Friday, July 6, 2018

Variations on the Greek Folk Dance Gerakina

In the end, when it's over, all that matters is what you've done.
Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great was a king from the ancient Greek region of Macedon.  His goal was to conquer the world (and if he had done so, Macedonia would be much bigger than it is today.)  The name is much contested, especially in the southern Balkans.

There are three regions that use the name Macedonia: northern Greece, Blagoevgrad Province in southwestern Bulgaria, and the Republic of Macedonia.  The Republic of Macedonia and the Greek government are in the process of deciding a name that would be agreeable to both countries. One name being proposed is The Republic of North Macedonia.

Gerakina is a dance from Greek Macedonia that is very popular in the international folk dance community.

I couldn't find the lyrics in translation. According to a dance friend of mine (who understands Greek) it is about a young woman named Gerakina who fell into a well. Her rescuers were able to locate her by the jingle of her bracelets  (the "vroom vroom vroom vroom") in the song.

The recording is so old that you can hear the needle hitting the record at the very beginning of the music (it was cut out of the video).  Many of the recordings we use date from the Dark Ages :)

Version #1 is the one we use at dances.  The music is in 7/8 (pineapple-apple-apple).

Version #2 uses a different choreography than Version #1. This one was danced by kids in a Greek performing group. Watch how they clap along to the rhythm. Asymmetrical rhythms like 7/8 are very common in the Balkans. The kids grow up with it.  They walk, sing, and dance in 7/8.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Fun and Easy Dances from Greece

The Dances of Greek Macedonia

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

No comments:

Post a Comment