Danicng Styles Tips for Greek Folk Dancing

Folk dancing is a wonderful social activity. You get to meet other people who have the same interests as you. But it is imperative to always give thought to what you are doing and how your behaviour will affect others. Dance etiquette is simple, it is based on consideration, courtesy and respect to all other dancers. If this is the very first time you will be venturing out on the floor to enjoy some Greek folk dancing, you may be wondering how to join the line and what type of dance etiquette applies. You don’t wish to infringe on other’s fun nor do you wish to get run over. Greek folk dancing is energetic, fast and furious at times. Some dances are very easy to learn while other are far more complex with very a variety of variations.

Greek dancing is wonderful to watch and to be a part of, but it certainly helps to know a few basic rules beforehand. Many Greek dances are performed solo while some are performed as couples, but almost all dances are danced in a line. The general direction of the line is to the right. You will no doubt notice a person on the end of the line with their right hand free. This is the person everyone follows, he/she is the leader. With the numerous steps involved in most Greek folk dancing and the many variations, most dances have no specific order. Therefore the leader usually calls out the steps with hand signals. If you watch the leader you will know what steps will be performed next.. When the leader is not giving hand signals you will need to watch what their feet are doing.

Now because Greek dancing can be so fast, the very first rule to remember is that you should never attempt to join the line from the right end. This is the beginning of the line and you will interfere with the leader’s position. At times you will notice that the leader will offer someone else the chance to lead the dance. But you do not tale the position of the lead unless you have been invited to do so. Therefore you must join the line from the back. Some experienced dancers break into the middle of the line. You may wonder why they do this. There are two reasons for this. Sometimes they simply wish to dance beside friends. Other times they do this so that they are not infringing on the comfort of beginners or risking being tripped over by them.

 If you are new to Greek folk dancing you must join at the back. Never try breaking the line while you are a novice, it certainly won’t be appreciated. The line can often become so long that you end up right opposite the leader of the circle. This can throw you off a little as you could be distracted because you are basically looking at them backwards. When the dance floor is well populated, you may have problems seeing the leader. In this case, step back and go behind the leader for a few minutes so that you can acquaint yourself with the steps.

The most common of all Greek dances is the Syrto. This dance is very easy to learn because it does not usually have variations. Bands often prefer to play twenty minute medleys of the Syrto, so it gives you the opportunity to learn the steps without confusion. The rhythm is a slow, quick, quick, slow, quick, quick tempo. You’ve no doubt seen the Syrto performed on television, in movies etc. But be warned, some dancers do get bored easily and throw in a variation every now and again. Most Greek celebrations such as weddings, engagements etc usually see the basic Syrto performed. It allows beginners to learn basic Greek folk dancing steps so they can join in and be a part of the celebrations

If the fast paced line dance is not for you, perhaps the Tsifteteli which is a Greek version of belly dance, will be more to your liking. This can be danced solo or as a couple. There are no steps involved so you can start wiggling right away. If you are at a Greek Festival you will be happy to know that they usually teach a couple of Greek folk dances once or twice a day. Most of the experienced dancers will be happy to show you the basic steps while the band has a break.

If you are having lessons in Greek folk dance your teacher needs your cooperation in order to teach you correctly so keep quiet in class. Pay attention and really listen to the instruction. Never ever attempt to correct the teacher. Perchance you may have some very constructive feedback, but it is not in order to pull a dance instructor up in front of others. You should speak about your likes and dislikes in private. Many Greek folk dances are made up of small lines and small circles. If you are excluded from a group, just try to join another or form your own. Don’t become offended this is nothing to do with people being rude to you.

If a dance is performed with a shoulder-hold, you will be more comfortable next to someone of your own height. And always remember to carry your own weight. Dancers only hold on to each other to transmit the flow, not to place their weight on others. And be considerate when you grip another’s shoulders, it is not intended to be a vice like grip. And ladies with long fingernails, no one wishes to have perforated skin so be careful please. Last but not least, if you intend to leave a circle or line, it is courteous to join the hand together of the dancers who were on either side of you before you stepped out of line.