Bruxelles. Over 420 participants in the fourth charity gala organized by the Comites of Brussels, Brabant and Flanders, which was held on 7 December in the Belgian capital. “We are very proud of this initiative, which has become an unmissable appointment for the cultural life of the Italian community in Brussels,” commented Raffaele Napolitano, President of Comites.

di Maria Teresa Prestigiacomo

For this themed edition ‘Souvenir d’Italie’, an overview of the most beautiful cities and regions of Italy was proposed, starting with Matera, the European cultural capital 2019, which sponsored the event, with the Embassy of Italy in Brussels. “Le Grand bal d’Italie ’is not only an event, it is a place” explains Benedetta Dentamaro, creator of the event – “a place where Italians and non-Italians meet. We Italians can rejoice in our Italian spirit and make it known to non-Italians, who appreciate it and are always the last to leave the room”. The guests, who came from Belgium, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, United Kingdom and Switzerland, were greeted by flag-wavers with the Italian flag. New this year, a group of Italian folk dances, composed of second and third generation immigrants, who cultivate the tradition in Charleroi and Belgium. “We brought the ‘pizzica’ to the Grand bal d’Italie! It was a risk, but guests of all nationalities got carried away by the rhythms of southern Italy” says Benedetta Dentamaro.

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The event was included in the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 by the European Commission. “With this event, the Comites of Brussels is carrying out that part of its mission which aims at integrating Italians into the host country and spreading Italian culture abroad. All this is made possible by the work of a few volunteers and by the generosity of some sponsors. The international community and the artists ask us to organize the fifth edition. But, to carry on this flagship initiative, we would need the support of the Italian institutions “concludes Dentamaro. The proceeds of the evening (around 5000 euros) will be donated to assist Italians in situations of need and to refugee integration projects in Belgium; beneficiaries: Coasit (Italian Assistance Committee), V.A.I. (Italian Assistance Volunteers), Rana asbl (Refugees Are Not Alone).