Folklore dancers tell many stories through the traditional clothes they wear, the traditional music they move to and the choreographies that were passed down to them. Many of these stories will be told at the 13th Mediterranean Folklore Dance Festival in Larnaca next weekend.
The dance festival, organised by the Cultural Heritage Association of Nicosia in cooperation with Larnaca Municipality, will bring together 14 dance groups from Mediterranean countries and 15 from Cyprus.
Speaking about the upcoming festival, President of the Cultural Heritage Association of Nicosia Rea Madella Ioannidou said “this year we celebrate the 13 years of the Mediterranean Folklore Dance Festival in Larnaca, the city that accepted, believed in and loved our festival. Our festival is an event which visitors to Larnaca, students, young people and the residents of the town all want to be part of.”
Ioannidou spoke more specifically about the festival’s programme by saying that 800 dancers from around the world will take part. She also mentioned the exhibition of traditional folklore costumes, which will open on September 14 at 8pm and remain open until October 30 at Apothikes 79 as a parallel event.
“The exhibition is based on the results of the research titled Similarities and Differences of Traditional Costumes between Cyprus and Romania. An amazing research project and job from the scientists of the Cultural Heritage Association of Nicosia and the Muresul ensemble from Romania.”
The festival will begin on Friday at Apothikes 79, after the opening of the exhibition, with a ceremony and a performance by the Muresul ensemble. The ensemble, which was established in 1956, aims at preserving some of the rich traditions, customs, songs and popular dances of the eastern Transylvanian villages, inhabited by Romanians, Hungarians and Saxons. The fact that the ensemble is the only institution in Romania that has two sections – a Romanian and a Hungarian one – gives the dancers the ability to research and appraise as many folklore dancers as possible from both local and national Romanian ethnic folklore regions.
During the opening ceremony Larnaca Mayor Andreas Vyras will welcome all to the festival. He will surely echo what he said last year, that “this festival gives people the opportunity to meet and coexist through music and dance from other countries.”
Speaking before the festival, the mayor expressed his opinion that it is an institution that fosters mutual interaction and cultural exchange. It is a way in which we can educate ourselves about culture and it is a tangible expression of culture in a globalising world, through which the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue will be the main objectives for heritage, dialogue between religions, education and youth.
The first night will end with a parade along Athinon Avenue up to the Medieval Castle Square.
Saturday will have the dancers parading once more in the streets alongside Saint Lazaros church and Ermou Squares from 11.30am, and then again at 8.30pm at Athinon Avenue up to the Seafront stage where the Muresul ensemble will perform once more along with other dance groups. Sunday and Monday will do away with the parades and just concentrate on the dancing that will start at 8.30pm on the Seafront stage at Finikoudes.
Some of the acts we can look forward to will be the local groups Nea Genia Voroklinis and the Bi-Communal Dance Group Kypros. Joining the local groups will be the Jubilat singing and dancing group from Poland, the Sopharma Zdravi dance group from Bulgaria, the Handrlak singing and dancing group from Czech Republic, the Zdravets dance group from Bulgaria, and the Klitos Kozanis dance group from Greece. Maybe the most recognisable performance of the festival will be by Dinos Kandi, who took part in the Greek reality show Ellada Ehis Talento (Greece’s Got Talent) last year. Kandi, from Aradippou, managed to climb to second place in the competition and also unofficially broke the Guinness record by balancing 202 glasses on his head.
13th Mediterranean Folklore Dance Festival 2018
Dance performances. September 14-18. Finikoudes, Larnaca. 8.30pm. Free. Tel: 99-451484. To view the full progarmme, go to http://www.reamadellaioannidou.com/productions/13th-FolkDanceFestival/program2.pdf.