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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Greece

The center of Western culture is Greece, and we have never lost our ties with the architectural concepts of that ancient civilization.
Stephen Gardiner

The Greeks have contributed much to the culture of Europe and the rest of the world: art, sculpture music, dance and literature. There are mathematical symbols that use Greek letters; the most famous being π (pi), used to figure out the circumference of a circle;  and β,(beta) one of the roots of a quadratic equation. Dancing also has lots of math in it; and many math and science people are into folk dancing. I'm still trying to figure this out.

Today's dances are easy to pick up by either watching or following the leader.

The first video is Lerikos.  There are two different parts (figures), one done during the singing and the other to the instrumental. This is common to many folk dances. The leader signals the change with the word "opa".

You can find the lyrics here if you want to sing along.  I couldn't find a translation. If you can find one, please post it in the "comments" section.



The next dance, Zervos, looks and sounds almost like Trite Puti, a dance from Bulgaria, with a combination of northern Bulgarian style steps and arm swings. The Balkans are a cultural melting pot and dances often cross borders.

It moves to the left, also known as "reverse line of direction." I prefer "right" or "left." Reverse sounds too much like an auto transmission. If I put my car in reverse, it goes backwards.



Troiro is another Greek dance that reminds me of Trite Puti.  The steps and the arm swinging are similar to Zervos, except that this dance moves to the right.  Both Triti Puti and Troiro are from Thrace, a region shared by Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

The Greeks seem to like the gaida (bagpipe) almost as much as the Bulgarians. Dancers and musicians just don't pay attention to borders :)



Tsamikos is a dance very popular at festivals.  This version includes the basic steps as well as the (optional) turns.



This is the crazy version of Tsamikos, performed by two men at a party.  It has acrobatics and funny stuff (don't try this at home), along with audience participation.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Bulgarian Dances and Their Greek Relatives

To Greece and Bulgaria and Back.... in One Weekend!

Balkan Folk Dancing and its Relationship to Math

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