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Exploring rootlessness

This project took the form of a five day research and development process, exploring the creation of an art installation through the medium of vertical dance. During the last week of January 2018, Despina collaborated with dancer Lisa Spaull and visual artist Femke Van Gent, to explore the topics of displacement and mass migration.

The choice of topic draws on Despina's dual Greek and Welsh heritage, and the life experience which this has brought her. This includes volunteering and teaching dance classes in a refugee occupied hotel in Athens, Greece, and a wide range of encounters with people up-rooted from their homelands. As a result, she has seen the strength of human connection in uncertain environments. Roots were the central theme of this project, with goals to create a situation in which people could explore, adapt, and discuss this topic. 

Despina has lived her life between two different countries, and has seen the differences and beauty in each. The installation also explored the conflict of belonging in two different places. Unlike many of the currently displaced people in the world, she had, and continues to have, the opportunity to choose which countries she lives and visits. Therefore, this piece also tells the story of leaving material possessions behind to embark on a journey with no return. To convey this to the audience, Despina and her collaborators developed a cumulative strategy where the installation was built during the performance with every prop having a narrative function.

"I have been very fortunate to witness so many gain confidence, creativity, and connection with the physical body through dance."

-Despina Goula


Despina has taught a series of vertical dance classes in Athens, Greece. This series is the first of its kind, introducing dancers and circus artists to the safety and creation of vertical dance. These classes focus on safe use of equipment, harness techniques, pendulum training and wall running, as well as creative tasks. Despina is available to you for your own vertical dance workshops.


As a dance practitioner, Despina has been devising and delivering a range of community and educational projects across North Wales since 2011. These projects range from choreographic to performance, with all ages and abilities welcome. She has been very privileged to witness pupils gain confidence, connection to creativity, strength, and imagination through dance.

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