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Giannis Mantafounis

Greek dancer and choreographer, Giannis Mantafounis received the important distinction of "Outstanding Male Dancer” at the Prix Suisse de la Danse 2015. This institution seeks to showcase the independent Swiss dance scene by awarding prizes every two years. In doing so, the Federal Ministry of Culture honours the creative career and contribution of artists who have played a major role in Swiss dance at national and international level.

Giannis Mantafounis, son of the renowned choreographer Haris Mantafounis and the outstanding dancer and dance instructor Yvonne Mandafouni-Städler, began his studies at the Greek National School of Dance, and completed them at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris with a scholarship from the Onassis Foundation.

He began his professional career as a dancer with the corps de ballet of the Gothenburg Opera and his constant striving to perfect his art, and exceptional talent led him to join international troupes such as the Nederlands Dans Theater ?? and the William Forysthe troupe. He also began to get involved in choreography and in 2004 partnered with Katerina Skiada and Anastasis Gouliaris to found the Lemurius dance troupe and in 2009 joined with Fabrice Mazliah and May Zarhy, who were also dancers from the Forsythe troupe, to create the mamaza dance troupe.

He has appeared at some of the most important Greek and international festivals and dance theatres (Athens and Epidaurus Festival, Kalamata International Dance Festival, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Kampnagel, TanzHaus NRW, Hellerau Festspielhaus), and in Greece has been conferred to State Prize for Best Male Dancer (2001). Moreover, in 2011 he was chosen to participate in Modul-dance, a programme to support the mobility and advancement of artists, which featured 20 dance theatres from 16 European countries.

In his international career as a dancer and choreographer has explored experimentation, research and un-conventional forms, and as he himself has said “dance can cause a particular type of vibrational shift within the individual, that touches him on so many levels that it is perhaps his own particular contribution to the human experience”.