Apostoli was quite a different experience to Eleonas. We were now working with Greek Children, who surprisingly, hardly knew a word of English. This made communication quite limited, as every sentence needed to be translated by Maria, who accompanied us to the workshop, or one of the staff members at the community center. But, it was amazing to notice that as soon as we started dancing, no matter what language we spoke in, the children started following us. There were also a lot more children in our first day in Apostoli than at Eleonas; we had approximately 30 children. Moreover, there was a lot more space and technology available at the center.
We decided to improvise our choreography structure according to the children’s moods and hence, had quite a lot of freedom. We started the workshop with a few stretches, our planned introduction and the Arabic song warm-up. We then started with our choreography on Beyoncé’s Crazy and then realized that the children loved Despacito. Hence, we decided to play that song and use our previous moves to teach it. The energy of the room was wonderful, with everybody from the children to the community center volunteers to our group members, thoroughly enjoying the activity. We then decided to take a break with some story time with the hand-phrase, that we learnt from Aakash. Furthermore, we noticed that some of the children were dancers themselves, so we asked them to come forward and teach a dance and what we saw, was simply phenomenal. Most of the children played Greek songs and completely transformed the atmosphere of the room; it was electric and a pleasure to witness. We ended off the workshop with some Bollywood, Rodrigo’s brazilian dance and some more story time where the children shared some beautiful and touching stories using their own hand movements. Even though, the workshop went on for two hours and we weren’t quite prepared for that; our improvisation approach helped us make use of the extra time productively.
Overall, the workshop went off very well and we really improved from our experience at Eleonas; there was less verbal discussion, the music change was quite smooth, and we understood each other’s energy levels well. When Hetvi got tired, Lubnah and Rodrigo came in to lead for a bit and vice versa; a great support system was created.
For our next day at Apostoli, Maria suggested focusing on a choreography for the Kipseli Market event on Sunday. We decided to take that suggestion and focus on the Beyoncé Choreography for a longer period.Hence, we followed a very similar structure to the previous day’s workshop and this time, Yohannes lead the warm-up for the first time, to the bingo song. We spent a bit of time on the Beyoncé Choreography on Crazy in Love and just assembled the previously taught moves into a sequence, which the children picked up quite fast.
We had a smaller number of children on the second day but one of them, Nicoletta, was an exceptional dancer, and taught a choreography on Rolex; a favorite with the children. On the second day, the little boys were more impatient and were quite hard to manage. I also noticed a drop in energy in our group’s performance; we all seemed to be a bit tired and that was reflected in our conducting of the workshop and the overall atmosphere. Nonetheless, it was a productive workshop and we had fun, interacting and dancing with the children.