by Alessandra & Lucia
Food. Dance. two things that go really well together. We feel like with music and fun a dish will always taste better than it usually does. Although greek dance is ancient is still popular today, it’s a really important part of Greek culture, and for visitors is enjoyable and fun to watch.
In Plaka we attended an interactive Greek dance show while eating traditional food. The restaurant was big and there were many tables, the food was great and the dancers were all so good!! Except for us, there was a group of Senior from Virginia that evening. We had so much fun with my friends getting involved in the dance, laughing and having a good time.
We all sat in four big tables while they were playing and singing Greek music. Evenly if we couldn't understand a word, it was an enjoyable melody to hear. After a few minutes, the singer invited us to join her dancing on the stage. At the start, everyone hesitated to stand up, but in the end, most people of our group was on the stage trying to dance. It could seem a simple dance, but you have to be coordinated and concentrated unless you do it often. We can say that most of us weren't talented in Greek dance.
The Hasapiko is a dance which starts slowly and speeds up words the end, this dance comes from roots of Constantinople. It was originated in the middle age as a battle mime. Before given this name it was called "butcher's dance” because it was originally performed with swords that the butchers made.
The Kalamatianos is the most popular dance and it’s performed at many events worldwide. It consists in a circle of people holding hands. It’s a really joyful dance and easy to learn. The steps are really easy, the hard part comes with coordination. We tried to do Kalamatianos several times, but we never really succeed.
While musicians and dancer performed, the waitress served us three meals. As a starter we had for each person four appetizers, then meat with potatoes and as dessert baklavà. Being honest, one of the appetizers wasn't very good, but at least the dessert was delicious!
While we were eating, different types of dance and people arrived and left the stage. There have been only men, only women or both together. In another dance, the women were alone dancing with candles in their hands. Otherwise, the two that impressed us the most were the one in which belly dancers used fire and the one in which a man used a glass of wine. He put the glass in the inside rim of a rounded tray and he started to dance. He threw it in the air and make it circled quickly. How did he does that, is a mystery... He should have broken many glasses before succeeding. The belly dancers were great too. It seemed as if they had no bones in the hips. It would take us years only to learn how to make a single movement.
*From Ale’s prospective*
In one of the last dances, I stood up to dance. We took each others' hand and started to dance across the restaurant moving our legs back and forth every two steps. Until this, everything was normal. Then we made a circle and the guy started to call random people to dance with each other. At a certain point, he called me and no one else. He told me to open my arm and close my eyes. I was quite calm cause I fought I had to let my self go and someone would have take me. But for real, he took me on his shoulder and whirled me in a circle! Thank god I didn't feel bad, or it would have been even more embarrassing. I wasn't red when he put me down, but most probably a shade of burgundy. Even though I didn't expect it and I had a small heart attack at the start, it had been very funny.
That night had been the nicest of the entire trip, we all had fun together and we learned (or at least tried) Greeks dances. We evenly discovered that greeks break plates on the stage during these typical performances. Is a very uncommon custom, but we have to admit that is nice and liberating to do. The last thing that we learned that evening and probably liked the most, is the word opa. We can say that is like olé in Spanish. People use it to express joy and it can mean: let's go or come on. When we learned it we all started to repeat it and got addicted to it.