Alan Bates (very young innocent 1950′s sounding English voice):
“Are you married?“
Anthony Quinn (very gruff, worldly 1950′s Greek-sounding voice):
“Am I married?–I have a HOUSE, a WIFE, CHILDREN–the full CATASTROPHE!”
It’s a sequence I’ve been dining out on ever since I saw the film in the Sixties.
Roll forward to Sunday morning in “our” nearby village and a group of youngsters ( late teens for the most part) are gathering for a final dance rehearsal.
They’re leaving at five this evening for an international dance festival in San Sebastian on the north east Atlantic coast of Spain.
Along one wall of the rehearsal hall–below the many colorful photos of dances and costumes– the neat pile of suitcases is growing.
The level of chatter from the excited young dancers is getting louder–many of the group are probably leaving Greece for the first time.
Meredith sat opposite Maria–the mother of one of the dancers and also a member of the troupe–two nights ago, at a seaside taverna dinner given by our hostess, Peggotty, for Corfiot friends, made over the many years she and Andrew have been coming to Corfu for holidays.
When Meredith asked Maria where she could see some authentic Greek folk dances, Maria had a whispered exchange with nearby friends at the table then turned back to Meredith and said that if she liked, she could come to the final rehearsal on Sunday at the hall in Sinies.
The answer to her prayers!
By ten it’s already hot as locals and holiday makers come by to collect their day’s bread supply from the village store opposite the rehearsal hall.
Word has got round our group and it has grown like Topsy–the final rehearsal is turning into a non-dress performance–not a bad thing perhaps for the young dancers to experience a real audience.
Inside the hall it’s sweltering, as the three musicians (accordionist, balalaika player and guitarist) start to play
and the informally dressed dancers begin to circle,
under the encouraging eye of Ioannis Vlahos, one of the best dance teachers in Corfu– we are told.
For the next hour they run through their repertoire.
It’s an impressive display.
The assurance and ease of movement, the lightness of touch and the commitment to a tradition is delightful to watch.
Then after a pause to catch their breath and drink some water they regroup for the final dance–ZORBA!
As we approached Corfu Town on our way to the airport just before six that evening, a big tourist coach passed us at speed on the dual carriageway.
In the back window a large sign announced it was carrying members of THE CULTURAL ASSOCIATION OF SINIES! They were on their way!