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  • I tried hard not to include stars in the OPENING CEREMONY because I wanted Greece the country to be the star of the show. And so I packed all the local stars into the CLOSING CEREMONY, an event I intended to be a celebration of folk music and dance which, in Greece, are rooted in the Bacchic ceremonies of ancient times. The two Ceremonies were designed to counterbalance each other: an Apollonian Opening and a Dionysian Closing - spirit and flesh. I should have dared be more extreme with the second part of the balance, and focused intensely on the wildest forms of folk culture that still, surprisingly enough, exist. But I was afraid it would have been a kind of in-joke, that it wouldn't have had any international appeal or resonance; most of the sounds and dances would have been disturbing to the ear and slow on the eye. I was wrong. I should have played hardcore there too. Right from the start, 95% of the money and effort was reserved for the OPENING, versus 5% for the CLOSING. I had dreamt of a more organic, festive and chaotic Closing, but in the end it really flirted with the mainstream. You can't have it all.

    On my fortieth birthday, at dawn, the June before the Olympics, I woke up from a dream. In this dream I dropped my left thumb ring into a big river; as I watched it fall towards the water, I thought to myself that this was a weird, wonderful and irreversible gesture. After the end of the CLOSING, as the sets were being disassembled, I threw that ring into the arena. This act amused me, and counterbalanced my very first visit to the stadium in 2001 after I'd learned I was to create the Ceremonies, when I peed in the centre of the stadium like a dog marking its territory.


Commissioned by the Athens 2004 Organising Committee (ATHOC)
136 minutes
Held: 29 August 2004, at the Olympic Stadium (Athens- Greece)

Conceived, Visualised and Directed by Dimitris Papaioannou
Co-Creation, Music Concept Creator: Yorgos Koumendakis
Set Designer: Lili Pezanou
Lighting Designer & Director: Eleftheria Deko
Choreographer: Angeliki Stellatou
Costume Designer: Sofia Kokossalaki
Video Director - Producer: Athina Tsangari
Ceremonies Texts: Lina Nikolakopoulou
Pyrotechnic Design: Christophe Berthonneau

Coordinator of the Creative - Associate Director: Tina Papanikolaou
Associate Director: Yorgos Matskaris
Creative Production Assistant: Kali Kavvatha

Music Associate: Maria Metaxaki

Associate Set Designer: Konstantinos Kypriotakis
Assistant Set Designer: Eliza Paraskeva

Co-Lighting Designer & Director: Robert A. Dickinson
Associate Lighting Designer: Theodore Tsevas
Lighting Director: Ted Wells
Moving Light Director: Andy O'Reilly

Associate Choreographer: Fotis Nikolaou
Assistant Choreographers: Vanessa Andrikopoulou, Titi Antonopoulou, Panayiotis Argyropoulos, Spyros Bertsatos, Nikos Dragonas, Yianna Filippopoulou, Fedra Fourouli, Ermira Goro, Altin Huta, Giorgia Kalantzi, Nikos Klaogerakis, Martha Kloukina, Roula Koutroumbeli, Nikos Lagousakos, Olia Lydaki, Mendi Mega, Stathis Mermiggis, Hamilton Monteiro, Christos Papadopoulos, Rena Papandoniou, Natalia Partheniou, Gogo Petrali, Euaggelia Randou, Katerina Skiada, Theodossia Sourelou, Daphni Stefanou, Vasso Yiannakopoulou, Alexandros Yiannis, Yiannis Yiaples

Field Choreographer & Chartist: Wanda Rokicki
Chartist & Associate Field Choreographer: Bryn Walters
Assistant Field Choreographers: Vassiliki Kolovou, Nikos Lagousakos, Gina Martinez, Roxana 'Rocky' Smith
Mass Choreographer - Parade of Athletes: Doug Jack
Assistant Field Choreographers - Parade of Athletes: Claire Terri, Paul Winkelman

Associate Costume Designer: Theofilos Yessios-Geskos

Video Production Manager: Costas Kephalas
1st Assistant Video Director: Dimtiris Birbilis
2nd Assistant Video Director: Manos Gasteratos
Assistant Video Production Manager: Margarita Manda
Animation Designer - Chief Editor: Matt Johnson
Assistant Animator: Yiannis Anagnostou
Text Animation: Bios
Editing: Leah Bowers, Sandrine Cheyrol
Video Cinematographer: Isaac Mathes

Director-Narration Workshop: Roula Pateraki
Narrators: Olia Lazaridou, Amalia Moutoussi, Aglaia Pappa

Hair Designer: Alexandris Balabanis
Assistant Hair Designer: Antonis Spiliotis
Make up Co-Directors : Kirstin Piggott, Nadine Luke

Artistic Segment: May the Dances Last Forever
Director: Thomas Moschopoulos
Assistant Director: Nancy Biniadaki
Second Assistant Director: Yianna Deligianni
Choreographer: Eleni Gasouka
Field Choreographer & Chartist: Bryn Walters
Associate Choreographer: Valia Papachristou
Actors - Assistant Choreographers: Petros Alatzas, Thanassis Alevras, Othonas Bartsas, Christos Malakis, Vassilis Mavrogeorgiou, Ilias Panayiotakopoulos, Theodore Petropoulos, Stavros Sioulis, Orfeas Zafiropoulos