Postcard from... Athens


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Some whirled their torsos on the wooden floor, their legs swivelling in the air. Others stood upside down spinning their heads to the sounds of hip hop while enthusiastic crowds applauded until the early hours of yesterday morning.

The dancing dynamism  resonated in a country  crippled by austerity. At the Blaze Master Jam International, a hip hop and breakdancing festival, men and women competed for hours. “We aim to bring smiles to people, people who are miserable and look for a way out of the pain during these days of crisis,” said Pavlos Zeitinidis, the event’s organiser.

Breakdancing might not solve Greece’s problems – last week’s bond sale and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit did not instantaneously boost incomes or find work for the unemployed.

But as events like these gain fame, organisers suggest they could even provide alternative tourism and boost the economy. Meanwhile, breakdancing gives Greek youths, who have bene pummelled by austerity with 61 per cent now unemployed, a healthy outlook. “I break my routine, I unload and forget myself whenever I dance – it’s my driving force,” said Vasilis “Yami” Giamaios, 23, who is studying to become a mechanical engineer while he teaches for extra money.