Cyprus Mail
Entertainment

Enter the secret garden

By Alix Norman

We’re an artistic island. Google ‘famous Cypriots’ and you’re presented with a list comprised in the main of poets, writers, musicians, painters and, of course, dancers. When it comes to the art of dance, we’re a country that excels: despite the lack of funding, the incredibly high standards in our private schools ensure this is a genre in which our locals top lists the world over. And many of these will have broken in their first ballet shoes in a performance like this week’s The Secret Garden, presented by the acclaimed Dance Frosso Hadjigeorgiou school ofLimassol.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Frosso’s school is the breeding ground for many a rare talent. So the annual performance – staged in the gardens of the Limassol Municipality, and oft attended by an audience in excess of 1,500 – is an event that’s absolutely unmissable. Not only will the dancers of the academy be delighting the crowds but amongst the performers will be a number of professionals whose distinguished careers as both dancers and choreographers began right here in the city of Limassol.

The performance itself, entitled The Secret Garden, will be not only a testament to the high standards of teaching that have made the school a huge success over the past four decades but also a delightful extravaganza of the contemporary, jazz and ballet styles. Written by Margarita – Frosso’s daughter – in collaboration with her mother, it’s a magical tale which mixes well-loved fairy stories with adored Disney characters – a winning formula for both children and adults alike. Revolving around a protagonist – played by Maria Gerasimou – the tale expounds on her connections to the fantastic people and, in turn, the stories they themselves have to tell. “We’re not recreating the classic story of The Secret Garden, rather we’re using its positive, powerful atmosphere to inspire the performance,” says Frosso.

A dynamic lady, meticulously turned out, eloquently spoken and unceasingly courteous, this doyenne of dance may not be in her first youth but she’s certainly possessed of the energy and joie de vivre which must be inspirational to her students and staff alike.

Having started the school “in a very bad year – it was 1974” Frosso has nevertheless built an establishment sans compare and any performance staged by the school is always a hit.

“This is my world,” she smiles, gesturing elegantly to the building in which she spends three quarters of her life. For the last 15 years, she’s been joined by her daughter – and a number of exceedingly talented young professionals – in the running of the school and the production of the annual performances. “We’re an exceedingly artistic family,” she laughs, “so my daughter, who co-choreographed the performance, grew up in this environment.”

One gets the feeling that dance is a way of life for both Frosso and for the many students who have studied under her exacting tutelage over the years – some of whom will be dancing in The Secret Garden. Tarcia Economidou, Fouli Stylianidou and Stella Hadjihambi – two of whom now teach at the school – will be featured in the show, alongside Maria Gerasimou – who has just won a scholarship to the prestigious The Alvin Ailey School – and Ioanna Maria Antoniou who, similarly, has received a scholarship to the CAPA School in South Africa.

Alongside the professionals, students of all ages will be delighting the crowds dressed as flowers, frogs, heroes and even minions – a nod to the Disney-like aspect of the show. “It’s symbolic,” Frosso explains. “All these creative images have been collected from fairytales, and they’re there to help the main character to mature in a positive way. The performance will be playing on two levels,” she adds. “A very professional standard, and then the younger groups who interweave, cute and nice, with a variety of techniques.”

Lit by the expert hand of Alexander Jotovic and with beautiful scenery courtesy of designer George Papadopoulous, this coming Friday promises to be a spectacular event. And in that the show is in aid of an extremely worthy local charity – Funraising – there’s every reason to play your part in making the performance a spectacular success. And who knows, one of those little minions you’re watching might one day follow in the sparkling footsteps of her compatriots, becoming a world star. Cyprus, after all, is a hotbed of talent, and nowhere are you more likely to see a future prima ballerina than at Dance Frosso Hadjigeorgiou performance.

The Secret Garden
Presented by Dance Frosso Hadjigeorgiou, 8.30pm on Friday, July 18 in the Municipal Gardens of Limassol. Entrance is €13 for adults and €9 for children under 12. Tickets are available from the ballet school and the ticket office of the theatre, as well as online at buy.tickethour.com. For further details of the performance, contact Dance FrossoHadjigeorgiou on 22 355156, visit the Facebook page dancefrossohadjigeorgiou or the website http://techprs.com/frosso

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