Thursday, June 11, 2009

Global Greek Families - Introducing Stavros Flatley , or, Britain's Got Global Greek Talent!

'Dance? Did you say Dance? Come on, my Boy!' quote from Mihali Cacoyiannis' Academy Award winning Zorba the Greek, based on Nikos Kazantzakis' famous novel. Unforgettable music by Mikis Theodorakis.

A few weeks ago, a new Greek Something talented duo appeared on Britain's got talent and took the world by storm with their own very special version of Michael Flatley's Irish dance troupe Riverdance!!

Although they didn’t win Britain’s Got Talent, Greek-Cypriot Britons, wonderful father and son duo, Demetrios Demetriou and 12-year-old Laki, or Lagi, adding a touch of Greek culture to Britain’s Got Talent and performing as Stavros Flatley, wowed everyone, including the judges, with their 'tribute' to Michael Flatley!

With the map of his home country, Cyprus, tattooed across Demetri’s lower chest...and Zorba the Greek's famous quote on his back, he and Lagi put on a great show - they did what centuries of our ancestors have done, they danced! Not only did they dance, they danced so well that they succeeded in getting those very sceptical judges smiling and clapping, surprising them almost as much as Susan Boyle did!

Demetrios and Laki shared an integral part of their (and our) Greek culture with Britain and the rest of the world, and in so doing shared with the world another, much more important characteristic of our culture - the close bond shared by members of the traditional Greek Family!

They told us that they spend a lot of time together and it was obvious to everyone that they have that very special bonding...a bonding which impressed even the judges , with one of them commenting 'You two just have the most fantastic relationship..'

It was the nature of the father-son relationship that also impressed the many viewers who hastened to leave very positive comments on the relevant videos on You Tube...We quote just a few of these:

What can i say FUNNY FUNNY FUNNY!!! What a lovely man, and how much he loves his son, its great!!!

Stavros Flatley made me laugh till I cried. The funniest thing I’ve seen in ages. Good old fashioned entertainment at it's best.

Absolutely hilarious!! My family were laughing their socks off watching these two, what a wonderful father, son bond and so entertaining - can't wait to see what they come up with next - best of luck - we are all cheering you on!!

While Susan elevated my soul THESE GUYS gave me the tonic I needed to get through these depressing times...............Fab

WHAT a refreshing thing to see a Father & Son with such a close bond and all together hilarious.....had me in stitches ;).

Demetrios, who ran a family restaurant in the past, and entertained clients with his performances, told ITV2′ s Britain’s Got More Talent: “Laki was just a baby when I had the restaurant and performed, so he can’t remember it. But we saw the advert for Britain’s Got Talent and he said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you went on as Stavros Flatley”, and I suggested we do it together.

“I thought the wife would go mad, but she said, ‘Go on, do it!’”

And they did it ...with such success that in the semi-final they got the overall top spot thanks to the public vote and their hilarious Zorba the Greek dance routine. Their backing dancers were family friends and they used to work at their restaurant too.

At the end of their routine, we were all overcome with emotion, as was the crowd, when Demetri told his son ,

“No matter what happens, thanks for asking me to dance with you. I’ve had the time of my life, I swear,”

Even the The Lord of the Dance himself, Michael Flatley, was impressed and spoke to the Daily Mirror, sending his own good luck message to his 'proteges'

“Demetrios and Laki’s family spirit is something that has touched everyone and is to be much admired. Best of luck in the final, Stavros Flatley!”

The close family bond between the two, the way that Laki or Lagi looked up to his father and even the way he protected him, as it were, from the judges' indiscreet comments on his weight were particularly warming.

His answer to one judge's question
How much do you look up to your Dad?

I look up to him so much, he's just a role model for me

was a timely reminder of something that so many of our Greek families have to this day - the way we are brought up, the closeness and continuous support of our families, the intertwining of several generations - grandparents, parents and chidren - helps to create an unbreakable bond which holds the family together, which makes each member secure in the knowledge that no matter what happens in their lives, good or bad, their family will always be there for them.

Our families are the most important things in our lives, they shape our experiences, our thoughts, it is in the context of our families that we grow to become the people we are, and the people we become is usually a reflection of the input that has gone into bringing us up. One of the characteristics which people loved in Nia Vardalos' My Big Fat Greek Wedding, was the close family environment reflected in the movie.

Sometimes this can be oppressive, sometimes over the top and we may even resent it, but in most cases, the knowledge alone, gives you such a nice warm feeling, something like being wrapped in a comfortable security blanket, that in today's troubled times few people could wish for more.

How many of us, whenever we rebelled against this over-protective closeness, got a reality check from some non-Greek friend who marvelled at the way our parents cared about us and showed it? I still remember one of my friends commenting one day at school, when I was busy resenting the fact that our Father was waiting at the corner for us to appear one night, that we were lucky our father cared enough to do it, because hers couldn’t have cared less... a very sobering thought indeed and we never complained again!

We thank Demetri and his son for demonstrating this very precious Greek family bond to the entire world. It doesn't matter that they didn't win the contest! They did something far more important - they won our hearts!

For all of us who have grown up in our wonderful Global Greek Families - we have only one thing to say

Zito i Elliniki Oikogeneia!

Thank You for all the love and care!!!

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