Yannis Adoniou

Born in Greece, Yannis Adoniou began his career at 16 when he was selected for a full scholarship to study at the State School of Dance in Athens. At 17, he moved to Germany where he began his professional career as a performer with Hamburg Ballet and Bonn Ballet. At Bonn, he was encouraged to begin a choreographic career, and early works demonstrated a kinship with the artistic ideals of the American master, Alonzo King. A meeting with Mr. King in Frankfurt led to an invitation to join King's LINES Ballet in San Francisco. There, Adoniou danced and created leading roles from 1993 to 1998, at which time he went on to found the critically acclaimed dance company, KUNST-STOFF.

Adoniou created KUNST-STOFF, initially with long time collaborator Tomi Paasonen, to explore the intersection of multiple art forms and aesthetics, employing dance as the central medium. An accomplished filmmaker (with works presented at Dance Forum Monaco, Dance Camera West Film Festival, Cinedans Amsterdam, and REDCAT among others) Adoniou's performance works are often set in unexpected visual worlds, drawn from his equally profound gift for visual art. Now entering its second decade of acclaimed performances, KUNST-STOFF's growing body of work has defined a signature style that combines classical rigor with the unbridled expressivity of improvisation and abstract modern idioms. ?

Adoniou's international commissions include works for Herbst Dance Festival in Heidelberg, Bonn Ballet, Prosxima Dance Company and Dance Forum Monaco, and in the Bay Area, works for ODC Theater, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts / Bay Area Now, San Francisco International Arts Festival, Company Mechanique, Dance Brigade, and West Wave Dance Festival. Commissions for youth and young professionals include works for LINES/Dominican University BFA program, the dance department of SUNY Purchase, and Dance Theater International. With KUNST-STOFF, his works have toured nationally and internationally to BERLIN TANZTAGE Festival, Dock 11 / Berlin, Dimitria International Festival, The DUMBO Festival and Wave Rising Series in New York City, The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, Velocity Dance Center in Seattle, and the 5th Athens International Dance Festival among others.

Mr. Adoniou has received the prestigious Isadora Duncan Award, a 2005 Goldie Award, and choreographic excellence awards from the James Irvine Foundation and Dance/USA, San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Family Fund, and the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography. He was part of the 2008 American delegation to Tanzmesse in Dusseldorf, and as an acknowledged master teacher, he conducts classes and workshops across the United States and Europe. 

Choreographic Fellow | March 30 – April 19, 2008

raqs al moza

Adoniou and collaborators dissected humor by studying particular sources that either produces humorous situations or funny reactions for the viewer. Yannis felt that by understanding where and how humor can be found and accessed, we can all experience it more easily, which could allow for vitality and lightheartedness to be breathed into performance again rather than a solemn and sacrosanct regard that is sometimes expected. Through various methods, they studied and measured audience response to various props, sound scores, juxtaposition, lighting, movement speed, and verbal expression.

raqs al moza premiered at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum in San Francisco, June 12-14, 2009.

Collaborators in Residence: Talal Al-Muhanna [filmmaker + dramaturge], Kara Davis and John Mercke [dancers]. Slideshow photos by Kathryn Noletto Felis and Shoko Letton. 

Featured Artist

Faye Driscoll

February 22 - 24
Carolina Performing
Arts, UNC Chapel Hill


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