split image of Aristotelis balancing wine glasses

By day, 62-year-old Aristotelis Valaoritis (Cyprus) works as a security adviser, but by night, he answers his true calling – balancing glasses on his head while dancing.

Aristotelis has been “glass dancing” professionally since 1995, entertaining thousands of people every year in restaurants and at events.

Having mastered this traditionally Cypriot skill over the past three decades, Aristotelis recently demonstrated his prowess by breaking the record for the most wine glasses balanced on the head.

He achieved a total of 319, shattering the previous record of 270, set last year by fellow Cypriot Ntinos Kkanti.

At night, I transform myself to a performer – Aristotelis

Nine trays of wine glasses, weighing a total of over 30 kg (66 lb), were placed one by one on Aristotelis’s head, with him dancing and entertaining the crowd in between each one.

After the last tray of glasses was put on top, not only did he keep them balanced for over double the minimum time required (10 seconds), but he also moved around and gently danced while doing so.

The rules of this record do not require the challenger to move – or even stand – with the balanced glasses, but as a natural-born entertainer, Aristotelis did it anyway.

“I enjoy doing it,” he said. “I see the spectators’ faces full of tension and agony like they’re watching a movie.”

Aristotelis with wine glasses on head

Aristotelis prepared for this record attempt by training his neck to be “extra strong”. One of his exercises involved hanging a 50-kg (110-lb) barrel of sand from a tree and balancing it on his head for five minutes per day. 

Back when Aristotelis first began learning how to balance glasses on his head, he used his grandmother’s old water glasses, and after smashing all of those, he bought his own to continue practising.

Although he is now an expert, it’s not uncommon for accidents to occur during his act. “I’ve dropped the glasses many times,” he admitted.

“10% are my mistake, 10% are my assistant’s mistake, and 80% are the spectators who we invite to put a glass on my head.”

Aristotelis with wine glasses stacked on head

After breaking this world record, Aristotelis is planning to soon set two more: most glasses balanced on the head in a single stack and most whisky glasses balanced on the head.

Neither record has a current holder, but Aristotelis is confident he can meet the minimum requirements to achieve both (25 glasses for the former and 270 for the latter). 

“I want to prove to everyone that I can still do it, and I like the challenge,” he said.

“I feel happy that at this age, nothing is impossible…so never give up.”

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