- Title: ALBANIA: Disabled Albanian choreographer defies the odds to continue teaching
- Date: 3rd March 2011
- Summary: CHILDREN DRESSED IN LOCAL COSTUME DANCING IN FRONT OF LIBRAZHD CULTURAL CENTRE OLDER STUDENTS WATCHING CHILDREN DANCING/ SADI HALILI ARRIVING IN A WHEELCHAIR
- Embargoed: 18th March 2011 12:00
- Location: Albania, Albania
- Country: Albania
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz
- Reuters ID: LVAESAY2OTB1K0S1D4K6DHD7ZIS1
- Story Text: Sixty-seven year-old Sadi Halili arrives at the dance hall in the eastern Albanian town of Librazhd where a gaggle of excited children in local costumes greet him.
The much-loved dance teacher arrives for the lesson in a wheelchair. Nine years ago, Halili was diagnosed with a cardiovascular illness and had to have both his legs amputated.
The devastating loss of his legs, however, did not deter Halili who with the help of friends and the director of the Librazhd dance hall continues to train the next generation to specialize in traditional dance.
"I feel satisfied that I was able to defeat my illness and that it wasn't the other way around, I owe this to the passion I have for the art of dancing," Hariri said surrounded by his class.
"After I returned home from surgery in Oher, the director of this cultural centre told me to come here because they had a concert. I said how can I come look at me, but she insisted and actually came to my home and pushed my wheelchair to this cultural centre," said Hariri, who himself started dancing when he was eight years old.
Hariri's determination won his troupe the first prize at a competition in the Italian town of Agrigento.
But most of all he is a hero in the 70,000 strong Librazhd.
"I have been under the sound of drums and the passion of the dance professor for ten years. Even when he had to use its arms to teach us dancing I could learn very well and we have shown our skills in many concerts...what we learned from our professor will be memorised in our heads for a long time," said dancing student Lediana Alimeta.
Halili's decision to continue to perform has been made possible with the help of friends and family. According to his daughter, Brulinda, the government has failed in its obligations to support Albanian culture.
During his career which spans 40 years Halili has put some 80 unique dances on stage and published two books on Albanian songs and dance.
As Albania struggles with its economy there seems to be little left in the budget to support the arts.
"The awful thing is that the government and officials that are responsible for helping artists do not make a difference for people that have given everything for their country. These people worked for Albania in terrible conditions and are then forgotten," Brulinda said.
Sadi Halili, winner of many national and international festivals does not receive a government salary for his work, but a love of dance keeps him going he says.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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