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Friday, July 10, 2015

The Dances of Greek Macedonia

A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.
Mahatma Gandhi

Today's post features dances from the Macedonia region of northern Greece.

The name "Macedonia" has been much contested because the region historically known as Macedonia spans three countries: northern Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, and the Pirin region of Bulgaria.

My intent is not to start World War III in the Balkans, but to educate readers why the name of "Macedonia" has stirred up so much conflict.

There are also places with the name Macedonia in other parts of the world, and there are numerous towns in the United States with this name.

It doesn't make sense, to me, anyway, to fight over a name.  See  below for an explanation.The one thing the video does not mention is that there is a region called "Pirin Macedonia" in Bulgaria. Its official name is Blagoevgrad Province.

By the way if people danced more, there would be no fighting. Too much time, money and energy are spent on war.



The first dance is Sire Sire. (If anyone can find the dance notes for this, please let me know).  It is very popular in recreational folk dance groups in the States. The rhythm and the movements of Sire Sire remind me of rachenitsa, the national dance of Bulgaria, which can be in either 7/8 or 7/16 depending on the speed of the music. The Greek tik is similar to the rachenitsa, and also to the Romanian geampara. It's the same rhythm: apple-apple-pineapple.

This group is from the city of Edessa.



There is a lot of cultural cross-pollination in the Balkans.  Brass bands, I've noticed, provide the music for all of the dances featured in this post.. They are also popular in Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, parts of Bulgaria, and also in Romania.

 You heard one in the last video, and you will see one here.  The dance is Raiko, also in 7/8 rhythm.



The last dance, which has been featured on this blog before, is also from Greek Macedonia.  It has a very strange rhythm: 12/16.  It also has two names, depending on which side of the border you're from.  In Greece it's known as LeventikosIn the Republic of Macedonia they call it Pusteno.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Bulgarian Dances and Their Greek Relatives

Dancing Through the Alphabet, Letter L


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