Chara Kotsali is a choreographer and performer from Athens, Greece. She graduated from the Rallou Manou Higher Professional School of Dance, where she currently works as a teacher of contemporary dance techniques; she also teaches at the Marmarinou Professional Dance School. She further holds a bachelor’s degree in Theater Studies and a master’s degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology, as well as being trained in music. Her collaborative and individual choreographic research interests revolve around the politics of sound and image, while she attempts to engage methodologies from the field of anthropology and documentary. Her practice includes writing, field recordings and DIY music composition. As a performer, Kotsali has worked with Christos Papadopoulos, Euripides Laskaridis, Iris Karagian, Patricia Apergi and many others in Greece and abroad. She has also choreographed works of her own and made several works as a movement consultant for theater and other performing arts. As a dance teacher, she has worked with vulnerable social groups, such as women prisoners.
TO BE POSSESSED
The work To Be Possessed is a solo physical and sound performance that showcases material and aural aspects of a heteronomous DIY archive of “possessed” women drawn from a variety of cultural contexts. A dancer and choreographer who has also been trained in theater studies, anthropology, and music, Chara Kotsali is seeking to investigate the phenomenon of spirit possession via a broadened understanding of the term. By means of a disarticulated staged ritual, she engages in a trial possession, attempting to bring each of the documentary instances she encounters to life, and calling upon them to reveal their shattering and subversive nature.
Because, as she herself notes: “The possessed body; riddled with holes and manifold, rude and counterproductive, it cedes in an emancipatory and, oftentimes, healing mania. Ever since I was a teenager, I had an obsession with horror movies and especially whatever involved haunted places and demonisms. The idea of a girl or woman talking with many voices, speaking in tongues, spitting her exorcist and contorting her body in extreme ways, instilled in me a sense of fear and gratification. Years have passed and my obsessions have settled in other fields, but the sense that all is “haunted” and all people are “demonized” has morphed into a certainty. Bodies that overflow, that know languages they were never taught, bodies that step into a danger zone and at the same time become menacing. Bodies terminally outside the self, like forms of experience that defy sufficiency and autonomy of the individual. The genealogy of possessed bodies tells us on the impossibility of perfect solitude and reveals that discourse and writing, deed and conscience, the immaterial and material world are haunted by voices that preceded and voices yet to be born.”