Christina Beskou

Choreographer

At the age of three, Christina Beskou was already demonstrating her performance skills to the admiring populace of the island of Hydra. Her mother could always find her by finding the crowd – the one looking down to knee-level.

Eventually she went to the Nelly Mazloum Calvo Ballet School in Athens, and received her basic ballet education. At 17, she was off to London and the Royal Academy of Dance, to undergo the traditional severe discipline of classical ballet. She obtained her A.R.A.D and went on to study Martha Graham technique at the London Contemporary Dance School, where she met Maria Fay, with whom she took Master Ballet classes and acquired her unique Floor Barre Technique. She is the only professional dancer who has been granted permission to teach and develop this unique art. She started her teaching career as Maria’s assistant at the London Contemporary Dance Company and the Central School of Ballet in London.

She has danced with Athens Ballet Theatre (1981-82), Susanne Reitz’s “Kinora” Dance Group (Amsterdam, 1982-84), Lia Meletopoulou Small Dance Theatre (Athens 1984-86), Angela Lyra’s Dance Company (Athens 1986-88), Athens Dance Company (Athens 1988), Dance Competition in Barcelona (Biennale 1987), and her own Seresta Dance Company (since 1989). She discovered her talent and interest in choreography.

She also attended and conducted numerous workshops with exceptional teachers all over the world. She has had a strong career as a teacher, in London, the Netherlands, Italy, and Greece. She has also worked abroad in the U.K., Germany, Argentina, and Austria. She has taught children in Hydra, forming a group of students and creating a source of artistic activities on the island.

In 1989, having just choreographed Seresta, Beskou met Paquito D’ Rivera at a Dizzy Gillespie concert at the (Herod Atticus). That night, she introduced herself to Rivera backstage and he agreed that she would dance it to live music at the Lykavittos Theatre. "Seresta was my lucky piece," she said. "It literally means gathering musicians in open air, jamming and having a good time."

Since that performance with D’ Rivera, Beskou's dance company adopted the name Seresta. Seresta Dance Company has performed often throughout Greece and overseas. They were invited to take part in the Luxembourg Festival Wiltz in 1991. A year later, they performed at the Hampshire Euro-Festival in England, and at the Floriade Festival in the Netherlands. In 1993, Seresta represented Greece in the First International Ballet and Modem Dance Competition held in Nagoya, Japan. The group was chosen over a hundred other applicants from 31 different countries. In 1993 she established the Seresta Dance Studio (non-profit) to artistically support her company, and to share her experience with everybody who loves dance. And since 1998 she has been involved in the study of the history and technique of the Argentinean Tango, resulting in three productions: Bar Sur, Café Concert, and Lifestyle.

Christina’s main purpose in teaching is not only technique, which is absolutely necessary for the execution of her choreographies, but to develop her dancer’s personalities and their potentials as human beings. She gives opportunities to her dancers to become creative as professional choreographers, and to experiment in expressiveness and movements. Some of their choreographies have been included in Seresta’s productions. As a teacher, Beskou confesses that it is a tough job because a dancer, by nature, is very egocentric. "When you teach, you have to think of your students, not yourself," she says. "You have to respect them."

Beskou has been a member of the International Dance Council since 1988 and has received enthusiastic reviews from dance world. Mirka Psaropoulos, president of the International Dance Council, feels that when she dances, she is her real self.

In all its aspects, dance is an experience of sharing. Technique is the tool, music the vehicle and performance a mutual involvement of the dancers with the audience; a sharing.

Soon she hopes to share her vision of Verdi’s Rigoletto with the world.