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Leros welcomes the Hoppet

- by Dabs Banner

Leros island holidaymakers have been dancing in the street since the arrival of the Hoppet sailing ship.

They were joined by local people and Syrian refugees on the harbour at the main port of Lakki for a display of traditional Greek dance.

The Hoppet is a wooden-hulled sailboat that is sailing the Greek islands as part of a three-year artist project called 'Meeting the Odyssey'.

The 22-metre sailing ship has two masts, eight sails and ten cabins that sleep up to 20 people.

On board are actors and entertainers from all over Europe, who stage social and artistic events as they sail to various islands.

It is all part of a social and artistic programme that launched in the Baltic Sea in 2014 and arrived in Leros this month where the theatrical crew has been organising workshops and performances.

The street dancing was their final event before sailing off to the island of Lesvos where it will dock for a week.

The Hoppet will then sail on to visit Lavrio, Elefsina, Ikaria and Skyros and Ikaria as part of its Greek island hopping tour.

Among the harbour-side crowd at Lakki on Leros were child refugees from Syria and Afghanistan who are being held in a local hospital until they are reunited with their families.

The 'Meeting the Odyssey' project is the result of a collaboration between various art and theatre organisations from several European countries.

More than 350 artists have joined in the performances of 'Meeting the Odyssey' as it has sailed around various countries in the Baltic and Mediterranean and around 20,000 have watched the performances at 25 ports of call around Europe.

The Greek islands are part of the last tour for the project. Greece was chosen in tribute to its cultural heritage and to show solidarity with Greece during its economic crisis.

A spokesman said: "We wanted to do something that would unite Europeans instead of dividing us. With a ship filled with theatre, we wanted to enhance intercultural dialogue and overcome prejudices."

"We are very proud to begin the Greek Island tour in Leros in the Dodecanese, a small island known for its traditional music and dance activities."