Looking for a way to showcase the dancers of the Manasis School of Greek Dance and Culture to the people that mean so much to them, their grandparents, Deon Manasis set about organising a little concert in the dancing hall.
A chance for the grandparents to view a class in progress, they can celebrate the cultural education their grandchildren are receiving through traditional folk dancing and music.
“What prompted me to do this was my relationship with my grandparents,” explained Manasis, “they meant the world to me. “It’s a way for us to show them that although we may never experience what they’ve experienced or seen what they’ve seen, we want to acknowledge what they’ve done for us. To leave a country you were born and raised in to go to the other side of the world when most of them hadn’t even left their village.
“And everything they passed and everything they struggled to do just for the dream of a better life not knowing what that better life was. And now this is the fruit of that seed that has grown.”
The concert initially started off as a small yiorti in the dancing hall that grew and grew over the years. The year after the first show, the grandparents were so excited to be part of this they started making pites and turning it into a small party.
Two years ago, the cultural group hired out the Bentleigh Secondary College theatre which fits 500 people because the demand for this event was so huge. Now, the group is selling out the Kingston City Hall that fills 1200 people, a phenomenal response.
“A lot of the grandparents of our students can’t attend the dinner dances where there is a lot of hustle and bustle, sound and a lot of movement,” said Manasis of the show’s success.
“They prefer something short and sweet to watch, enjoy and celebrate what their grandchildren have learnt. We offer them a sit down theatre concert.” Manasis said the concert will present dances from all parts of Greece, with popular style dances and traditional folk dances from isolated villages that really haven’t been exposed to tourism yet.
“Every class is presenting a certain type of Greek dance, a certain era,” said Manasis. “So we have kids as young as three performing right up to our young adults some in full traditional Greek costumes from different regions. A lot of the show is choreographed and set for the stage.”
Grandparents Day Concert will be held on Saturday June 18 at Kingston City Hall, 985 Nepean Highway, Moorabbin. Doors open 3.30 pm and show starts 4.00 pm. Tickets are $10.00 and selling fast.