Summer festivities are well-underway. Unfortunately I missed the Choir Festival with all the visiting choirs from around the mainland – I believe it was a spectacular event. However, last night, I did manage to catch the final performance of the 2nd Annual Folk Dance Festival, held in the Bourtzi’s open air theatre. Hosted by the Municipality of Skiathos and Mayor Nikolaos Plomaritis it was, as always, a colourful and highly entertaining spectacle – very well attended with every seat in the house taken!
In addition to Skiathos’ own wonderful dance troupe (courtesy of Ms Panagiotis, chairman of the local Women’s Committee):
With local musicians, they performed familiar, favourite traditional dances in their stunning island dress.
We were treated to several altogether different routines and rhythms by a guest troupe, and their musicians, visiting from Veria, Magnesia, in Northern Greece:
Their costumes were very ornate; black and white heavily beaded and quite severely structured skirts, for the ladies (with interesting fur headpieces brightly adorned with very colourful flowers):
and black & white ensembles with red cummer bands for the men who each had soft moccasin-like footwear and brightly coloured striped leggings bound to the knee:
It provided an interesting contrast to the familiar colours of red, green, gold and purple of free-flowing traditional pleated dresses of the Skiathos ladies:
and black pantaloons and embroidered red, green or black waistcoats of the Skiathos men:
The event was beautifully presented throughout the evening by Athena:
following a short but informative and well-delivered introduction in English (for once!) by friend Vasilis Korallis, for the benefit of the non-Greek speaking tourists:
(A gesture very much appreciated – Thank you Mr Plomaritis!)
The rousing toe-tapping music kept everyone spontaneously singing along and clapping in time, completely enthralled from start to finish! The evening concluded with few speeches, given by the Mayor (L) and Culture representatives (Skiathos’ own: Mr Sakis Zloutadis, centre) of both regions, cementing the bond between them with an exchange of thanks, gifts and plaques to commemorate the whole memorable occasion.
With an audience eager for more, the Skiathos dancers obliged with a fine, frenzy of a finale:
Before the evening finally came to a close.
Such events are such a unique insight to the Greek cultural heritage, the people and age-old traditions of island life. It is wonderful to see it continuing, unchanged, and so proudly revered, in this modern, high-tech, ‘generic’age. I look forward to seeing it all again next year and hopefully for many, many more years to come!
Thanks to everyone involved, for a fantastic evening!
GREEK DANCE CLASSES:
If this has whetted your appetite, perhaps you’d fancy having a go yourself?
Vasilis Korallis (mentioned earlier) is an excellent dance teacher of traditional Greek dances, here in Skiathos. He regularly teaches complete beginners in small groups (min. 6) and they have such fun! So if you’re visiting Skiathos (or would like to come especially) classes can be easily arranged, anytime! – just drop me a line!