Lets dance to the same tune

first_imgOn Saturday 17 October, a community ritual that has not been experienced for a generation will be re-established. That night, more than 50 Greek clubs and associations will come together in a celebration of Victoria’s Hellenic culture at the Grecian Ball, organised by the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) in partnership with scores of other community groups.“This about what GCM can do to help, and it’s also about what projects we can collectively fund. Working together we can do things that by ourselves we haven’t a chance of doing.”Already sold out, 600 people representing the breadth of the Greek community in the state will gather at Stars International Reception Centre in Preston, to dine, dance, and party, and above all, to share ideas on where the Greek community’s future lies, and what can be done to ensure its dynamic achievements can continue.The event comes at a time when many Hellenic community associations are doing it tough, with membership of some dropping alarmingly as the younger generation’s relationship to clubs – that were an integral part of their parents’ and grandparents’ lives – wanes.The past year has seen mixed fortunes for Greek clubs. Some faced with the heartbreaking decision of what to do with their under-utilised properties are deciding to cash out, while a handful have seen a renaissance in their fortunes; the Greek Community of Box Hill being one that can boast of completing a new cultural community centre.GCM president Bill Papastergiadis says the Grecian Ball offers an opportunity to celebrate and take stock of where the Greek Australian community is today, and what interventions can be made to sustain the remarkable advances it has made in the past decade.“The Grecian Ball is about an opportunity to reflect where we are now, what we’re all doing, and what we might want to be putting our joint resources into,” he told Neos Kosmos.“It’s an event for all the Greek organisations in Victoria, and in two weeks we sold 600 seats and we could have sold double that number.”Mr Papastergiadis said the event was “an opportunity to launch a debate on the future of the Greek community. To continue the discussions we started earlier this year for the next steps we should take together as a community.The Ball comes on the back of a series of consultative meetings instigated by GCM over the past year with community organisations aimed at establishing a united approach to funding resources and activity that benefit the Greek community as a whole.The GCM president is expected to announce a slate of ambitious initiatives at the Ball which will require a ‘whole of community’ approach to succeed.How clubs can better utilise the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture is an issue Papastergiadis says is vital as part of a new relationship between the clubs and GCM.“Clubs using our centre for functions and meetings and I’m interested to explore how we can better service members of clubs in this way.“This about what GCM can do to help, and it’s also about what projects we can collectively fund. Working together we can do things that by ourselves we haven’t a chance of doing.”“We’reis a small part of our community and aim is to work closely with all Greek organisations for the common good,” he said. “We want to be together, to cooperate and work together for our future.”Democritos president Thanasis Salahas, who was part of the discussions that resulted in the return of the Grecian Ball, says the event could be the catalyst to create a shared vision.Mr Salahas says his own club the Kalavrita Brotherhoodhad had gone through difficult times but was on the up after a handful of committed members were able to redirect the organisation’s energies.Asked his view on recent sell-offs of assets by other clubs, Mr Salahas said community organisations should consider their original founders’ intentions.“It’s a problem, we let things go down too far,” said Mr Salahas. “We need to find a formula so that the money can stay within the Greek community. We have to find new ways.”The 2015 Grecian Ball’s sponsors include Hunter and Gatherer (Agora Group), EEAMA, Kinisi Club – Kon Tangalakis. Stars International Reception Centre, 3XY Ta Nea, Steve Koukouvitakis. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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