Early childhood through grade 12

Hawthorne Valley Association

For the past couple of years, Myrto Daskaloudi (Class of 2012) has been fully dedicated to the joys and challenges of new motherhood, caring for her 8-month-old baby. Recently, however, she began to sense a longing to reconnect with her community and rediscover her own identity beyond being a mother. With her diverse background as an herbalist, dancer, entrepreneur, and astrologer, Myrto felt compelled to initiate a gathering of dancers as her first step towards reengagement.

As she contemplated the details of this endeavor, she reflected on how seeing the horrors of the war in Palestine and its tragic effects on both sides has made her more aware of ongoing suffering and genocides all over the world, including in the cobalt mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo. That hit close to home because one of her closest friends and former HVS classmate NKoula Badila’s father came from that country, and Nkoula ’11 still has family there. Myrto decided to combine her need for community connection with her desire to do something to raise awareness and help those who are suffering in these places.

“I wanted to gather the most amazing multicultural dance and movement artists that I know to highlight all of our cultures, celebrate it, and share love and resources with people who are suffering in these regions where our dances are from,” she says.

The result was the Threads of Earth: Dance & Music Showcase, a fundraiser for Gaza and the Congo at Lightforms Art Center in Hudson on March 10. The event featured performances by Myrto, Louloudia Dance Group, NKoDia, Nandini Austin, Arobi, Mounanou Badila '14, Donna Barrett, Grupo De Capoeira Angola, do Acupe Capoeira Circle, and more. They had a full house audience, and raised $1,000 in support of Camp Breakerz, a group of break dancing Gazans who are currently supporting children with art and dance therapy, and Malonga Dance Company who work in the DR Congo to spread awareness and a message of liberation for their people through dance.

Myrto knows that many of the conflicts in the world have become viewed through political lenses, and that deeply held political beliefs have caused division, but she emphasizes that her desire through this event was to support humanity.

She says, “I wanted to bring a message of unity and peace through music and dance because I think historically, that’s where people find balance with each other, even if they don’t agree politically.”

If you’d like to contribute to Camp Breakerz to support their work bringing dance to children in Gaza, you can do so here. Contributions to support the Malonga Dance Company in the DR Congo can be venmoed to Nkoula Badila at @Nkoula-Badila.

NKoDia performing at the Threads of Earth showcase.
break dancers performing at the Threads of Earth Showcase
dancer performing at the Threads of Earth showcase