Art in Motion is an international association of inspiring personalities, whose aim is to create unique artistic moments with positive energy, physical movement and a common vision.
Marilena Grafakos graduated from the University of California in Los Angeles with a degree (BA) in Choreography and Performance and her “Master degree” was received in Musical Theater from the United States International / Alliant University, School of performing Arts in San Diego, California.
Marilena worked as an actress in musicals such as, “Hello Dolly”, “Chorus Line”, “The Apple Tree”, “Matador”, “The Boom Boom room” and “Molly's Dream”. As a dancer she has worked for the Pointer Sisters, Salt and Pepa, En Vogue, Debbie Reynolds, ATC, Mariah Carey and other European artists.
Her choreographic work began at an early age during her studies when she developed, choreographed and produced six original shows. At that time, Marilena Grafakos was featured as a young choreographer in the American cable television (Prancing Dancing and A / PIPER productions) .
After studying Marilena began to choreograph in the US for Musicals (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Oklahoma, Earthkalah) Ballet and Modern Dance companies like the Las Vegas Civic Ballet, the Mira Mesa Ballet Company, the California Ballet and Dance Ensemble Opus.
In 1996 Marilena moved to Germany and started collaborating with the Belgian group “Magic Force” and toured Europe with the project "Body and Soul". The aim of the project was to increase awareness to young people for a healthier way of life without alcohol and drugs. The major European record company “BMG Ariola” supported the project and produced three songs for it.
Between 1996 and 2002, Marilena Grafakos choreographed the German “Inside out” world tour for Culture Beat. Other Artists Marilena worked for as a choreographer include the following: The Free, UNS5, charisma, Gigi D'Agostino and ATC. In addition, she has choreographed fashion shows (Ecoly) and events for VW, Mercedes Benz, Karstadt, Hertie, Esprit, Peter Hahn, Ms Baden-Württemberg pageant, Ambrose Heim and CPD promotional appearances for Movie / Interjeans. On television, you could see Marilena's work in "Tiger Enten Club" and in SWR. A commercial highlight of Marilena’s work was the summer of 2006, during which she was engaged as a guest choreographer and coach for the 5th season of the talent PRO 7 TV show “Popstars”, which produced “MONROSE” one of the most successful girl bands in Germany.
From 1996 until the Summer of 2008 she also served as the Director and Choreographer for the Manhattan Dance Company in the New York City Dance School in Stuttgart. Marilena's choreographic work for this Company was honored three times: in 1997 in Freiburg with “Firestarter”, in 2000 in Ettlingen with “Shimmering Light” and in 2002 in Gland Switzerland again with “Firestarter”.
In order to continuously develop new ideas, gain new experiences and produce interesting projects she has cooperated with other choreographers. Her collaboration with Patricia Wolf in “Salt & other stories” in 2001 and in 2002 received excellent reviews.
In 2004, she collaborated with the Holodeck Dance Center and Liane Klein to organize and produce the First Hip Hop Summer Dance Festival in Germany. Some of the most famous American choreographerswere invited at this event. The mega dance event was repeated successfully in 2005. Internationally at the same time in 2004/05 Marilena has choreographed for the “Fun-Sports Activities” Company in Crete and in “Art and Dance Festival” in Volos, Greece.
In 2006 Marilena conceived, directed and choreographed her own musical “A day to remember” with her first independent group, the “Art in Motion” Dance Project and was performed in Forum Theatre, Stuttgart and in Stadthalle, Speyer. Since its inception “Art in Motion” Dance Project has been featured in 2010 at the ZDF TV production "Swinging Sixties" with Thomas Gottschalk (famous German Moderator), in 2012 at the City Orchestra Ostweill for a ballet premiere 'Saga' in Forum Theatre, Ludwigsburg and in 2014 at Haller Annual Gala in Plochingen. The “Art in Motion” Project has also been successfully featured in Dance Festivals such as Temple, Karlsruhe and Modern Open Stage in Ludwigsburg the last few years. “Twist or Diary?”, the first independently produced Performance from “Art in Mortion” was presented on December 2014 in Stuttgart, Feuerbach with huge success. Her “Art in Motion” Project has also been and is present at her home country Greece with works such as “Zoe” and “Beat Generation” which were presented in the Athens Video Festival in 2012 and 2015.
Since 2008 and up to now Marilena has been a professor in Jazz and Choreography at the Minkov Dance Academy in Winnenden and has been directing the yearly Galas of the Academy featuring third year students. She has been teaching and organizing workshops around the world in Jazz, Modern, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, Experimental, Contemporary, Lyrical, Partnering and Choreography. She has personally taught in Dance Academies and Universities in the United States of America, Europe and recently in Asia.
In 2012 and 2013, Marilena was invited to choreograph for the State Opera Russe in Bulgaria and in 2014 she was engaged to choreograph the Musical “Fiddler on the roof” for the city of Weinstad, Germany
Marilena directed and choreographed “Subway’ the Minkov Annual Gala in July 2015. It was an original production with an original script (Marilena/Severin) and music written by Severin Hardy and Occular Productions. In 2016 she organized the Dance Gala “Art in motion & Friends” inviting known local dance companies with great success.
2017 was the year to expand her collaboration with India with “the Danceworkx” and “Navdhara India Dance Theater” in Mumbai and Delhi Dance Academy in New Delhi. Also her choreography “Inner Scream” was featured in the 2017 Video Dance Festival in Almada, Portugal.
She has been visiting India the last three years working with Navdhara Indian dance Theater, Shiamak Dawar group and Barry John Acting school in Mumbai. She collaborated with Delhi Dance Academy and taught/choreographed in Bangalore at the Left Foot Right Danceworks, Meeraqi and Swingers Dance organizations.
In 2018 Marilena also appeared as an actress in the original play “Wertmüll” at the Jes Theater in Stuttgart where she is also in rehearsals for the play the “Imaginary Invalid” by Moliere coming up at the end of year 2019.
2019 has definitely been a positive year for Marilena as a producer-director since her short dance film “Bedroom Stories” was officially selected at the Video Dance Festival in Almada in Portugal and at the Siliguri Short Film festival in India and lastly another short dance film of hers “The shower” was also selected at the Mobile dance Film Festival in New York.
In 2020 Marilena choreographed for the artist “Morpheus” the song “Lautlos” with 6.200.000 views. During Covid time few things happened but she managed to film “The elevator Box’ a project which was a semi Finalist in Madras Independent Film Festival and 4thdimensionfilmfestival.
The elevator Box was also a finalist in Beyond the Curve film festival in 2021. In 2021, through the Covid 19 lockdown she also collaborated with the Media dept of the Tübingen University and the Acapella “Ensemble Encore” to choreograph 5 dance films under the theme “SOUNDMOViES”.
In 2022 Marilena choreographed the live performance show “Poetry of Movement” for the Gallery in Böblingen, Germany. One of these choreography pieces was chosen to be also performed on the 25/26 November 2022 in Karlsruhe at the Tempel Cultural Centre (Tempel Kultur Zentrum) for the Festival of dance short performances.
As of January 2023 Marilena will be a part time professor in Musical Theater at the Deree American College in Athens.
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