Stanford Live to Host the North American Premiere of Dimitris Papaioannou’s Breathtakingly Beautiful Transverse Orientationon May 14 and 15

Stanford, CA, March 22, 2022Transverse Orientation, the latest creation by groundbreaking Greek director, choreographer, and visual artist Dimitris Papaioannou, makes its North American premiere at Stanford Live on May 14 and 15 on the heels of a successful international run that included performances at Sadler’s Wells and La Biennale de Lyon.

Commissioned by an international consortium that includes Stanford Live, Transverse Orientation (which recently received an Olivier Award nomination for Best New Dance Production) is an epic evening-length work that combines sculptural bodies, hybrids, and mythical creatures with contemporary movement that oscillates between the absurd, surrealism, and dreams. Taking inspiration from the natural behavior of moths to seek light and major themes from Greek mythology, Transverse Orientation follows the human compulsion to find meaning on the journey.

“I was first introduced to Dimitris in Montreal when I attended a performance of The Great Tamer at the recommendation of many of my international colleagues” says Chris Lorway, Stanford Live’s Executive Director. “I was immediately transported into his visual world and was transfixed for the entirety of the performance––I knew at that moment that I wanted to support the creation of his next piece. I’m so excited to share this stellar work with Bay Area audiences.”

In 2018, Papaioannou was the first choreographer to create a new evening length work for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch since Bausch’s death in 2009. He also conceived and directed the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. With a background rooted in painting and visual art, Papaioannou is a true master of visual spectacle and creations that blur theater, experimental choreography, and live performance. Transverse Orientation continues his talent for visual theater, packing powerful and suggestive images that capture the painterly quality of Papaioannou’s work with choreography that transforms the human body and objects through illusion. Beauty and absurdity sit side by side, challenging traditional notions of beauty with vivid scenes that offer as much poignance as levity and humor.

For the first time, Papaioannou put together an international cast, which includes eight dancers selected from more than five hundred who auditioned. The final group of dancers––described by The New York Times as “expert puppeteers of themselves”––worked closely with Papaioannou throughout the playful, intuitive creative process.

“My works evolve during rehearsal. They are not composed beforehand,” Papaioannou says. “I prepare material only in order to kick-start the process––and most of the time, I throw it out. I’ve resolved to not know what the outcome will be ahead of time, to trust in the process. In the end, if I’m lucky, the work reveals itself, and I try to understand it, to perfect it’s meaning, to help it become clearly what it is.”

Warning: This production contains nudity
Run Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Co-Produced by Festival d’Avignon, Biennale de la danse de Lyon 2021, Dance Umbrella / Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Fondazione Campania dei Festival – Napoli Teatro Festival Italia, Grec Festival de Barcelona, Holland Festival – Amsterdam, Luminato (Toronto) / TO Live, New Vision Arts Festival (Hong Kong), Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen, Saitama Arts Theatre / ROHM Theatre Kyoto, Stanford Live / Stanford University, Teatro Municipal do Porto, Théâtre de la Ville – Paris / Théatre du Châtelet, UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performanc

With the support of Festival Aperto (Reggio Emilia), Festival de Otoño de la Comunidad de Madrid, HELLERAU – European Centre for the Arts, National Arts Centre (Ottawa), New Baltic Dance Festival, the ONASSIS STEGI – Outward Turn Program, ONE DANCE WEEK Festival, P.P. Culture Enterprises Ltd, TANEC PRAHA International Dance Festival, Teatro della Pergola – Firenze, Torinodanza Festival / Teatro Stabile di Torino – Teatro Nazionale

Funded by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

Dimitris Papaioannou’s work is supported by MEGARON – THE ATHENS CONCERT HALL

Tickets are on sale now at To read about health and safety protocols, visit our website.

Transverse Orientation
Dimitris Papaioannou
Saturday, May 14, 7:30 pm
Sunday, May 15, 2:30 pm
Memorial Auditorium
Tickets start at $32

All visitors (adults and children) coming to Stanford Live are required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 OR receive a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior to arrival onsite. Fully vaccinated means it has been at least two weeks after your final dose of a vaccine. Boosters are not required.

As of March 2, 2022 masks are no longer required for indoor performances but are strongly recommended. We encourage you to continue wearing masks for the comfort of our patrons, staff, and artists. Visit our Health and Safety page for more info. Policy is subject to change.

Patrons should stay home if they are experiencing a fever or any COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days, or have had close contact with anyone who is confirmed or is suspected of having COVID-19.

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