On 30 of October 2022, the last day of the Jozi Book Fair festival taking place at the Workers Museum in Newtown, in Johannesburg, there was a dancing session facilitated by Christos Daskalakos.
Daskalakos (64) is from Winstonrich, Johannesburg. Daskalakos is an academic, a lecturer, a dancer, and a facilitator. He holds qualifications in Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (Urban Design) from Witwatersrand (Wits), as well as BArch, Prof Arch ARB (United Kingdom).
Daskalakos, began his dancing adventure in his early 20s when he enrolled at the Moving Into Dance. He turned his growth in dancing to Biodanza in 2001. “I’ve always wanted to dance from a young age. I’ve always been a dancer and when I met Sylvia Glasser in 1978 I was 20, I went to a workshop [and] I just fell in love with creative movement, improvisation, and everything, and then from there I started training and dancing,” remembers Daskalakos.
Biodanza uses a vivencia methodology, giving more importance to the real observation more than the verbal information. This allows it to start from the internal without the intervention of repression of mental processes. “I got interested to Biodanza because as a performer you work so hard to train and prefect movements and that can get so exhausting. Biodanza was not like that, I liked how it was free and fun, and you enjoy the dance. I got attracted to it because I saw how exciting it was, then I started training as a facilitator.”
“A few tips I would give to aspiring dancers and choreographers is well, firstly I started as a technical dancer and I did Biodanza. And I would say what makes a fantastic dancer is someone who is connected in a way of their own being, from feelings and emotions, so yes do go to classes, acquire all the technical stuff but always do something that is about you. Do anything that will connect you to how you feel because in a technical class you will not be able to do that, you get worried about your body. Some of the most amazing dancers like the ballet Margot Fonteyn, were not the top dancers but they had a passion and knew how to express their emotions, so it makes it real for the audience to connect with how real you are when you are content with who you are. The audience will see it and will love it, do your training but do not forget where your heart is,” adviced Daskalakos.
“I had a lot of fun with this session, I always do. I did not know who would come and what it would be like, some of the work was improvised on the spot, when it comes to something like workshops I keep it basic, so a lot of energy, a lot of fun but basic if one’s not doing Biodanza regularly it can get challenging. I need to be aware of the people I have in the session because some are shy, some reserved so I did not want to be working with a lot of heavy emotions apart from joy for it represents a safe place. The session is designed to be simple but with joy and euphoria,” said the veteran dancer.
Mary Tshilande (21), from Protea Glen, Soweto is an academic and an aspiring actor was part of the Biodanza workshop. “The session was so relaxing, it was more of a ‘monkey see, monkey do’ situation, the energy was high and upbeat with different dances and incredible movements. It had parts of meditation which made me feel so relaxed, which is good because I had lots of tension before the workshop, doing this helped [me] because it was fun and made [me] feel awake for the course of the day,” reflected Tshilande.
“The session was so welcoming, the facilitator makes you feel free and he is inclusive, there is no worry about the body, [and] there is no judgement. The session needs you to be in the moment so you can have fun and let go of every worry or stress you may have about yourself and just have fun. The workshop made me happy because I woke up not feeling well in the morning so the Biodanza movement made me feel calm. As a dancer, I learnt that I need to attend technical classes and would like to attend classes for Biodanza because I aspire to be a choreographer this is something I would definitely do in my sessions. I would like to attend Christos Daskalakos’s training sessions because he has patience and works on understanding the people he is working with,” said Nokuthula Chabalala (20), also from Protea South, Soweto, and, who is also an actor and a dancer.
Mzwakhe Ntlakane (26) who is a rehearsal trainer, performer and actor said, the Biodanza workshop made me feel free undistracted by others.
“As a rehearsal trainer, Biodanza is definitely something I would do to get performers free and in tune with themselves. As an African man dance is a form of a story itself, I loved how Biodanza connected everyone in the group”, added Ntlakane.
Biodanza is about connecting with yourself and that makes the movement such a wonderful experience.
This article was submitted on 30 October 2022. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.