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Greek Dancing and Culture

Immigrants dancing in the streets of Athens
Greece dance
Image by kouk

Greek Dancing and Culture

Everyone tells me that Greek dancing is so easy, but I have never found it easy. When I was in twelve years old, my parents sent me to learn Greek dances at the local Greek community center. They told me that it was very important to preserve Greek traditions in the family and that my not speaking Greek was already an embarrassment to the rest of my family. I had never been to Greece and did not have much experience with the culture of Greece, though I was and still am, a Greek American .
On my first dance lesson, I realized that I would be the only person under 45 there. Our dance teacher was an ancient Greek lady, even more ancient that many of the oldest Greek monuments, and she would yell loudly in Greek if any one of her students missed a step. She seemed to have a particular dislike towards me, she would call me “Little Athena” and at the beginning of every lesson she would approach me and say, “Little Athena, how come your parents did not teach you how to speak Greek? Shame on them, how are you ever going to visit our motherland?”. I would just nod and smile and hoped she would not pick on me again when I missed one, or two, of my dance steps.
I continued taking the lessons and one day I even had the pleasure of performing at the Greek Festival in our town. I danced the night away and my dance teacher clapped loudly and I could see that she was finally approving. It felt like I was in Greece. As my studies got harder, I decided to quit my Greek dancing lessons. I picked them back up in high school, this time with a local junior Greek organization. The dance lessons were much more fun, I was not picked for not speaking Greek, but I did continue to miss many steps.
Now as an adult, I go to Greek American Festivals all the time, but I do not take any more dance lessons. Instead, whenever I hear a Greek tune I just begin to dance away and no longer care about missing a step, but about feeling the music and dancing the night away.

A researcher in many fields, Joe like to stay on top of today’s news and media.

Dancing by the pool – 20080913_0383 ed + cr
Greece dance
Image by greekadman

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