A Christmas kiss from Greece...
As the end of the first term drew to a close, the eagerly anticipated annual Christmas party on Saturday 10th December 2016 was only a week away. The party was entitled 'Figoures and Taximia', a title chosen to describe the unification of the dancers and the musicians.
One of Jack's goals when he established Figoura, was to bring together people from all cultures, to enjoy the joys and benefits of Greek dancing and be educated by the customs and traditions of the Greek people, and the Figoura Christmas party is one such anticipated event that does just that.
The Cypriot Community Centre was chosen to host the Christmas party, considered the heart and soul of the North London Greek Cypriot community, and a venue large enough to fulfill this year's party full of dancers, musicians and special guests.
As students started flooding through the doors one could see how the event was coming together after months of hard work and preparation. For the first time we extended our Christmas party to the wider community outside of the dance classes and were also joined by a great mixture of people, some of which travelled from around the UK as well as France and Greece to be with us.
Students cheerfully greeted each other upon their arrival, found their seats together and shared drinks and stories over dinner. They did not have to wait long before the evening’s entertainment began. The night began with music by The Greek Collective, led by Pavlos Melas, which heated up the party. Shortly after a set of popular melodies and dances the room was was filled with dancers from the Figoura Performing group, dressed in full Traditional Cretan costumes. Suddenly the whispering voices of the guests in anticipation was broken by the sound of Jack's voice, calling for 12 year old Vangelis to accompany the performing group by playing on his Lyra in a traditional Cretan set. As Vangelis took to the stage he was also supported by a Laouto played by Manos Karteris.
The Figoura Performing group whilst seated in a traditional fashion at tables on the dance floor, stood up in turn coming together to perform several traditional dances. Siganos, Sousta, Syrtos, Anoyeianos Pidictos, Rodo and Priniotis. The Performing group bowed to a ruptious applause from all the guests, and set the tone for the rest of the evening.
As the Greek Collective took back to the stage, the dance floor was filled with eager Figoura students and guests, putting into practice months of hard work that they had learnt in class. As the dancing and merriment continued and the music changed to the Cretan set led by Vassilis Chatzimakris, there was still time for one last special performance. Travelling all the way from Athens, Greek folk singer Kostas Mitsis, born and raised in Preveza, Epirus, performed songs in his unique and entertaining style, captivating the audience and inciting dancing which kept the dance floor completely covered. The atmosphere was electric!
As the evening drew to an end, in true Greek tradition, guests demanded one last performance, in which Kostas obliged by performing one last song "Κοντούλα βλάχα" A cappella, and although the music had stopped, and it was time to say goodbye, the spirit of dance continued long into the night......