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Dancing in the street or how art revived Athens

29 April 2011 / 21:04:30  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova 

This Friday was much different than any other day for the people who were downtown in Athens today. From Syntagma Square to the Acropolis Museum, from 13:00 to 21:00, the Greek capital lived in the rhythm of modern dance, presenting over 100 dancers in the music of four bands.

Here's how the chairman of the Association of Greek Choreographers Petros Galias described the reason for this new and surprising presentation of street dancing:

"The International Dance Day is celebrated every year in Greece in museums or dancing halls. This year we decided to go out into the streets. People are seriously affected by the economic crisis, so we decided to do something to return the hope in the city that we love at least for a day. We went out into the streets to meet with our audience and to present ourselves to it. We want to show people that dance is not just what you see in show programs on TV. There are other dances that they might like."

The today's project was organized by the Association of Greek Choreographers with the support of the Ministry of Culture and in cooperation with the municipality of Athens, the International Dance Council of UNESCO, the Acropolis Museum and the National lyrical scene.

The performances started from Syntagma Square, where several groups danced with and without the accompaniment of music.

The dances were so catching that several girls joined the dancers and imitated their movements quite successfully.

After the square, the groups went along Ermou Street and danced in different places. Performances on Kapnikareas Square, Monastiraki and Tisio followed then. From there, the dancers headed to the pedestrian street Dionisiou Areopagitou and presented an interactive performance in front of the Acropolis Museum.

One of the performances that impressed the audience the most was the dance of the group for modern dance "Dagipoli" featuring a dancer in a wheelchair.

Georgios Hristakis told GRReporter, that the group involves people with disabilities and professional dancers. They have participated in many events, and tomorrow night they will present their new show in the Michalis Kakoyanis hall.

"Athens and many other cities in Greece are very inhospitable to the people with disabilities. But we can not constantly complain about the lack of infrastructure and stay locked in our homes. I've always been of the opinion that we should go out on the street and deal with the difficulties as we can. Then, the things take their course. There is no such a thing that could take you back so easily."

"Through my work in the group I found myself again. I learned that there are no things that I can not do. I have just thought they were impossible for me and I have not thought about the how I could achieve them in other ways" told Vivi Romana about her experience in the group.

Stella Fotiadi found herself in the place of the event quite spontaneously and despite the fact that she had to start dancing immediately without warming up she said that the choreography was wonderful. I asked her about audience’s response. "The fact that most people did not know about these events makes them even better for us. The people passing along at that time have an opportunity to break from what they do even for a minute, to take a look and then continue in their daily lives."

Besides the performances in the open today, many schools for dances held free lessons for all those who wish.

Athens will continue to offer opportunities for the entertainment of fans of dance. The 10th jubilee festival of dance will be held in four Athenian theatres from the 18th of May to the 11th of June.

According to Petros Galias, the people support the dancing art despite the crisis. "People understand that we work with love and great desire to give everything. Moreover, the tickets, especially for the performances during the festival are at very affordable prices. They were set at 5 and 7 euros, so that all who wish to come and get acquainted with our art."

What is the dance for Petros? "It is movement. If the Universe stops moving even for a fraction of a second, there would be no life. The same thing applies to the human body and the human life itself. We all are moving and dancing from the day we were born to the day in which will be gone. The only moment when we are not moving is our death. So, dance is life."

Tags: Nine musesDancing in the streetInternational Dance DayFestival
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