Artemis Ignatiou-Official Choreographer and Artistic Director of the Lighting and Handover Ceremonies of the Olympic Flame

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Artemis Ignatiou graduated from the National School of Dance of Greece.  She continued her studies at the Merce Cunningham, Movement Research and Martha  Graham’s schools in New York, where she also studied  theatre  acting at H.B. Studio Drama School (Herbert Berghof - Uta  Hagen). She also studied Music and History of Art. She is teaching at the Dance School of the Greek National Opera and at the National School of Dance of Greece. She has founded the  ART Dance Theater company and she has directed many performances in various  festivals,  both  in Greece and abroad.

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  1. Do you think you were born a dancer or it sprang up unintended?

I don't believe that people are born for something specific. Maybe they are born with a specific talent, such as talent in dancing, music, sports, and sciences. This talent must be cultivated to blossom. For me, everything was intended. Very young I realized that dancing was what I wanted to do in my life. I had to work hard to achieve my goals.

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  1. Was it soon enough to realize your dream to produce your work had to do with the establishment of the Art Dance Theater?

At the beginning of my career as a young dancer like every young artist all I wanted was to be able to perform in front of an audience. Which I achieved, having the chance to perform in many performances (in some with a leading role) under the instructions of great Greek choreographers. It was much later that I felt the urge of producing my choreographies. Then it was obvious to me that I had to create my team, that's how ART Dance Theater was established.

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  1. A performer struggles to learn the routine. Can you describe how you would go about developing your dance routine?

How you create a choreography depends on the occasion. For example, if you are called to choreograph for a theater play or a movie play you have to work closely with the director and respect his concept also taking into consideration the dancing skills of the performers who might not be dancers but actors. When I choreograph for my group first comes the inspiration. I can be inspired by a music piece, a historic event, a sentiment, a state of mind even a painting or a photo. Then I translate my inspiration into movement and create my routine to express it.

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  1. What is ballet for you? Is it only moves or expression of feelings?

Ballet for me is the foundation for every dancer. To be a good dancer you must have good ballet skills, to be a Great dancer you must combine it with expression and feeling.

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  1. You’re the official Choreographer and Artistic Director of the Lighting and Handover Ceremonies of the Olympic Flame. What are the emotions involved in this opening piece?

Being the official choreographer of the Olympic Flame Lighting and Handover Ceremonies is a dream come true for me deeply. It fills me with pride and responsibility as a choreographer and as a Greek. Every time we light the flame in Olympia all the team including myself, nevertheless the fact that for some of us is not the first time, we feel great emotion and tears come to our eyes. The feeling, that we represent at that moment not only the Hellenic Olympic Committee but the whole of Greece and the International Olympic Movement trying to pass to the whole world the Olympic values and especially the message of Peace, creates all of our emotions that can't be described in words.

  1. What are some of the personalities you’ve met that have inspired you?

During my career, I had the chance to meet a lot of important people the two persons that had a great impact on my professional life were two well-known Greek choreographers. Zoujou Nicoloudi my teacher and the one who first gave me the chance to perform in front of a big audience and  Maria Hors also my teacher who gave me the opportunity first to participate as a priestess in an Olympic flame Lighting Ceremony then become her assistant and finally succeeded her in the position of the choreographer of the Olympic Flame ceremonies.

  1. You’re a mother of two boys. What is your relationship with them like? Have you imbued them with the principles of Olympism?

My professional achievements give me great satisfaction. But what gives me greater joy and be proud of is my family, my husband, and my two sons. Along with my husband achieved a great relationship with our two boys aged today 21 and 19 years old. Our relationship is based on mutual love, respect, support, and understanding. From a very young age, both my sons witnessed and even had the chance to participate in an Olympic flame Lighting Ceremony. Growing up it was more than natural for both of them to become good athletes with great respect for the Olympic values.

  1. What is your life motto?

My motto is “Keep on Dreaming. When you have dreams  life sometimes surprises you and makes them true.”