprus Diastasi Dance Ensemble and teaches ballet and modern dance.

She is also a longstanding friend and dance partner of Ugren Koulas which, she says, makes their collaboration even more fun and rewarding.

“We enjoy working together; I watch, we improvise, and eventually I get into Milena’s vocabulary,” O’Keefe explains.

The performance’s music was added last, to then grow into an integral part, reflecting the struggles, joys and confusion that come with the various aspects of religion.

Rhythmic and catchy, it includes percussion, traditional and futuristic sounds, played by George Koulas, percussionist Rodos Panayiotou and London-based film and television composer Marios Takoushis.

According to Ugren Koulas, the piece has abstract as well as narrative elements, and the audience will be able to follow the actual story and enjoy the journey, along with the creative quintet.

“We look forward to bringing dance to the people and thus bringing them closer to art,” she concludes.

The performances are part of the Terpsichori Programme of the Ministry of Education and Culture and entrance is free. Details can be found via the Facebook page, The Elephant, and the website

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of November 4th 2016.

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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