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Olympic Games: ‘High priestess’ in Olympic Torch ceremony named

(ATHENS NEWS AGENCY) The Plenary Session of the Hellenic Olympic Committee on Wednesday decided unanimously that the High Priestess of the Lighting Ceremony for the XXIX Olympic Games “BEIJING 2008”, on the 24th of March, will be the actress, Ms. Maria Nafpliotou. Maria Nafpliotou is the 10th High Priestess in the history of the Olympic Flame and the 9th in the history of summer Olympic Games. Also, the Plenary Session of the Hellenic Olympic Committee decided that Mrs. Artemis Ignatiou, will be the choreographer of the Lighting Ceremony in the place of Mrs. Maria Horss who retired, after 50 years of invaluable contribution.  
Nafpliotou got a diploma from the state affiliated professional dance school of Rallou Manou. She had also won a scholarship for the state school of Classical dance in Leningrad in the former Soviet Union.She started a very successful professional career as a dancer and theater, cinema and TV actress, earning positive comments both from the public and the critics.From 1987, she was a core member of Rallou Manou’s dance troupe “Elliniko Chorodrama.” Her first performance on stage took place in winter 1999 with Greece’s National Theater when she held the role of Katherine in Tennessee Williams’ “Suddenly Last Summer”.She also took roles in many performance of Shakespeare drama with the National Theater of Greece.She made her debut in the cinema with the Greek film “The Island”. In 1996, she held the leading female role in Alexandros Papailiou’s film “Niovi dances her life”. In 2005, she got the best actress award in Cairo’s International Film Festival for her role in Grigoris Karadinakis “Chariton’s Choir” film.Maria Nafpliotou is fluent in English, while literature, music, dance and cinema are her hobbies.