The choreographer and director that inspired audiences all over the world, talks about the escapade of being creative, the importance of learning, the aesthetic codes, the inspiration and where we can look for it. He focuses on the essence of art and sends his own message to whoever wants to try out the art of dancing, which pursues nothing less than perfect.
Lover of Creation, with the advantage of motion
By Christina Katsantoni
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos
His relation to art is experiential. He started to express himself through dancing before even learning how to dance. He started directing and setting his own worlds before even realising what directing means. He was just encouraged by an almost obsessed interest to be creative, which has defined Konstantinos Rigos throughout his journey in life and art.
He was born in Athens and experienced the loss of his father in a very young age. He grew up in a close-knit family, receiving love and feeling safe by his mother and her sisters.
In the neighborhood, he was the kid who planned games and staged plays that were performed in the vacant lot of his building. His favourite hobby was photography. He used to shoot his cousins in the streets, dressed up in bed sheets. The need to direct and to express himself through creating his own world, were evident since these first photo sets.
The strenuous journey towards knowledge
After he finished school, Konstantinos Rigos studied Economics in the university. Meanwhile, he choreographed without knowing how to dance. When he took exams in the National School of Dance he didn’t know much. He didn’t know how to catch the barre and didn’t even have ballet shoes. His ability to improvise was the key skill that earned him a place to study in the school.
Three hard years followed during which he sometimes woke up in the middle of the night crying of pain. But at the same time, these years were creative and offered him necessary knowledge to create his own code of interaction through dancing.
His success as an artist
In 1990, he established the dance theatre “OKTANA” which contributed decisively to the development of modern dance in Greece. For Konstantinos Rigos, OKTANA was his DNA, a world of creation where he was completely enclosed in. It was, as he says, the spark that promoted him as both an artist and a man.
His work in OKTANA excited, earned applause but sometimes divided opinion. In 1997, the show “Ikaros- Sudden Decompression” in Athens Concert Hall was extremely ahead of its time and some spectators left the room before the end of the show. It was a terrible experience but one that made him realise that what he does must divide opinion, touch, be liked and disliked. And he built his career on this, as to how he would overcome the boundaries of his and of the audience, in a mutual relationship between art and creation.
In 2000 he directed the last show of OKTANA, the “Crazy Happiness”, and left for Thessaloniki where he served as art director of Dance Theater in the National Theater of Northern Greece. The following years, the dance theatre grew into a modern team that travelled in all over the world and performed some of the shows that he considers the best of his career like: “Free besieged”, “Winter traveller”, and “Swan Lake”.
Combining various arts
In 2005, he left from dance theatre and after an argument with the director he returned to Athens where he spent six months doing nothing and watching television. The need to create was the one that reconverted Konstantinos Rigos and took him from darkness to light. He made his comeback with the shows “Bossa Nova” in the National Theatre and “Sylfides” in the National Opera. Meanwhile he decided to get involved to theatre and staged plays like “Hedda Gabler”, musicals like “Cabaret” and multimedia shows like “Titanic” and “The Red Lanterns”; plays that combined many different arts all together.
In January 2018, he became director of Ballet in the Greek National Opera and the first choreography he put up was “Swan Lake” in which he presented classical dance in a contemporary manner.
During his journey, Konstantinos Rigos has received applause from the audience of many international festivals and has seen his choreographies winning many awards. He was engaged to video clips, shows, concerts, children theatre, put up musicals and plays from the ancient, the Modern Greek and the global repertoire and worked with directors of different philosophy and style. During his journey, the belief that staying creative is like a hard drive that constantly needs update guided him through.
Today, if he had to select a title, that title would be director with the advantage of dance which, for him, is not only making steps but the motion that exists around us and the same air that gives us life. What gives meaning to his life is the ability to create, the new everyday boundary that challenges him to surpass…