Fysalida is a dance group based in Heraklion, Crete. The company was founded in 2006 by Georgia Petrali with the aim of exploring, creating and producing any art form through collaboration between artists, educators, therapists and scientists.

The dance company’s activities include dance and dance-theatre performances, solo performances, dance film and video art production, installation performances, experimental performances and video screenings, modern dance, movement, contact improvisation seminars, community work projects and community dance projects. The company’s research and creative materials are transformed into art through movement, dance, speech, theatre, photography, music, the visual arts and video art.

Fysalida dance creates utilising the skills of amateur and professional performers, dancers, actors, musicians, composers, facilitators, visual artists, painters, video artists and others, who collaborate depending on the needs of each production or activity of the company. Amateur and professional artists are invited to create in a professional manner with vision. In each production the dance company is coordinated by skilled individuals and consists of a different number of artists. We seek to create an artistic core which embraces various artists from Crete and the rest of Greece and abroad.

The dance company’s research activities include a team of social scientists (psychologist, sociologist, social worker, journalist, and art historian) who are involved in the theoretical side of each production. By taking a psychoanalytical and sociological approach to each idea, members of the team deepen the historical-dramaturgical side of each production by brain storming and recording and making public their ideas. The work of this research team promotes both the scientific and artistic side of things.

Fysalida dance is also actively involved in community dance projects. By organising various dance and movement seminars which are open to all parties interested in having some experience with movement or improvisation, and by coordinating artistic activities such as dance performances and films in which people whose main occupation is not dance are involved, we seek to raise awareness and motivate ordinary, every-day people. Focusing primarily on movement, we are interested in reaching out to a wide set of people and bringing them into contact with the art of dance. Through the philosophy and action of our dance company we seek to serve as a source of inspiration for increasing numbers of different social groups.

The objective of the Fysalida dance company’s activities is to move the public via the art produced and to raise awareness about various modern social issues which are highlighted via the art we produce.

Georgia Petrali

the wondrous journey of a Fysalida

Think of a bubble, travelling suspended in the air; a sphere, the universe...
and yet it has a child-like quality. Think of the transparency and a wonderful sense of lightness like that in fairytales that runs counter to all sort of pomposity and distortion of reality.

Think of movement and action, curves in space time and a sense of the ephemeral, the unforeseeable and the subversive.

Believe me it took quite a few months to decide on the name.

One of Fysalida’s mottos is movement inside and out, and the aims of the actions we take are (a) to move people on an emotional level and (b) to raise awareness and inform them about various issues facing modern society; issues that we choose to address and highlight via the art we produce.

Focused primarily on movement and expression, we were interested in reaching out to a wider group of people and bringing them into contact with dance as an art form, and ‘initiating’ them into the amazing world of the human body, and its abilities and potential.

What is dance?
What is Terpsichore’s art really, in the way in which we understand it today?
Can a person who is walking, standing, thinking, smiling, who produces some sort of movement, actually produce art?

Why is it difficult for us to ‘define’ this art form?
It is only a hodgepodge of virtuoso-like choreographed movements?
For sure the art of dance requires dedication and skill, accuracy and reliability, patience and persistence, an ongoing personal exploration and intellectual quest…
Just like any other art form...

What is it that sets dance apart and makes it an art form for us?
Where is the balance between body, mind and heart?
Can the body exist without the soul?
Without the fruit of thought?
Without imagination and dreams?
Without a central meaning or real message, does the body tell the truth?
How is a message transformed into art?

Can a body that produces a simple movement without a specific ideology behind it convey a message to any viewer?
What is the wrapping, the surface that is best suited for misinterpreting truth and lies?
What duty do both the transmitter and the receiver have?

“One constructs truth in the same way one constructs lies” are the words of our beloved Odysseas Elytis, and a source of inspiration for Fysalida’s first street art event. ‘Truth and lies’ is the title we gave to the specific event and that phrase is one of our core questions.

A group of people with a shared love of the art of dance came together around a table and shared views about what is truth, what are lies, and where we stand in relation to this.
This prompted us into action.
We decided to act, to take to the streets and share our concerns through dance, movement and expression.

Why street art? What is our own truth?
Why did we take to the streets and what was it that made us want this direct contact with the people of the town we have chosen to live in and exist in; this contact with random passers-by and our unknown fellow humans?
“It is difficult to live without lies”.
“It is difficult to express yourself, expose yourself, look the other straight in the eyes and bare your heart to him”.

Just like all art forms, Fysalida does not have a specific target group!

It addresses social and natural phenomena, historical events, artistic ideas, day-to-day situations that affect people of all ages and social backgrounds in different ways; issues that are the burning topics of the day.
In other words, we are not aimed at a limited group within society but at society as a whole.
We want to promote contact between one person and others around him via observation and trust-building exercises.
We seek to open up our basic senses by exploring man’s ability to hear, see, touch and perceive.
We want contact with what is inside and outside, by ‘working’ on ourselves via physical, emotional and psychoanalytical paths.

Motion means life...
and life is an integral part of nature.
One of the main problems facing the human species is that man has become cut off from the natural environment.
So seeking to bring man back into contact with nature, we took to the mountains and the valleys, the sea and the countryside.
Dancing all the time like the people of old, like the Minoans!

People in the past respected the land and their home out of a sense of humility and piety, awe and gratitude for divine natural phenomena and Mother Earth’s rich basket of goods.
With those thoughts in mind we began exploring issues and situations relating to nature and the quality of our life in relation to the hot topic of the day, green energy.

Industrial renewable energy source projects and plans for the future being made without consulting us. Fast track procedures, excessive use of alternative sources of energy in our land, the selling off of assets, indifference, underhand games being played to our detriment, pointless excuses that are being made and the abuse and distortion of what the truth may actually be were all issues we explored.
Can dance be used by activists as an incentive and starting point for targeting art in a specific direction?

We need to set things straight, and courageously and virtuously unwrap the truth and expose monsters, labyrinths of vested interests and our autistic isolation and solitude within society; our self-exile.
It is our duty to take a stance and act on it.
Everyone needs to do so in any way he can, respecting himself and those next to him; doing so with a purpose and vision.

Activism and art itself have much in common.
Expression and exposure.
Through the various activities Fysalida engages in and the high quality productions it stages (i.e. through the world of spectacle in general), we seek to raise important issues affecting our society.

Our actions are based both on the research work being done by a scientific team that is collecting testimony, documents, publications and statistics, and on the creative work of a team of artists who transform ideas, thoughts, situations into art via movement, sound, discourse and images.

Art for us belongs everywhere!
It needs to be a catalyst, a herald of the truth and dreams, the beautiful and the desirable, the innocent.
Just like a travelling bubble suspended in the air that I like to stare at from my balcony… Ephemeral, just like art.
Just like life itself.
and yet…
the future is here today.

In every thinking man who can blend together pretexts and causes, art generates desires and consequences; building bridges of communication via creative processes that define those channels of communication, helping that person document, produce and above all love what he is doing.
As Kazantzakis said,
“love responsibility...
Say to yourself, ‘I, I alone have the duty to save the earth. If it is not saved, I am to blame’.

Georgia Fysalida