Teaching Greek folk dance on Great Greek Wednesdays, and Health Care

Both connection, interpersonal and inter-generational, as well as movement, from a strictly health related point of view, are necessary for our well-being.  How about doing that connecting and moving in a cultural context that helps us appreciate our neighbors, and our wider connection to the rest of the human race?


This JuneChurchCampClassesTaughtPlans is my lesson plan from the All-Church camp held in June, 1-3rd, up in the mountain camp called DeBenneville Pines, north of San Diego, CA.  I wanted to teach Greek Folk Dance, and I also responded to a request for someone to teach on Family History, thus also fulfulling my duty via WikiTree to connect others to our Human Family Tree.


 Misirlou, it turns out, was really a tsiftiteli that someone decided to choreograph as a line/circle dance, and in the Greek community, that dance is actually not well liked.  I also later learned more about the famous “over the cliff dance,” which no one actually knows what dance was used, as it is more likely that there was no dance at all, but the story remains a moving one, rather similar, from a woman’s point of view, to that of the end of the siege of Massada.

Yassas,   γεια σας!   

Action Items in support of connection that you can take right now:

1.) Think of a context in which you have taught, or would like to teach, something for free in your local community.

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Share your reasons, if you would like to, for teaching for free.

4.) Write a blog post or tweet that discusses those reasons, tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write

Stayed on Freedom's Call: Cooperation Between Jewish And African-American Communities In Washington, DC, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!


NaNoWriMo 2020 CE

November, 2020 CE = 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

35 thoughts on “Teaching Greek folk dance on Great Greek Wednesdays, and Health Care

      1. It was very popular in Russia at some point, at the time when no Russians were allowed abroad, other than with official missions, and “Zorba” was not shown in Russia. Perhaps our neighbors just went with the name under which it became popular.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes, the sirtaki is the popular simplified form of the dance that Zorba teaches the young Helleno-Brit in the movie: very sad for the women involved, but still a very worthwhile film to see, nonetheless.

          -fun Zorba quotes:
          “You don’t like dolphins? What sort of man are you?”
          “You don’t dance? What sort of man are you?”

          Liked by 3 people

    1. That list is far far far from being comprehensive: only meant to give a taste in an hour. Also, some dances are just to complicated to introduce in one day, like the Sirtaki, or the very popular Syrto (my favorite after the Zeibekiko).

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Absolutely, it’s just not something folk dancers spend much time on. The Greeks mostly dance tsamika, Kalamatianos back East, but Syrta here in California, tsiftitelia and of course, late at night, the Zeimbekiko, which women are finally allowed to dance, but the old men dance the most movingly, with locality based variations, of course.

          Liked by 2 people

            1. Oh, just wait until a Greek church has its annual festival (though in Boston they had picnics and festivals in both Spring and Fall, and all through summer), and you’ll see both the folk dance community and the Greeks (they don’t come out until most folks have left, near midnight)! 🙂

              Liked by 2 people

            2. Another fun dance that only the Greeks seem to know is the Karsilima/Karsilama: from the Turkish karşı karşı: face to face -the dance is a 4 beat syncopated dance with turns, danced in two lines facing one another and partnered up. Again, lots of variations, and not done as much here out west as we did back East (and I’ve never seen it taught in a folk dance center, for some reason).

              Liked by 2 people

        2. The Hasapiko, the actual dance (though a sirtaki will be done at a tavern show for tourists) is generally done in lines of 3 or 4 friends who know each other well enough to know the individual variants of their particular Hasapika, of which most of us know about 4 or 5 variations on the basic theme. One builds an individual set of maneuvers based on a set of fairly well known basic steps, turns or movements, but you never know which the leader will toss in, unless you dance regularly with that person.

          Liked by 2 people

    2. The other thing is that I was trying to introduce only Pan-Hellenic dances known to all Greeks and Greek folk dancers: the Sirtaki, island Syrta, and Zeibekika are all too varied to explain in a short time, and quite different from island to island and even from village to village.
      But they are all well worth the time to learn, if you have a large enough Greek community on hand.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We live in the midst of a Hispanic community, so in addition to Flamenco, which is quite formal, I’ve learned Salsa and Merenga, and lately I’ve been introduced to Haitian Kumpa.
        Before “virtual educational environment” necessitated by Covid, we always had an end-of-semester party in each one of my classes. Students brought their native dishes, played their music, and danced their dances. Of course, everybody wanted to dance with me, and I love dancing.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. As a dancer, researcher and teacher of Greek folk dance for almost 40 years, I will tell you that I’m still confused. For such a small country, Greece has a massive repertoire of music and dances, mainly due to the age of the country and the numerous cultures that either have occupied or influenced it, based on its location between Asia and Europe. The beauty of the dances, music, costumes and traditions are a living history still wonderfully alive today. Greek dance is about community. Individualism and isolation was not trusted in Greek society. Holding a persons hand while dancing made a person feel safe, wanted and needed in these micro village societies.
    Of course, like anything removed from the source, it is transformed through distance and cultural differences. In the US, to be honest, some “terrible” tendencies have developed usually attributed to lack of the cultural traditions. But the worst is teachers who are arrogant and try to “improve” or make the dance more interesting or exciting. I would just caution people learning any folk dance of any country to not trust one “guru”. No one person knows it all. Folklore and folkloric are very different things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Tony, for this fantastically educational comment: and this is what has always drawn me to Greek folk dance:
      “Greek dance is about community. Individualism and isolation was not trusted in Greek society. Holding a persons hand while dancing made a person feel safe, wanted and needed in these micro village societies.”
      That sense of community, and the switching off of leaders, the fact that old and young dance together, building community.
      Thank you again, and more of your knowledge of the authentic dances are always most welcome, Tony!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Since Covid is here, many dance teacher have taken to zoom. This Saturday February 6, 11am pacific time, Kyriakos Moisidis will be conducting a 90 minute worshop from Thessaloniki Greece. He is a great teacher and dancer and very knowledgeable in many areas of Greece especially his Pontic roots. Seminar is free but a small donation would be appreciated at Kypseli.org
        Zoom address for workshop is

        Liked by 1 person

Please Share your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s