They take the stage, seven women in simple but colourful clothes. When the music starts they begin to move their bodies, to dance together in perfect harmony. As you sit in the audience, you wish they could see themselves enjoying the moment. You wish they could see all those eyes locked at them. You wish they could see anything at all. But most of them cannot.
Although it is not always widely advertised, Lions Clubs Hungary’s youth division, LEO, is constantly at work. In May the charity organisation held a conference to train LEO members, improve their leadership skills, encourage others to join their movement and give performers, such as the visually impaired zumba group, a chance to show their talent and share their experiences with the audience.
The free event took place in the classy Eiffel Palace, a District V office building where renovation finished in 2014. The central location attracted over 60 participants of various backgrounds: there were Lions and LEO members as well as guests who might later decide to join the organisation.
The performance of the La Fiesta Zumba Formation opened the six-hour program. The blind dance group did not only show the audience that sight is not a prerequisite of dancing, they also encouraged others to take up zumba. The lively Latin music heated up the atmosphere in the cool office building and the conference room instantly became full of life.
The audience was locked to their seats throughout the 12-minute show and cheerfully applauded at the end, which touched the group. Still out of breath, the dancers and their coach joined a discussion panel led by a LEO member. In a friendly toned interview they told the audience that they learn the moves one-by-one at their weekly training, since all of them require individual attention.
The beauty of this method is that each dancer has her moves interspersed with her personality, given that they cannot watch and follow the dancer in the lead. As a result, they all know the routines by heart with a touch of their unique nuances. As they told the audience, they grew extremely close thanks to the training, and now help each other whenever they can. Zumba brought them close together, and now they bring zumba close to the people.
Szilvia Agárdi, a former finalist of The Voice Hungary, also blind, was next on stage. In the second part of the program the training focused on some practical skills in LEO’s voluntary work. A communication skills presentation by József Hajnal was followed by public speaking and leadership skills workshops in small groups. By the end of the day, participants left content, having seen marvellous performances and having gained skills that can be useful in various fields of their lives.
The conference was deemed beneficial for everyone from the organisers to the performers and speakers. Although it is yet to be seen when LEO can organise such an event again, it is certain where you can next catch them in action: visit the Efott Festival in Velence from July 14-19 to learn more about their work and participate in the handicraft activities to make presents for children in need, who are currently involved in LEO’s charity program.
For information and photos visit the page of Leo Magyarország (Leo Hungary) on Facebook.