The Garden of the Muses
a library for the universal spirit of delphi
The Delphic Preview 2021
To Mount Parnassus and Back
“Dancing with Children of My Homeland Fukushima" (Excerpts)
Michiyo Sato is a choreographer, teacher, and dancer who - inspired by mythologies - makes dance blending Modern and Japanese Dances, seeking archetypal body language. She received a Master of Dance Education degree from NYU along with the Dr. Patricia Rowe Award for “Outstanding Commitment to Dance Education.” In 2004 she had sold-out evening concerts titled, “SILK AND UME BLOSSOMING: To Women of Japan” at Joyce SoHo in New York, and the New York Times declared that she “has a sophisticated way with style and content.” Together with Dr. Jeanne Bresciani, she has held a series of performances and workshops at Tama Art University in 2000, the British Museum in 2001, the International House in Tokyo in 2004, the Asahi Art Square in 2006, a series of universities across Taiwan in 2007, the World Dance Festival since 2008, the Yokohama Forum in 2010, and WAVE 101 in Urayasu in 2012 and 2014. In 2015 the Japan Modern Dance Association invited her to teach Isadora Duncan’s history, theory, and choreography in its “Summer University”. Each autumn since 2012, to support those affected by the Great Northern Earthquake in Japan, she brings her works and those of Isadora Duncan to Fukushima schools.
Mt. Parnassus, whose name means “the mountain of the house of the god,” is the Greek equivalent of the Japanese Mt. Ryozen. Mt. Ryozen, meaning “spiritual mountain,” was a spiritual center between the 9th and 14th centuries. Located in Fukushima prefecture and built in 859 AD, the Ryozenji Temple was the primary Buddhism center of Northern Japan, like the Temple of Apollo in Delphi.
Much as Isadora Duncan International Institute reintroduced Isadora’s works to Delphi, IDII Japan conveyed dances to Mt. Ryozen, including the Ooishi Elementary School (1873-2021), from shortly after the Great 2011 Japan Earthquake until the school’s closure. This video is a record of IDII Japan’s performance of “Prayers to Homeland” and the new choreography “Hunting,” which was inspired by the local mythology and traditional movements taught to Mt. Ryozen children.
Full version of “Dancing with Children of My Homeland Fukushima”
Composer: Örjan Sandred (1964- )
Cello: Yuri Hooker Electronic: Örjan Sandred
Choreographer & Dance Artist: Kathleen Hiley
Cinematographer & Editor: Mike Peters
Kathleen Hiley, IDII Guest Artist, Canadian solo dance artist Kathleen Hiley is known for her signature dramatic, evocative and expressive interpretations. She has had the honour of performing the works of many esteemed and award winning choreographers such as venerated dance pioneer Isadora Duncan, Jeanne Bresciani, Margie Gillis, Rachel Browne, Stephanie Ballard, Peter Quanz, and Gaile Petursson-Hiley. Her upcoming projects include work with the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation, Patricia Beatty and Toronto Heritage Dance. Kathleen holds a BA Honours in Dance from the University of Winnipeg where she received the Gold Medal in Theatre and Film.
"Uranus and the Heavens"
Frédéric Chopin, Étude Op. 25, No. 10
Choreographer & Dance Artist: Daniel Price
Jeanne Bresciani & the Isadora Duncan International Institute Dancers, founded in 1987, is dedicated to the Duncan ideals of ‘beauty, strength and freedom’ in both the original canon of Isadora Duncan as well as internationally acclaimed new choreographies in the legacy of their foundress, Maria-Theresa Duncan, “the last dancing Isadorables.” The company has performed at The American Ballet Theater’s Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, The Kosciuszko Foundation, Palazzo Pisani Moretta (Venice), Theatre Regard du Cynge (Paris), The Delphi Museum, as well as upon numerous stages and in museums and archaeological sites throughout Italy, Sicily, Greece, France, and Russia.
The Delphic Preview 2020
In Conjunction with Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies
The Delphic Preview: Festival of the Muses celebrates contemporary re-imaginings of Greek culture as they pertain to the ancient and eternal tradition of the Festival of the Delphic Games. The online event invites the global community to engage with ancient Greek art, music, dance, poetry, song, myth, sport and theater in modern iterations through live-streamed performances and discussions, and through the Garden of the Muses, a collection of videos, audio recordings, and articles.
Andonia Cakouros, Unveiling the Soul (2020), (2015).
“Unveiling the Soul invites the audience to examine the core of the human spirit when every mask is shed.” ~ Andonia Cakouros
In the introduction video the artist speaks about her own mental health. Following that are excerpts from the 2015 production of Unveiling the Soul. The artist is presently researching mental illness in Ancient Greece and is working on a performance piece from her own lived experience of melancholia and mania embraced by the Dionysian Spirit.
Rob Castell and Paul O’Mahony, four songs from Delphi the Musical.
The scene is Delphi, the home of Apollo’s famous oracle. People travel from across the world to consult the god, and every four years even larger numbers arrive to enjoy the Pythian Games. Delphi the Musical tells the story of this meeting of mortals and immortals – where love, death and competition are ever present. Delphi the Musical is currently in development – we have 18 original songs completed and dramaturgical work is continuing on the book. Four songs are available on this soundcloud link – click on the song titles for a brief description. For more information about our plans please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Franklin and Glynnis Fawkes, “The Mountain Mother”: Second Stasimon from Euripides’ Helen.
The video features new ancient music by John Franklin and drawings by Glynnis Fawkes. The metrical translation (PDF) is by Mark Usher and John Franklin, after the metrical analysis by William Allan. Performers include Julia Irons (voice), Jamie Levis (frame drums), and John Franklin (lyres). For more information on the music and original theatrical production, see Didaskalia, The Journal for Ancient Performance.
Andrew Earle Simpson, “What the Oracle Said: Apollo’s Priestess at Delphi” (2020).
The Temple of Apollo at Delphi housed a priestess, also called the “Pythia,” who communicated prophecies of Apollo to inquirers around the ancient world. Kings, merchants, and peasants all came to Delphi to ask the oracle for guidance on all matters of life, great and small. This video highlights ten prophecies reported by the oracle, spoken in Greek with English translation, with images of the Delphi site (temple, theater, stadium), accompanied by Andrew Earle Simpson’s original music.
A selection of work with the lyre and incidental music for ancient Greek tragedies, composed by Nikos Xanthoulis.
Agathi Dimitrouka, “Myrtle Leaves.”
The video is available in Modern Greek, and available with English subtitles. Accompanying lyrics in Modern Greek (PDF) and translated into English (PDF). The video entitled Myrtle Leaves presents in Modern Greek four poems inspired from Greek Mythology, three based on Erotic Epigrams of The Greek Anthology and one on a Sapho’s poem from two books, all in verse to be sang, and two unpublished poems inspired from ancient Greek statues.
Christos Evangeliou, “Parnassus: Delphic Hymn” (PDF).
A poem in decapentasyllavic meter, in three sections: topography, hymnology, and nostalgia.
Phoebe Giannisi, “Tettix” (2012).
TETTIX (ΤΕΤΤΙΞ), the ancient Greek word for cicada, is the title of the performance video-poem, inspired by the association of the figure of the poet and the singing cicada as it appears through ancient Greek mythology, philosophy and poetry. More specifically: «τέττιγος ἐδράξω πτεροῦ» (a cicada caught by the wing) (Archilochus 223 West) and Plato’s Platonic dialogue Phaedrus.
Kevin McGrath, “The Shield of Achilles” (PDF).
“The Shield of Achilles” is a micronarrative in Scroll Eighteen of the Homeric Iliad. In this, there are two communities described; one practices violence as a social media, the other is engaged in various other forms of social equilibrium.
Manuela Pellegrino, “Ce àrtena” (2020).
Subtitled in English and Modern Greek, with accompanying essay “Language as Sounds and Images: The Materiality of Griko”.
Ce àrtena (“And now”) features three poems in Salentine-Greek—or simply Griko—the language of Greek origins spoken in the Southern Italian province of Lecce, in Grecìa Salentina (Puglia). The poems are accompanied by photographs taken by Daniele Coricciati—who curated the video—and by instrumental compositions written and played by Palmiro Durante. The aim of the video is to share the sounds and images of Griko and to show how its materiality continues to generate paths to its future.
L‘Oracle by IRIS BROSCH 2019. Curated by Artemis Herber, produced by Zoie Lafis
William Adair, Artist Statement (PDF).
Glynnis Fawkes and John Franklin, “The Mountain Mother”: Second Stasimon from Euripides’ Helen. (For more detail, see the Music section above.)
Laurence Guillez, Paintings (PDF).
Judith Pratt, Artist Statement (PDF).
Marc Robarge, Artist Statement (PDF).
This paper explores Ion’s portrayal as the future leader of Athens and progenitor of the Ionians, focusing on his status in Delphi and the ways in which his upbringing in the Panhellenic sanctuary is shown to have influenced his outlook and his lifestyle.
Angela Cinalli, “Performing Delphi. A glance over the Pythia through its Editions and Artists” (PDF).
In this video presentation, we cast an eye over Delphi and its performative life, focusing on the Pythian festival, spanning from modern reinstatements back to ancient editions. As for ancient times, we will go over the Hellenistic period when the cultural phenomenon of the “poeti vaganti”—itinerant performers dwelling in Delphi to offer their art at agonistic and extra-agonistic occasions—deeply influenced the cultural panorama of Delphi and also impacted the Pythian scenario.
James Henderson Collins, “Dancing the Virtues, Becoming Virtuous: Procedural Memory and Ethical Presence” in The Enigmatic Context: Approaches to Greek Drama: A special volume of Ramus: Critical Studies in Greek and Roman Literature.
Recent work on the neuro-cognition of dance can be used to explore the somatic ‘virtues’ of choral dance in ancient drama. While the first professional philosophers theorize the moral effects of music, I explore instead the ways in which traditional political virtues may be enacted and routinized through choral performance. Practicing the movements and songs of choral odes can give rise to the very virtues about which the chorus sings.
Samuel N. Dorf, “Eva Palmer-Sikelianos Dances Aeschylus: The Politics of Historical Reenactment When Staging the Rites of the Past” in Choros: International Dance Journal. This short essay compares dance and historical reconstruction in the choreography of Eva Palmer Sikelianos’ work for the Delphic Festival and Vaslav Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps.
Carolyn M. Laferrière, “Painting with Music: Visualizing Harmonia in Late Archaic Representations of Apollo Kitharōidos” in Greek and Roman Musical Studies. When Apollo is depicted playing his lyre, the representation of his active musical performance suggests a sonic element in the viewer’s perception of the image. In this paper, I examine how Apollo’s music and its effect upon his audience are communicated in late Archaic Athenian vase-painting. The images suggest that the sounds of the god’s music draw the composition together into a musical harmonia, thereby continually reaffirming the unifying character inherent to Apollo’s music.
Richard Martin, “Outer Limits, Choral Space” in Visualizing the Tragic: Drama, Myth, and Ritual in Greek Art and Literature. Essays in honour of Froma Zeitlin. Dithyramb, cult songs dedicated to Dionysos, influenced the evolution of tragedy. On the basis of an early monument to dithyrambic victory, the paper analyzes a particular way of conceptualizing choral space, evident still in metapoetic form on stone and in script.
Domenico Giuseppe Muscianisi, “The Circle of Fame: Apollo, the Corps de Ballet and the Song of the Muses at Delphi” in Classical Inquiries.
The article discusses the Homeric Hymn to Apollo to Balanchine’s ballet Apollo, through Indo-European poetics and Performance Studies. In Homeric Hymn to (Pythian) Apollo 182–206, some deities enact the roles of themselves in the song-and-dance of Apollo and the Muses: The image of circle is essential for the description of the performative hierarchy and for the celebration of the fame of Apollo and the Muses (“wheel of the sun”) that mirrors the prime role for humankind of the Oracle of Delphi.
Gregory Nagy, “The Library as a garden of the Muses” in Classical Inquiries.
In the Candide of Voltaire, first published in 1759, the last words famously read: mais il faut cultiver notre jardin ‘but we must cultivate our garden’. Following such a mandate, I return here to cultivate a garden of my own delights—the idea of the ancient Library of Alexandria as a garden of the Muses. The occasion for my return is a feast day of sorts, a Festival of the Muses, celebrated in June 2020 at the Center for Hellenic Studies in its own lush garden, virtual as well as real.
The essay argues for a queer (specifically non-binary/GNC) reading and implementation of Euripides’ Bacchae, particularly the textual and metatextual focus on the queer body of the god Dionysus (and the influence that reading brings to bear on casting the character). Originally presented at a performance theory conference.
Anastasia-Erasmia Peponi, “Dance and Aesthetic Perception” in Blackwell Companion to Ancient Aesthetics.
The article explores aesthetic discourse on dance and the experience of dance in the ancient world.
This small review, if not exhaustive, shows the main goals of people performing ancient Greek music. From the beginnings, science, politics and aesthetics are strongly linked. By writing this history of performances, we realize that the border may be porous between science and performing arts.
Rachele Pierini, “New Voices for Ancient Songs: A Survey of Ancient Greek Motifs in Today’s Opera and Music” (PDF).
The paper is a fresh examination of the deep intersections connecting ancient Greek motifs and opera – notably, the first opera was an attempt to revive the classical Greek drama. In a friendly yet informative fashion, it combines the analysis of a selection of key linguistic and musical elements with some of the most touching opera arias.
Christoph Quarch, “A New Narrative for the 21st Century. Inspiring the World by the Delphic Spirit of Humanity” (PDF), audio, and video.
To meet the global challenges of the 21st century, humanity needs a common narrative. The spirit of Delphi, which 3000 years ago inspired ancient Greek culture, is particularly suitable for this. In his lecture, the philosopher Christoph Quarch sketches a concise picture of the Delphic spirit through ten central signatures and explains why we require it for a truly humane future.
Heather L. Reid, “What Does Sport Have to Do with Art (and Education)?” (PDF).
The paper discusses the educational link between athletics and aesthetics in the ancient world typified by the Pythian festival at Delphi.
Jeffrey O. Segrave, “The Pythian Games: The Real Modern Olympic Games” (PDF).
The paper makes the case that while the ancient Olympic Games served as the primary model for the modern Olympic Games, the Pythian Games, in fact, represented a model much more in keeping with the aspirations of the modern Olympic Games founder, the French aristocrat, Pierre de Coubertin, who aspired to include both athletic and arts competition in his new brand of the Olympism.
Michael Scott, Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World.
Published in 2014 by Princeton Univeristy Press, Delphi is a comprehensive narrative history of the ancient world’s center, from its founding to its modern rediscovery.
Laura Slatkin, “Notes on Tragic Visualizing in the Iliad” in Visualizing the Tragic:Drama, Myth, and Ritual in Greek Art and Literature. Essays in honour of Froma Zeitlin. The Iliad is a poem of shocking visions. It dwells on the impact of the sights that confront its characters and on the act of seeing itself. An examination of the characters’ lines of vision, in the various directions they take, may offer additional perspectives on the Iliad‘s stringent and subtle intimations of tragedy.
Tyler Jo Smith, “Religious Dimensions of Dance on Ancient Greek Vases.”
This illustrated lecture explores the relationship of dance, religion, and Greek vases. It begins by introducing Greek vases are used as art historical and archaeological evidence, and then considers how both dance and religion are identified in Archaic and Classical vase-painting through specific iconographic details (e.g. gestures, dress, setting). The relationship between decoration, shape, and find-spot is also demonstrated using examples of ‘ritual’ vessels from Athens and Boeotia. The lecture concludes with a few dancing figures on vases discovered at the site of Delphi itself.