On a beautiful starlit summer evening in a charming outdoor amphitheater built of marble stones atop a mountain village on an island in Greece—it sounds like a fairy-tale. Indeed it is in many ways.
The village of Lefkes on the island of Paros, the center of the Cyclades islands in Greece, is charming. I have built a relationship with this village and other villages on Paros through their children, who are real charmers. Bright, open, truly child-like, mischievous, playful, independent. It is wonderful to see them soak up the joy of CDI.
The blend of cultures and the high level of various artists in Greece and on Paros is astonishing. The Greeks are for the most part an enthusiastic, curious and passionate people. There is also a lot of contradiction, confusion and chaos. Both the people and the land have a profound unity and at the same time a constantly renewed diversity.
Last year, the village of Lefkes hosted Ageranos Kyklos. With origins in the homonymous ancient Cycladic dance Ageranos, a representation of the myth of Theseus, Ageranos Kyklos aims to research, revive and preserve the traditional art-forms of Paros and the wider region of Cyclades. The week of workshops in music, dance, instrument making and theater ended with a literal and figurative “moving” performance, which started with a CDI dance in the Lefkes amphitheater and then a musical stroll through the village, with all joining along the way in traditional songs and dances. This was magical.
This year’s magic in Lefkes came about through a friend met at last year’s Ageranos Kyklos festival. A beautiful singer and wonderfully creative musician, Sofia Adrianou, put together a concert, “Idiosynkratia,” that featured traditional Greek songs presented in other styles augmented by dance. From Flamenco, to Greek customs and dances, to a ballad and swing. I danced to the ballad and the children danced the upbeat swing section.
I worked with children in the villages of Paroikia and Naousa initially preparing the material. Then I put out the word to the children in Lefkes that I had worked with the previous year, going there and telling them, in my Greek and their English, that if they were interested, just show up on the Saturday of the show and I would teach them the steps. Seven boys came. Really unusual for here. Being familiar with CDI methodology, they learned quickly. Combining the children from the different villages was wonderful. The Lefkes audience of 600 loved it and the performance has been shared with people throughout Greece.