Greece (Skopelos)

Greek Dancing in the Dark

Last night, after a dinner down by the harbor at Στου Δημητράκη (by the way, where we dined on giouvetsi, mousaka and ekmek—more on that later), we ventured up the hill to the City School to watch a night of traditional dancing. The show started at 9 p.m. and lasted to midnight and was hosted by the Cultural & Folklore Association of Skopelos.

Jill Somer, assistant director of Skopelos Foundation for the Arts, told me that this is the first night of three end-of-year recitals for a local teacher who currently has 200 Skopelos dancers, including children to adult age groups. Here’s a poster for the festival, which I retrieved from the Skopelos News blog.

The Skopelos News blog has been a real help while we’ve been in town. Check it out for interesting articles.

As you can see from the poster, the festival continues through Sunday night and will feature ballet, modern dance, gymnastics, and musical performances.

The concert was held in a large concrete amphitheater. Dance teams performed traditional dances from various locales and regions of Greece in the dresses and suits of the respective areas.

When we arrived, many people were there, watching in the stands or chatting on the large plaza behind the dancers. People filtered in and out of the stands all throughout the night. Parents and grandparents scurried to and from the dance floor to take close-up pictures on cell phones and tablets. Some kids played in a large concrete plaza off to the side of the amphitheater.

The high school dance class

Others practiced their dances while they waited their turn to perform, adjusting their dresses and suits as they prepared. Of course, the occasional cat wandered through.

This adult dance class wound themselves slowly into a spiral and then released from it gradually.

It seemed to mostly be a local crowd, but there seem to be so many people visiting and re-visiting the island, that the definition of a “local” might be a little blurry here. (And let’s be real, that probably depends on who you ask!)

These kids make it look easy wearing their traditional Skopelos everyday wear.

At midnight when the concert concluded, we walked back to Mayorca Apartments. It was a long trek, but much of the town was still awake, talking quietly in the streets and tiny walkways. Two or three random scooters with bright headlights zoomed past while we stepped aside.

The sixth grade dance class also performed in traditional Skopelos everyday clothing.

Google Maps refused to refresh our trek, and we finally gave up, deciding instead to just keep going up and over to where we knew we would eventually find our apartment. At one point as we climbed, the stairway before me continued as far as I could see. Envision Jacob’s Ladder or the Stairway to Heaven and you’ll get the picture! Eventually, we found a landmark (what we call the stone wall), took a left, and knew we only had one final push to the summit.

Zoey, daughter of Jill Somer, associate director of Skopelos Foundation for the Arts 

The night was breezy and mild. The music was loud. The culture was “full steam ahead.”

One of the elementary school classes

Footwear varied, as it often does at kids’ dance recitals back in the United States. Some kids opted not to wear traditional dance shoes. Some girls wore black shoes and some wore shimmery pink shoes instead. A few boys wore Nikes and Converse instead of black loafers.

Another adult dance class lines up to perform.

I was fortunate to be able to see this slice of authentic Skopelos culture. Being a teacher, I had wondered where the school was located and was surprised that it was nestled right in with the hotels, homes, and businesses of this beautiful little town.

The night concluded with this final number from the adult class.

Thanks for reading! I’m planning to post a story daily on my blog while we’re in Skopelos and on the mainland. Follow my blog to get updates on new posts!