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Ep.160: Ballo greco inventato in Australia si sta diffondendo in tutto il mondo

An OPA-cize class in Melbourne's south west. Source: SBS-Abby Dinham

Un nuovo ballo greco inventato in Australia si sta diffondendo in tutto il mondo. OPA-cize è iniziato sei anni fa con una classe ed un'istruttrice a Sydney, oggi è insegnato negli Stati Uniti, in Europa e Giappone.

SCARICA la trascrizione col testo a fronte in inglese.   

Italian

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“Are we going to have a good night … yeah”

Mentre Kathy Skettos si posiziona in prima fila di una grande sala, decine di donne incominciano a incrociare i passi al ritmo di musica greca.

Ha una voce forte, è energica e danza con un entusiasmo che obbliga chi la guarda ad unirsi.

Questo è OPA-cize; parte cardio, parte disco e, secondo Kathy, 100 per cento greco.

“They’re songs we grew up with that we bring back and what we do is we add the Greek moves add the daggy aerobics fitness moves into it and it works it’s a great combination.”

Sei anni fa, Kathy era un'istruttrice di fitness latino e ha creato OPA-cize come omaggio alla sorella Mary, morta per arresto cardiaco.

Iniziato come un evento unico, OPA-cize presto ha trovato una nicchia nella competitiva industria del fitness per chi ama danzare e la cultura greca.

“Before too long I’d sold 300 tickets to this one night and I said to my husband I think there’s the potential for a business here this is crazy the reaction I’m getting.”

Muovendosi al ritmo di musica greca tradizionale e moderna, i partecipanti provengono da ogni estrazione sociale.

La Program Specialist di OPA-cize Valerie Mustafay insegna a Brisbane e racconta che le classi l'hanno aiutata a riconnettersi con le sue radici greche e a coinvolgere i suoi amici non greci.

“Initially people are a bit hesitant because they’re thinking what is this, until they get through the door then I find 99.9 percent of people come back because they love it so much.”

La danza ha inoltre creato un'opportunità per i migranti di seconda e terza generazione di apprendere il loro passato culturale.

L'istruttrice nel sud-ovest di Melbourne Dora Stankovic racconta di aver imparato a danzare da suo padre e che adesso sta passando questa tradizione alla figlia attraverso OPA-cize

“I think I would’ve liked dad to see Dahlia dance but just to show her the love of my language, well our language now and our appreciation of it and just to understand the beauty behind it.”

Dahlia Stankovic, che insegna insieme alla madre, conferma che la musica greca e le parole greche pronunciate in classe l'hanno aiutata a riprendere il linguaggio dei nonni.

“100 percent totally. Before I started this I had little to no knowledge of the Greek language and now I’ve picked up so much.”

OPA-cize è iniziato con una sola classe a Sydney sei anni fa; ora viene insegnato in quasi tutti gli stati e territori d'Australia.

La fondatrice Kathy Skettos racconta che negli anni scorsi la moda è partita anche negli Stati Uniti, in Canada, Regno Unito, Svizzera, Germania e Giappone.

Si tratta di un successo che lei attribuisce alla sorella Mary.

“I’m blown away. I look over my shoulder my shoulder to see who this person is who created OPA-cize. I don’t believe it’s me. I love the program it is wonderful and I credit it all to Mary.”

Le classi si sono trasferite online durante il lockdown per il COVID, mentre OPA-cize è stato progettato per gli anziani e quest'anno è stato lanciato OPA-cize in acqua, chiamato Aqua-cize.

Secondo Kathy Skettos l'obiettivo è mettersi in forma alla greca, con un sacco di rumore, risate e molti amici nuovi.

“Greeks are just that way inclined and our classrooms are no different, everyone is welcome at OPA-cize it’s not exclusive it’s inclusive and that’s my biggest message about OPA-cize.”

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"OPA-cize the Greek spirit of music" ... music to fade

English

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“Are we going to have a good night … yeah”

As Kathy Skettos takes her place at the front of a large hall, dozens of women start stepping side to side as the Greek music plays

She’s loud, energetic and dances with an enthusiasm that compels those watching to join in.

This is OPA-cize; part cardio, part disco and according to Kathy, 100 per cent Greek.

“They’re songs we grew up with that we bring back and what we do is we add the Greek moves add the daggy aerobics fitness moves into it and it works it’s a great combination.”

Six years ago, Kathy was a Latin fitness instructor, she created OPA-cize as a tribute to her sister Mary who died of heart failure.

Beginning as a one-off event, OPA-cize soon found a niche in the competitive fitness industry for those who love dancing and Greek culture

“Before too long I’d sold 300 tickets to this one night and I said to my husband I think there’s the potential for a business here this is crazy the reaction I’m getting.”

Moving to the beat of modern and traditional Greek music, participants come from all walks of life.

OPA-cize Program Specialist Valerie Mustafay teaches in Brisbane; she says the class has helped her reconnect with her Greek roots and bring her non-Greek friends along for the ride.

“Initially people are a bit hesitant because they’re thinking what is this, until they get through the door then I find 99.9 percent of people come back because they love it so much.”

It’s also created an opportunity for second and third generation Greek migrants to learn about their cultural histories.

Instructor in Melbourne’s south west Dora Stankovic says she was taught to dance by her father, now she’s passing that tradition on to her daughter through OPA-cize

“I think I would’ve liked dad to see Dahlia dance but just to show her the love of my language, well our language now and our appreciation of it and just to understand the beauty behind it.”

Dahlia Stankovic, who teaches along side her mother, says the Greek music and the Greek words spoken in class have helped her pick up the language of her grandparents

“100 percent totally. Before I started this I had little to no knowledge of the Greek language and now I’ve picked up so much.”

OPA-cize started with just one class in a hall in Sydney six years ago; today it’s taught in nearly every state and territory in Australia.

And in recent years founder Kathy Skettos says the craze has been taken up in the US, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Germany and Japan.

That's a success she attributes to her sister Mary.

“I’m blown away. I look over my shoulder my shoulder to see who this person is who created OPA-cize. I don’t believe it’s me. I love the program it is wonderful and I credit it all to Mary.”

Classes went online during COVID lockdowns, OPA-cize has also been formulated for the elderly and this year they launched OPA-cize in the water, they’ve called Aqua-cize.

Kathy Skettos says it’s all about getting fit the Greek way, with a lot of noise, a lot of laughs and a lot of new friendships

“Greeks are just that way inclined and our classrooms are no different, everyone is welcome at OPA-cize it’s not exclusive it’s inclusive and that’s my biggest message about OPA-cize.”

SFX 3
"OPA-cize the Greek spirit of music" ... music to fade

Report by Abby Dinham
 

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