Cyprus Mail

A chance to dance your way around the world

participants will learn 7 different dances from around the world (usage rights' free)
Participants will learn seven different dances from around the world (usage rights' free)
The Tree of Life community centre is promoting cultural togetherness with its interactive ‘International Dance Party’

“We’ve been living in fear for way too long!” exclaims Soulla Andreou. “Let’s get out and move! It’s time for an International Dance Party!”

On April 9, the Tree of Life Centre in Larnaca (of which Soulla is co-founder) will be holding a one-of-a-kind get-together for people of all ages and – most crucially – all backgrounds. A celebration of dances from around the world, the event will see participants learning and enjoying eight traditional numbers from seven facilitators: people from different countries who share a love of joyful learning and cross-cultural acceptance.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to come together,” says Soulla. “Folklore and music and dancing unify people; they’re a tried and trusted way of bringing us together, drawing us into a shared aim. You may have your own role within the dance, but everyone is working towards a common goal – that of creating something beautiful and meaningful through the medium of dance.”

Billed as “an immersive and interactive event that will take you around the world through guided dancing and cheerful music,” the International Dance Party will be facilitated by seven community members from around the globe.

“The initial idea came from Iranian Taba Ansari, a talented dancer and expert on the daf drum,” Soulla reveals. “She called us at the Tree of Life and suggested we bring together a group of people from various backgrounds to lead others in their folk dances. And of course we said yes, let’s go for it! Because it’s time to create a bit more happiness and optimism…

“We’ve all been feeling down for far too long,” she continues. “For two years, the world has been ruled by the fear of Covid. And now, just when that’s beginning to subside a little, there’s the tragic invasion of the Ukraine. Not knowing what tomorrow will bring, being afraid of each other and what might happen – these are lethal to our well-being.”

The antidote, Soulla suggests, is togetherness. “Not just going for a meal at a restaurant or a drink at a bar, but real togetherness! Real bonding through a medium that uses the whole body, lifts the emotions, breaks down the barriers, and reminds us what we, as humans, mean to each other. Dance,” she adds, “especially traditional dance, is a great way to do exactly that!”

As an art form that “raises the vibrations, gets you feeling good, and makes you come alive,” says Soulla, “dance is the ideal way to unite people from different backgrounds, of different ages, and different cultures. There’s a lot of eye contact and synchronisation: even just copying someone else, following their moves, or being guided and accepting their background and tuition breaks down barriers. And that creates happiness, energy and optimism – just what we need the most right now.”

the tree of life is all about coming together and joyful learning
The Tree of Life is all about coming together and joyful learning


In the course of the 90-minute event, participants will travel from country to country, learning and taking part in traditional dances (all of which have been chosen for their simple, uplifting steps and lively accompaniments) from as far afield as India, Colombia, and Lithuania

“First, we’ll visit South Africa with Kerry,” Soulla explains, “and dance to up-beat African music. Then it’s off to Lithuania with with Nijole and Ruta, who will show us how to dance a traditional energetic Hat Dance. We’ll call in at the magical subcontinent with an elaborate Indian dance from Chaitali; return to the Mediterranean for a rhythmic Cypriot number with Anna, and two dances from Italy with Stephania; and then cross the world to Colombia as Santiago guides us in an energetic Latin number.”

To end the event, co-host Taba will lead participants in a graceful Persian dance – “the perfect culmination to a spirited evening of joyful unity,” says Soulla. “All these wonderful people are coming together in one space to remind us of how important we are to each other. Of how we can lift each other up and walk – or waltz! –  towards a better future. And all participants need to do is show up, take pleasure in the moment, and follow a few steps…

“Of course it doesn’t matter in the slightest if you have two left feet,” she adds with a smile. “This isn’t about achieving perfection; it’s about finding happiness! Traditional dance is proven to lift the spirits, boost your dopamine and serotonin – the body’s happy hormones. It’s also a great way to create generational harmony: older people teach the younger, passing the culture’s stories and history down through the years. And lastly, dance is great for boosting energy – especially when it’s totally interactive!”

Should the evening prove a success, organisers hope to hold similar events in the future. “There’s nothing stopping us from holding more dance parties, in which we can invite facilitators from even more countries to lead us in their traditional dances,” says Soulla. “Cyprus is such a cosmopolitan country, filled with people of all of nationalities. Maybe next time round we can create even more global togetherness by learning dances from China, from Ireland, or Sweden!”

It’s this togetherness that’s the driving force behind the Tree of Life, Soulla suggests. “Do you know, during the very first lockdown, we took all our classes and courses online? But we quickly realised that it just didn’t work for our community – it’s being together face-to-face, celebrating life in person that creates those all-important connections.

“Now,” she concludes, “we’re in a place where we can actually meet in the flesh and yet still respect each other’s boundaries and personal space. And that means it’s time for something spectacular! What better than a joyful, unifying International Dance Party?”


The Tree of Life will be hosting its first International Dance Party on April 9, starting at 6.30pm. All are welcome, and entrance (with wine and nibbles) is €10. Tickets can be booked in advance by calling 96 879 000. For more information, visit the Facebook event ‘International Dance Party!



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