was born in Crete in 1965 as the youngest of six brothers. He first performed on stage with the Young Theatre Crete, but as the opportunities for studying dance and theatre on the island were very limited, he went to Athens after finishing school to study dance at the State University there from 1983 to 1987. While still a student, he was able to see performances by the Tanztheater Wuppertal in Athens. “I felt like I belonged there”, he says today. After the performance he went backstage, kissed Pina Bausch on both cheeks and thanked her. From then on, he knew where he wanted to go and was prepared to do whatever it took to get there. During a job in Greece he heard about an audition in Wuppertal. He got on a train and travelled through the former Yugoslavian countries for three days to get to Munich. The journey was considered so unsafe that his fellow passengers locked the train compartment from the inside. From Munich he continued on to Wuppertal. After this odyssee, Pina Bausch welcomed him in the Lichtburg with a long hug.
However, there was no place for him in Wuppertal, only at the Folkwang Tanzstudio. He danced there from 1989 to 1992, performing in works by Urs Dietrich, Susanne Linke and Mark Sieczkarek. During this time he also occasionally joined the Tanztheater Wuppertal as a guest dancer for performances and tours. In 1993, he finally became a full-time member of the ensemble. Between 1993 and 2009 he danced in every new piece and also took over roles in older pieces. In 2002, Pina Bausch asked him to be her assistant. He recalls: “I was supposed to keep my eyes and ears open, observe everything and keep detailed notes.” It was a revelation for him, “a beautiful collaboration”. He tried to write down every little detail, until his hand hurt so much that he couldn’t write anymore. Pina Bausch suggested that he try to write with his left hand. “Then I realised that you just need to clear your mind and find a different solution.”
Today, Daphnis Kokkinos is a rehearsal director for re-stagings and transmission projects (including on For the Children of yesterday, today and tomorrow in Munich), and also works as an independent teacher and choreographer. Recently he has taught actors in Paris and dance students in Lithuania. In the Autumn of 2019 he presented a piece about Medea and Maria Callas at the Sculpture Park Waldfrieden as part of Underground, which was also performed in Greece. “Pina Bausch brought so much love into the world. I am glad that I was a part of it and that I am still here to help preserve her work and develop it further.”