Interview: Marie Kassapian
Luca Curci talks with Marie Kassapian during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2019 at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi.
Born and raised in Athens, Marie Kassapian started dancing (ballet) at the age of 4. Until the age of 16 she was an athlete of synchronized swimming and also member of the Greek national team. She holds a bachelor in Statistics from the Athens University of Economics and Business and a master in Biostatistics from the University of Hasselt in Belgium. In 2015, she graduated from the “AKTINA” professional dance school in Athens. Since then, she has followed many workshops with various choreographers, such as David Zambrano, Sita Ostheimer, Maya Carroll, Boris Charmatz, Milan Tomášik, Peter Jasko, Johannes Wieland, Jenny Ocampo, Sigal Zouk, Linda Kapetanea, Jozef Fruček, Judith Sánchez Ruíz, German Jauregui, Tom Weinberger, Rainer Behr, etc. As a dancer she has collaborated with Inge Delee (Belgium) and has participated in the Athens Video Dance Project (AVDP) in 2015, as well as at the Greek Choreographers Festival with the dance company Saltator in 2016. In the same year, she attended the Deltebre Dance Festival Spain. In June 2017, she participated in the theatrical performance “Easter Island” of director Lyssandros Spetsieris. In January 2018, she performed her solo “The Frail Fragment” as a sitespecific performance at the AVDP Promenade. In the same year she moved to Berlin, where she participated in different projects. In July 2019 she performed the piece “Îakaré” choreographed by Sita Ostheimer in B12 festival. Since November 2019, Marie is based both in Berlin and Athens. She is currently collaborating with the Finish choreographer Katja-Maria Taavitsainen on a new dance piece, for which they have completed her first residency in Bangalore (India). She works as a freelance teacher of release technique. Her interests also include painting, swimming, climbing, crafts as well as active engagement with gender theory issues.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Marie Kassapian – I am a contemporary dancer with professional studies in dance. My work is not influenced just from a single experience; I can get inspired and influenced from an action, a conversation is a friend, a small gesture, a social matter. What I always try to have in mind, though, is “what makes me want to move?”
LC – What are you currently working on?
MK – I am currently working on a new piece along with 2 beautiful dancers, that is focusing on the perception that a person inside or outside the dance field has for the way that contemporary dance is performed. The performance was presented as a work-in-progress this January as part of the Athens Video Dance Project festival.
LC – Are your performances focused on a specific theme?
MK – It always depends… Sometimes I am inspired from a topic that I read, watched, heard and some others I am inspired by the needs I have for a specific way of moving. Still, in both cases, movement is essential for the piece.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your performances?
MK – To create a piece that will the viewer interested from the beginning until the end. There have been times, where I did not enjoy a performance that I watched and I don’t want the people who come to watch my pieces or the pieces I participate in to have the same feeling.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
MK – To me, the artist’s role is crucial. Through their art, whichever artistic field we are talking about, the artist has the power of moving people’s thoughts and ideas from what they will present. I cannot accept that an artist can be detached from the society and its problems. And of course, based on our history, art has always managed to evolve most during periods of difficult and serious political and social changes.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
MK – It is very interesting! Always the topics of the festival are very interesting, while the accompanying explanation of the selected topic is non-arguable. Personally, I was really inspired by the space that my performance took place (Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi). It is a completely non-conventional space, with respect to the spaces that dance performances are presented, and at the same time it an amazing building with a magnificent architecture.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
MK – I do and I believe that in the following years this festival will grow bigger. I find the theme of the festival very much in contact with the connection between us and the world that surrounds us.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
MK – Definitely! And I see this festival as a way for many artists to become visible. And the most important is that it not a one-time opportunity. I remember that after the end of the festival, while we had a drink, Luca told me during a conversation that “This is your home now”. It was very important to hear and to know that and I am grateful for this.