Born in Athens in 1981, Ioannis Mandafounis studied dance at the National School of Athens and then at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris (CNSMDP).
Before becoming a freelance choreographer, he was part of the Gothenburg Opera Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater II, and the Forsythe Company (2005 to 2009).
In parallel, he started making his own work, in Athens with “Lemurius Company” (from 2005), in Geneva with Fabrice Mazliah and their « Cie Projet 11 » (from 2007) and in Frankfurt with May Zarhy and Fabrice Mazliah and their « MAMAZA » collective (from 2009). From 2015 onwards, Ioannis assumed alone the artistic direction of his Geneva-based company « Cie Ioannis Mandafounis », inviting for each project new artists to collaborate with him.
Ioannis also teaches improvisation workshops and classical ballet from his specific approach as a Martial Arts (Budo) practitioner.
In 2015, he received the Swiss Dance Awards in category Outstanding Male Dancer.
Throughout his years of intense performing as well as personal training, notably practicing « Budo » martial art, Ioannis has developed a methodology of movement and choreography which defines his artistic signature today. He considers the stage as an extension of his everyday behaviour and always tries to share his personal feelings and presence with his audience in the most direct and natural way. In order for this to work, every movement and every intention must be interpreted from the depth of the performer’s soul, reaching the emotional level where deeply felt movement lies. Only there, at its deepest expression, can a movement be delivered untouched, untransformed and in its purest form. In order for the spectators to be truly affected by a performance, the performers must deliver something real to their audience. They must basically offer and expose themselves.
Ioannis uses this emotional approach in his work so as to increase the performer’s presence and his/her ability to connect with the audience.