Tamara Mladenovic, originally from Serbia, can be found in the centre of Athens at events in which various Asian countries present their local products and various aspects of their culture. She is usually found in a striking colourful gown embroidered with gold details, huge jewels framed her face along with an elaborate crown on her head and a pink fragile umbrella. At the same time she performed delicate choreographies of traditional Indonesian dances with ethereal and precise movements. The best part is that the beautiful, exotic spectacle can not only be enjoyed by anyone without having to attend a similar event, but can also be taught to participate in something similar.
In various studios and outdoor places in the city such as the National Garden, one can observe her and her group - consisting of dozens of not only Indonesians but also Greek women - practicing and drifting to the rhythms of Asian music, holding sometimes umbrellas, sometimes headscarves and sometimes plates. But how did she get here and choose to engage in such an unusual for Greek standards kind of dance? I approached her to hear her story and as I learned Tamara moved to Athens because of love, after growing up in Belgrade, she studied visual arts and travelled as far as West Sumatra to specialize in traditional Indonesian dance.
Through the Indonesian Embassy's program in Athens, Tamara teaches Indonesian dances for free for those who want to learn and participate in performances in the future without having to have experience in dance in general. Although in the beginning those women who were curious to try it were hesitant at the end, now more and more are interested and... they are getting hooked! Rehearsals are held either in the embassy premises, in various studios in the city, outside in nature and online.
At the same time, their talented teacher also gives batik workshops - which is the traditional Indonesian way of hand-dyeing fabrics - which can also be attended by anyone.