High school student Jack Pantelios made Greeks of the diaspora feel incredibly proud when, together with a group of his school friends, he turned his school yard into a dancing stage, when he danced a ζεϊμπέκικο during the annual ‘Multicultural Day’ celebrations, held at Adelaide’s Nazareth Catholic College last week.
“Greek dancing is in my DNA and so is Greece,” said the year 9 student in an interview with Neos Kosmos.
“I started dancing when I was six years old. My father, who is a great dancer, taught me and my older brother how to Greek dance at home and I also attend the Port Adelaide Greek School where I am also a member of the dancing group,” says Jack, whose parents originate from the island of Rhodes and the Peloponnese region.
The teenage student was born in Australia and although English is his first language, his Greek is certainly impressive for a third-generation Greek.
Jack doesn’t think so.
“I am not entirely happy with the level of my competency in the Greek language but when it comes down to remembering the lyrics to a Greek song, somehow the words resonate and I don’t forget them that easily,” says the 15-year-old Jack.
Nazareth College is a co-educational catholic school that encourages diversity and multiculturalism. Once a year, the school organises a Multicultural Day event during which students of various nationalities and backgrounds are given the opportunity to participate and celebrate their cultural backgrounds.
“There are a lot of Greek, Italian, and Japanese students at our school but the Greek culture is certainly the strongest one amongst the students.”
The video of Jack and the rest of his school friends dancing ζεϊμπέκικο was uploaded onto social media and went viral within a few minutes from posting.
“Initially it was just our ‘Greek’ group dancing but slowly more people joined in and at the end we all formed a circle and danced the Zorba. It was great to watch everyone come together to celebrate our culture,” says Jack who, with his good friend Thanasis Sennis, are considered to be the best Greek dancers at their school.
“We are all very proud of our heritage and share the same passion about everything Greek,” in fact he has also just started taking bouzouki lessons and is already looking forward to his second trip to Greece next summer.
“We went to Greece as a family five years ago and it was the best six weeks of my life. I was finally able to wake up to Greek music, taste traditional Greek food, mix with the locals and discover the real meaning of the word filotimo,” says Jack.
“To me, Greece is the best place in the world and I can’t wait to be back there soon.”
See the video below: