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Dance to connect (Eirini Bakoula)

Ever since I was a child I remember myself loving two things with my whole heart; my grandparents and dancing. Because I get too emotional talking about my grandparents I will instead dedicate this text to talk about my love for dancing. I began dancing when I was 5 years old, in kindergarten. I still remember the dress I was wearing and the people that came to see us during the performance for the end of the schoolyear. Something in me definitely sparked that day. I was also lucky enough to have dancing as one of the activities we had in elementary school. As if this wasn’t enough I wanted to spend as much time as I could dancing so I would beg my parents to enroll me in dance classes as an after school activity as well. However, they would insist I played basketball or took swimming lessons. In the end though, I would always end up in a room full of mirrors and loud music and somehow like that my love for dancing blossomed.

My relationship with this type of art is a relationship of love and expression because when music hits me I don’t feel any pain. One of the most amazing experiences I lived because of dancing is when I traveled with my dance crew to Berlin for the “World of Dance” which is one of the most prominent competitions in street dance culture. Coming from a small province in Greece that dancing as an art is not appreciated enough and taking part into this event became the highlight of my dance journey so far.

When we are arrived at the location the competition was taking place the cultural shock hit me. First of all, it was in the most central part of Berlin and the organization was impeccable; from the warm welcoming of the contestants to even the dj that was entertaining the crowd when we were taking breaks. One of the things that shocked me the most though was the advanced level of the dancers. Where I come from in Greece, the dance competitions are very small and not that reputable. The shows and performances I got to see that night, I would have never had the chance to see where I live in Greece. Moreover, the audience was so very warm and encouraging and everybody was dancing with each other; clicks and bad vibes had no place there.

Moments before we got up the stage and while the presenter was giving our crew an introduction, reality hit me and I just couldn’t believe that I was about to step on the stage of “World of Dance”. During the last seconds of our choreography I was trying my best to hold back my tears as I had been waiting for that moment for years and was immensely grateful to finally be living it.

Dancing has been my outlet as it gets me through the good and bad days. The main reason I love it though is because of the people that it has connected me to that come from all over the world. The dance community, or at least the one I’m in, feels like a warm hug. It is an incredible feeling to be dancing alongside people you love and can call your family. I also feel extremely lucky because the people I have met not only have helped me improve my dance skills but they have also helped me become a better person.

Dancing is sharing and when you share with one another you connect!

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