In 2020 the world changed and we’ve all had to adapt but with this comes a wonderful opportunity to take stock of what we are grateful for and to realign our focus for what we may look forward to in the future. Company dancer Dimitri Kleioris, currently in his second year with Sydney Dance Company, takes a moment to reflect on life before, during and after the lockdowns.
I have a fond memory from when I was 10 years old, driving with my older sister Anna in her first car, named Uff. I was singing along to Casey Chambers when the thought hit me, “I don’t want to be stuck in Sydney forever, I want to explore the world.” I’ve always remembered my sister’s response; “You won’t be stuck here. If you’re feeling like this at your age, I know you will make in life whatever you would like to happen”.
I feel lucky that my dreams and artistic pursuits have allowed me to travel all around Australia and to live and work abroad in New Zealand, New York and Europe over the past 13 years. I returned to Sydney in late 2017 as a result of my father’s ailing health. I was fortunate to spend the last year of his life with him, truly a gift.
I have always admired Sydney Dance Company having grown up here but never thought I would be the right fit for it. I attended the world premiere of ab[intra] in 2018 as an audience member and was blown away. It is in my mind a masterpiece and I immediately knew I wanted to dance it. I was one of six new company members that joined the ensemble in 2019 and have since had the pleasure of the touring ab[intra] internationally to Finland, Austria, Poland and Barcelona.
Whilst this time of Covid has been challenging for everyone and devastating to the arts, one personal high is that it has granted me the opportunity to be here in Sydney, my home, for the longest consistent period in the last 13 years. It has been a period of homeostasis where I’ve had the luxury of sleeping in my bed, connecting with my loved ones albeit over the internet
and creating a routine where I can walk my dog at sunrise.
Seeing the seasons change! Especially the transition into winter which has been non – existent for me and my fellow Company dancers, as ordinarily during this period we would be touring around Australia or the globe.
One of the lows might be the sense of disorientation that has come with this disruption to my normal life. I was on a zoom call two weeks ago in lieu of our annual dinner at Buon Ricordo, which is a fundraiser for our national and international touring fund. It was a beautiful evening and so nice to see our supporters willing to engage with us in this new way, but at one point someone asked me “Do you miss dancing in front of an audience?” To my surprise, I replied with “I don’t even feel like a dancer anymore”. I realised I sounded defeatist and was honestly a little shocked by my frank response.
As we re-enter the studio and start to emerge from lockdown it feels like a good time to reflect on where I was when this all began. The above recording is the last rehearsal I had in the studio at the Roslyn Packer Theatre before we went into lockdown. I remember thinking to myself, “this may be the last time I’ll be dancing in a studio for a long while, so enjoy it”. That I did. I hope you enjoy it too.