Eleni – Train Cemetery

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Une Étude de Ballet

The forces of inquiry and experimentation, or mere curiosity, led us to our latest photoshoot. The photographs you are about to see are to be viewed as our photographic take on a study of ballet; this should help explain our second header in French! Using the unofficial trains’ cemetery of Thessaloniki as our set, we were given the chance to use a very harsh environment (one that, thankfully, only philosophically resembles an ordinary ballet class) to experiment and learn on one of the most classical styles of dancing. Needless to say, we were very lucky to have Eleni with us in this very educational endeavor.

Eleni, who was born in Piraeus, moved to Thessaloniki with her parents when she was only 7. She has trained and competed in Rhythmic Gymnastics for 8 years, during which time she won many distinctions in national championships. In her teens she also joined her school’s dance group and was given the chance to travel abroad to compete in school festivals. After graduating, and for the following 3 years until today, she has been practicing ballet in the Higher Professional Dance School of Thessaloniki. She loves ballet and contemporary dance and in her limited free time she is also teaching Rhythmic Gymnastics to children.

For this photoshoot, Eleni was primed listening to an audio version of the classic fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. We then asked her to perform interacting with her surroundings and attuning her creativity to that short story. In but a few minutes, after a very meticulous warm-up, Eleni started what could otherwise be described as three consecutive classes of ballet… Completely tattered and torn, it was not until the photoshoot was over that Eleni stopped to take a breath and unwind. The bad terrain and the span of this photoshoot utterly destroyed her pointe shoes (custom-made by her for the photoshoot) and left her unable to walk for a few minutes.

Eleni was a delight to work with. We could hardly believe the fortitude and willpower of an otherwise seemingly very quiet and reserved individual. From what she explained, ballet is definitely not what most people think of it to be. It is practiced in a very unforgiving environment aiming to train dancers both physically and mentally. We were very lucky that through our own experimentation with ballet Eleni was there to portray what this kind of training can accomplish.

We would once again like to thank Katerina Kolliopoulou for tending to our dancer’s aesthetic needs.

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