COLOURS Family Day
Like mother, like children
Not only was the bear dancing, but also the lion, monkey and elephant as well: at the COLOURS Family Day in the Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, the children of our employees interpreted the typical movements of the animals by means of dance. Anny and Alex, the children of our colleague Anastasia Varakli, also took part. She is a regular at the COLOURS workshops. Her passion for dancing has also infected her twins.
Have you ever seen a lion before that prances around with butterflies as if that was the most normal thing on earth? No? Me neither – at least not until last Sunday, when the aforementioned scene played out. Even Simba and his two buddies from "The Lion King" can’t keep up! Okay, the lion is actually called Alex. He is my nine-year-old son and had his face painted to look like the regal beast of prey. Together with his twin sister Anny as well as dancers from the Gauthier Dance Company, they interpreted the typical movements of the animals by means of dance.
The whole Wilhelma Zoo was dominated by the COLOURS Family Day as part of the international dance festival by and with Eric Gauthier. Several stations were set up throughout the zoological-botanical gardens, where professional dancers put on short performances and encouraged the children to dance. Thanks to a sweepstakes by Mercedes-Benz Bank, my two had the good fortune to take part – the automotive bank is the main sponsor of COLOURS.
I signed up both of them immediately when I heard there would be a COLOURS workshop for the children of employees. I was sure that they would be just as thrilled as I would be. I was right with regard to Anny. She did take ballet lessons for a few years and nowadays dances to hip hop. Alex on the other hand needed some convincing first, because he is not a born dancer. I told him that it would be a fantastic experience and that not many get the chance to practice with professional dancers. But, of course, I did not want to force him to do it. Finally, he said yes after all – under the condition that he would only take part if there were other boys besides him.
I was only a spectator at the zoo, even though I couldn't help but move to the rhythm of the music. I love to dance – and now also to hip hop like my daughter! As the saying goes: the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. However, in our case it is also true that the tree doesn't grow far from the apple! I have also already taken part in two COLOURS workshops for employees and performed in Stuttgart's Market Square – in the tricky "ball passing" game in the summer of 2015. I still remember how jazzed up I was before my adrenaline level skyrocketed! And then there was the dance with pom-poms in 2017.
- Anny and Alex are interpreting the typical movements of the animals by means of dance.
- The two had their faces painted before their performance.
- While Anny decided on the butterfly, Alex chose the king of the jungle.
- Also taking part were the professional dancers of the Gauthier Dance Company.
- The animal dances were rehearsed beforehand at the Theaterhaus Stuttgart.
- Eric Gauthier, initiator of the COLOURS Festival, watched the kids and provided valuable tips.
- Anastasia herself also graced the stage at COLOURS - like here in the "ball passing" game in Stuttgart's Market Square.
I believe dancing is a fantastic exercise not just for the body, but for the mind as well. Dancing is important, because it fosters our creativity. And it empowers us to develop a better understanding of ourselves and the world we live in. In short, to me, dancing is living. How did my favorite dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who is considered one of the best male dancers of the 20th century, put it so nicely: "You live as long as you dance!"
Creativity is also something that is indispensable in my job. I work at Daimler Insurance Services, the insurance services provider of Daimler, which like Mercedes-Benz Bank is part of Daimler Financial Services. In the Europe insurance team, we work on various projects. Recently, we launched the "CoverOn" product. That is a digital platform that offers short-term insurance coverage for motorists.
I find it wonderful that my employer is involved in COLOURS to enrich Stuttgart culturally. And the diverse social commitment also affirms my decision to work here. Social responsibility is important and that is why I think it is fantastic that it is part of our corporate values. The social dance project "Dance for Good!“ for children and young people from socially disadvantaged families and for disabled persons or the "Day of Caring!“ volunteer day, where we renovate nursing homes or playgrounds, are just two examples of this.
The COLOURS Family Day was a fantastic experience for all of us. Anny immediately asked if we could go back dancing at the zoo the following Sunday. And even Alex, who hesitated initially, was thrilled and has been much more open to the subject since then. After he saw that he wasn't the only boy dancing, he now realizes that dancing is not just for girls. And hey, it doesn't always have to be a butterfly dance!