In this week’s post, I wanted to address some stereotypes that I have heard about Greek Dance. Now these have come from audience members, those inquiring to hiring me, as well as other dancers. I’m going to go through the 5 most common and address them each individually.
Greek Dance is….
- Getting drunk, going crazy and smashing plates.
Contrary to popular belief we don’t all dance inebriated and smash everything to bits. Am I saying it never happens? No. Is it limited to Greeks? No. Greeks are about having fun, not causing property damage.
- Super fast.
There are a few songs that are fast and have some quick steps but a lot of the times what sounds really fast to the ear actually has steps that are slower. Or even at half time. You don’t have to become an Irish dancer in order to master a Greek dance.
- All floorwork.
Doing floorwork does not make it a Greek dance. Plenty of other cultures have incorporated floorwork into their styles. Was it made popular with American cabaret style dancers at the Greek clubs in the ’70s and ’80s? Yes. Does it look super cool? Yes. But it is not exclusively Greek. You can be a Greek style dancer and never do floorwork.
- Balancing a cup on your head.
OK, this one is a little bit tricky, I will admit. We do like to balance a cup of ouzo on our heads and show off some amazing dance moves. BUT again, this is not just Greeks. We might have incorporated it into our dance but plenty of people and cultures balance cups on their heads. I have myself used it when representing a Greek style Zebekiko piece. Balancing a cup on one’s head and doing kicks and tricks is in that particular style and it’s fitting.
So there you have it, the four common stereotypes of Greek dance that I know of. There could be more but as a Greek woman, I could be biased and not see the stereotypes. If you know of any and you’d like me to address them, feel free to put them in the comments section below!