Dances of humanity, and the most beautiful peninsula of Europe

S. Guraziu – Ars Poetica, K 2022 (Comment)

In the last two or three weeks, from time to time (but “faithfully”) I visited the video-channel of the Greek artist, choreographer Vasilis Petropoulos (on YouTube – didn’t know about it before, lately I “discovered” his channel) .

It’s just as if with words can’t describe his wonderful work, for years now. It comes off as an abstraction, but it is not excessive if I were to say that I was amazed by the “miracle” itself, or (at least more concretely) by his tireless work, by the volume, by his dedication, artistic talent and choreographic genius.

To “map” the diversity of the dances from around the world, to present those as simply and fully as possible in a few 10-minute videos… it’s not easy at all. Individually, it is a huge endeavour, it requires studies, structural planning and systematic commitment. Almost as if UNESCO itself has not done anything “more” than this. I’m talking about the “online cartography of the cultural heritage of mankind”…

Or, it is easier to simplify, their work is essentially similar. Both UNESCO and the young Vasilis are inspired by humanity and humanism, they approach their work with unconditional love… towards culture and towards everything. As if Vasilis “justifies” his dedication with the motto “dance is the hidden language of the soul”. Being a member of the International Dance Council of UNESCO, his smile (among hundreds of improvisational dances, executed by himself for the videos) definitely has evoked the smiles of millions around the globe.

Personally, I am grateful for his commitment with all my heart and warmth. From a cultural-informative point of view, as far as the beauty and delicacy of dance is concerned, I’ve learned more in the last two weeks from his work, than in decades of my life put together.

As simple as that, probably his video-channel has accumulated millions of visits by now – not only Vasilis has impressed the audience of the world, but also as if he has managed to “prove” that the cultural complexity of human “timeline” is basically one mosaic alone; it looks clumsy to us, with the “scattered” parts… but in fact it is compact. The mosaic pieces are just “dancing”, not that there’s anything “chaotic”, on the contrary.

As if we could not point out either the completeness nor the complexity of the mosaic if we did not elevate also the perspectives a little bit. Man once believed that the earth is a flat plate, lying somewhere in the “stellar lawn” of universal infinity. With his work, Vasilis as if “insists” that the entire cultural development and advancement of peoples is actually the “same frame”, as if everything is one “global dance”, a balancing dance of the cultural “mosaic” itself.

Ie. he calls the Balkans “the most beautiful peninsula of Europe, but at the same time the most complicated and troubled“. For the Balkan peoples he stated:
“…the message (of my videography) is very simple one; PEACE! The Balkans is considered the powder keg of Europe, the keg ready to explode at any time. We must throw away this infamous title and work towards a brighter future. Work towards PEACE. Through this video I hope you can see that all the peoples of the Balkans are so similar to each other. War (verbally, or even worse, in reality) brings nothing at the end. We eat the same things, we have the same mentality, the same instruments, we have similar dances and rhythms, the list of ‘Balkan similarity’ goes on. We are powerful if we are all united, not divided.”

I already said above that perhaps we need 2-3 weeks to “graspe” the beauty of his work. But putting aside the entertainment, only the learning alone, which comes back to us as “compensation”, is worth of “our time”. We don’t finish reading a book of 400-500 pages in 1 day. The rush after work, obligations, the hustle and bustle of life in general, lately have exhausted our time resources considerably.
Of course, the lack of time is always justified. As a “simplified” line, our life itself is no different but a continuity, a time linearity of seconds, minutes, days, months (unfortunately isn’t endless : )