Esplanade Presents

Theatre | Dance

Transverse Orientation

Dimitris Papaioannou (Greece)

26 Aug 2022, Fri, 8pm

27 Aug 2022, Sat, 8pm

View dates and time

1hr 40mins

(Intermission: None)

Esplanade Theatre

This event is over.

Photo Credit: Julian Mommert
Photo Credit: Julian Mommert
Photo Credit: Julian Mommert
Photo Credit: Julian Mommert
Photo Credit: Julian Mommert
Photo Credit: Julian Mommert

"Dimitris Papaioannou, a master of contradictions. He’ll create sublime tableaux and then puncture the moment with absurdity; and cross beauty with disgust, wonder and comedy." — The Guardian


"A long act of artistic magic created before our eyes by the superbly precise performers” — The New York Times


“Transverse Orientation demonstrates yet again what a masterful theatrical magician and imagist Papaioannou is.” — The Times


Greek theatre stage director, choreographer and visual artist Dimitris Papaioannou returns to Singapore with his latest full-length creation,  Transverse Orientation. 


A master of visual spectacle, Papaioannou blurs the lines between theatre, choreography and live performance to transform bodies and objects by illusion. Taking inspiration from the natural behaviour of moths to seek light, Transverse Orientation follows the human compulsion to find meaning on the journey of life. With its evocative imagery enveloped by the music of Vivaldi, the work depicts chaos, reconstruction and metamorphosis, exploring existential themes using scenes, symbols and figures from mythology and art history.


Since premiering in June 2021, this contemporary masterpiece has toured to more than twenty cities in Europe and America. Now, it arrives in Singapore, bringing one of the most renowned names in the international arts scene to mark the return of live international presentations for Esplanade’s da:ns programming.


Papaioannou gained early recognition as a painter and comics artist, and came to international prominence following his direction of the 2004 Olympic ceremonies in Athens. In 2018, he created Since She for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, becoming the first artist to set a new full-length work for the company. Transverse Orientation was nominated for Best New Dance Production by the Olivier Awards in 2022.


Rating: R18 (Nudity) Please note that this production contains scenes of male and female nudity.

Latecomers will not be admitted until a suitable point in the performance (if any).

All patrons need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Patrons will be required to verify their vaccination status at the venue. Mask-wearing is required for all indoor events.

There will be a post-show talk with Dimitris Papaioannou on 27 Aug.

Admission Age:
18 and above
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Artist Information

Dimitris Papaioannou

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Vimeo

Born in Athens in 1964, Dimitris Papaioannou gained early recognition as a painter and comics artist, before his focus shifted to the performing arts, as director, choreographer, performer, and designer of sets, costumes, make up, and lighting.


He was a student of the iconic Greek painter Yannis Tsarouchis before studying at the Athens School of Fine Arts.


He formed Edafos Dance Theatre in 1986 as an initial vehicle for his original stage productions, hybrids of physical theatre, experimental dance, and performance art.


Originating in the underground scene, the company challenged perceptions and gained an expanding number of dedicated followers. Medea (1993) marked the company’s transition to big theatres and is considered its iconic work. The Edafos company spanned 17 years to 2002, and set its indelible stamp on the arts scene in Greece.


Papaioannou became widely known in 2004, as the creator of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games.


Restarting in 2006, with his production 2, he found himself in the odd position of creating avant-garde works in major theatres in Athens that enjoyed record-breaking long runs, with over 100,000 tickets sold.


In 2009, he began using this platform to create theatrical experiments on a large scale: Nowhere (2009) for the inauguration of the renovated Greek National Theatre and Inside (2011) for the Pallas Theater.


In 2012, stripping down his work to bare essentials, he created Primal Matter for the Athens Festival, with him back on stage after a ten-year absence.


On the same quest for simplicity, he created Still Life (2014), the first work that toured extensively in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia.


In 2015, he created the Opening Ceremony for the Baku 2015 First European Games.


Papaioannou’s 25 productions range from mass spectacles with thousands of performers, to intimate pieces, and have appeared in a wide variety of venues, from his famous underground squat theater in Athens, to the ancient theatre in Epidaurus, and from Olympic stadiums to Théâtre de la Ville – Paris, and Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza.


In 2017, he created The Great Tamer, his first international co-commissioned work with ten co-producers, including the Festival d’Avignon. The Great Tamer toured for two and half years, through four continents, 23 countries and 38 cities. It was presented a total of 112 times, before over 90,000 spectators. The work was bestowed with the special award Europe Theatre Prize in Rome in 2017, and Papaioannou was nominated in 2019 for the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.


In 2018, Dimitris has become the first artist to create a new, full-length work for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. Since She premiered in May 2018 in Wuppertal (Germany) and was presented in Amsterdam, London, Athens, Paris, and Catanzaro.


In September 2020, he premiered Ink, a duet performed by Šuka Horn and Dimitris Papaioannou at the Torinodanza Festival.


His latest work Transverse Orientation premiered in June 2021 and is scheduled to be presented in more than 30 cities around the world. The production was nominated as Best New Dance Production by the Oliver Award in 2022 in London.


Read more:


Dimitris Papaioannou: Making dance theater with a painter’s eye


Dimitris Papaioannou: “I believe I’m a choreographer of illusions”

Production Credits

Conceived – Visualized + Directed by Dimitris Papaioannou
With Damiano Ottavio Bigi, Šuka Horn, Jan Möllmer, Breanna O’Mara, Tina Papanikolaou, Łukasz Przytarski, Christos Strinopoulos, Michalis Theophanous


Music Antonio Vivaldi
Set Design Tina Tzoka & Loukas Bakas
Sound Composition + Design Coti K.
Costume Design Aggelos Mendis
Collaborative Lighting Designer Stephanos Droussiotis
Music Supervisor Stephanos Droussiotis
Sculptures + Special Constructions - Props Nectarios Dionysatos
Mechanical Inventions Dimitris Korres


Creative - Executive Producer + Assistant Director Tina Papanikolaou
Assistant Directors + Rehearsal Directors Pavlina Andriopoulou & Drossos Skotis
Assistant to the Set Designers Tzela Christopoulou
Assistant to the Sound Composer Martha Kapazoglou
Assistant to the Costume Designer Aella Tsilikopoulou
Special Constructions - Props Assistant Eva Tsambasi
Photography + Cinematography Julian Mommert


Technical Director Manolis Vitsaxakis
Assistant to the Technical Director Marios Karaolis
Stage Manager – Sound Engineer + Props Constructions David Blouin
Props Master Tzela Christopoulou
Lighting Programmer Stephanos Droussiotis
Set adaptation Evangelos Xenodochidis
Costumes Construction Litsa Moumouri, Efi Karantasiou, Islam Kazi
Stage Technicians Kostas Kakoulidis, Evgenios Anastopoulos, Panos Koutsoumanis
Lighting Constructions Miltos Athanasiou
Silicone Baby made by Joanna Bobrzynska-Gomes
Props Team Natalia Fragkathoula, Marilena Kalaitzantonaki, Timothy Laskaratos, Anastasis Meletis, Antonis Vassilakis


Executive Production 2WORKS in collaboration with POLYPLANITY Productions
Executive Production Associate Vicky Strataki
Executive Production Assistant Kali Kavvatha
Props Production Manager Pavlina Andriopoulou
International Relations + Communications Manager Julian Mommert


A production of ONASSIS STEGI
Created to be premiered at ONASSIS STEGI (2021)


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 Performance


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, 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

Date & Time

26 Aug 2022, Fri


Esplanade Theatre

27 Aug 2022, Sat


Esplanade Theatre
There will be a post-show talk
Tickets & Prices

Students, NSFs & Seniors

Cat 1 $100 - $32
Cat 2 $80 - $32
Cat 3 $60 $48 $32
Cat 4 $40 $32 $32

Restricted View: $20

Esplanade&Me Specials

(Applicable to Cat 1 and Cat 2 tickets)


Early Bird (19 May – 2 Jun 2022)
Black and White: 20% savings
Discover: 15% savings

From 3 Jun 2022
Black and White: 15% savings
Discover: 10% savings

Package of 4: 15% savings

(Applicable to Cat 1 tickets only)
Purchase 4 tickets with at least one ticket to Transverse Orientation and Tree of Codes.

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