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by Archaeology Newsroom

Choreography in the Ancient Drama: The Contribution of Eve Palmer-Sikelianos

The article deals with the contribution of Eve Palmer – Sikelianos to the Choreography of the ancient drama by focussing on two issues. First, the historic significance of Eve’s innovation regarding the stage approach to chorus in two Aeschylean tragedies, Prometheus Bound and the Suppliants, which were presented in the ancient Theatre of Delphi in the framework of the Delphic Festival of 1927 and 1930. Second the fertile influence of Eve on the pioneers of Greek choreography and ancient drama, the gifted disciples of the great paedagogist Koula Pratsika coryphaia of the chorus in the first Delphic Festival that is Loukia Kokkinioti-Sakellariou, Rallou Manou, Aghapi Evangelidou, Maria Diamantidou, Maria Horse, Maria Kyrighou. They have laid the foundations of the two Greek schools of choreography of ancient drama, the Neo-classical school of the National Theatre and the anti-academic school of the Karolos Koun’s Theatre of Art. The specific reference and comments are made on the following topics the cultural framework of the Neo-romantic enterprise of the American lady lover of ancient Greece an its relation with the utopian Delphic idea of her husband, the poet Angelos Sikelianos, the artistic genius and the infectious passion of Eve and her pioneering effort to elevate the signing and dancing chorus to the position of the protagonist of the performance Prometheus Bound in the first Delphic Festival (1927), the stage handling of the chorus in the performance of Prometheus and the Suppliants staged in the framework of the second Delphic Festival (19130). Finally, the basic shortcomings as well as the achievements of Eve’s approach to the role of chorus in the ancient drama are pinpointed. Her significant contribution can be better appreciated if we bear in mind that she was the first to undertake the task to re-established chorus, the “heart” of ancient Greek tragedy as a dancing playing and signing ensemble.