Learn to Dance For a Big Fat Greek Wedding

If you’ve seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, then you know that Greek folk dancing is a blast! From the outside, it probably looks a little complicated. There are many different Greek folk dances that are set to particular types of music. A few Greek dances might be too difficult to jump right into, but there is one dance in particular that is very easy to learn and always performed at parties and festivals. Put on your dancing shoes, you’re ready to learn to dance in the Greek folk style!

How To Dance With the Greeks

The first thing to know about Greek folk dancing is how it works. Greek dancing is done in a line, with people lining up from right to left. The “leader” of the dance will almost always be on the right. This lineup, dancing to the right, transforms into a large circle. Once this circle is formed, the leader of the line and the person dancing at the end will be near each other.

Do We Hold Hands?

For most Greek dances, people in a line will hold hands regardless of the gender of the person next to them. There are a few dances where the dancers put their hands on the shoulders of the people next to them (such as the dancing made popular in the film “Never On Sunday”). Many times I see people with no Greek dance experience attempt to hold onto the shoulders of the people next to them. This typically isn’t necessary. Hand-holding is normal and much easier. Typically, the right hand goes on the bottom and the left hand goes on the top. This means that while holding hands with the people next to you, you will have your right hand underneath the hand of the person on your right and your left hand on the top of the person on your left.

Breaking It Down.

The Greek folk dance that you’re going to learn has only six steps. When you think about it that way, it’s pretty simple! These six steps, once mastered, are simply repeated over and over again. There really isn’t much else to it! Here are the six steps: step right with your right foot, left foot crosses behind, step right with your right foot, kick your left foot to the right, step left to your left foot, kick your right foot to the left. That’s it! You really can learn to dance in the Greek folk style!

How To Practice This Dance

It might be easiest to try to learn this dance by yourself or with one other friend. Now, think about the six steps to this dance. Once you can visualize them, it is easier to refer to the steps as: right, left behind, right, kick, left, kick. Make sure that you understand what these directions really mean, though, so that you’re not kicking with the wrong foot, etc.

Take these six steps very slowly at first. Once you complete the last step, “kick” (or kick your right foot to the left), then you begin the sequence again with “right” (or step right with your right foot). Keep repeating these steps slowly until you begin to feel comfortable with them.

How To Recognize This Dance

Now that you’ve practiced the steps, you’re ready to dance this dance at a big fat Greek wedding. How will you recognize this dance? One simple way to know that people are dancing the same dance is by asking yourself if it looks anything like the Jewish dance, the Hora, done to the music of Hava Nagila. (In fact, Hora simply means circle dancing, which is most Greek dancing as well.) Most of the time, the songs that this Greek dance is performed to sound quite a bit happier than Hava Nagila and the majority of Greek dance songs as well. Greek music is quite complicated in its rhythms, but this dance is simply six medium-tempo beats. Once you have assessed if this dance looks similar to the one you have learned, simply watch the dancers and see if you can pick out the six step pattern that you have learned. If you see it, you’re ready to join in the fun!

Make sure that you join the dance either at the end of the line or between some people that you recognize (typically towards the end of the line).

That’s it! It’s easy to learn to dance Greek folk dances! This simple Greek dance is fun, a great workout, and always performed at parties, festivals, and weddings. You’re sure to get the chance to perform it, and you’ll have a blast!

Belly Dancing Is Fun

Belly dancing for many women is fun, fun, and more fun. The American female thoroughly enjoys the movements and the music. But when she mentions that she will be taking classes, often times it is not well received by family and friends.

Why?

It is because of malicious stories, false stereotypes, and misinformation about dancers and these falsehoods which defeat or brand potential students. Being a belly dancer in America does not automatically mean being a stripper or a prostitute. (Unfortunately, these viewpoints exist in Middle Eastern countries). Women enjoy dancing and this dance can offer an enjoyable physical outlet of dancing freestyle to music.

The challenge of accomplishing muscle control and certain athletic maneuvers is attractive. Belly dancing is not for everyone as it is considered a difficult and complex dance. For this reason, the faint of heart do not pursue it. Those who do love the challenges and have the necessary discipline and patience will accomplish and succeed learning this ancient dance art.

The cabaret style or night club dancing is the form of dance which takes much criticism because of the costuming and performing in public. It is the attitude of the dancer who selects being a performing artist and sets high standards as a professional dancer or lowers her standards to do otherwise. It is the individual who makes the choice, but unfortunately, all are blamed because of one.

Not every person who takes belly dancing is going to be a public performer. Generally speaking women take lessons for personal reasons.

Reasons for taking lessons:

  1. They may wish to dance for self-expression
  2. Explore other creative outlets such as costuming and making jewelry
  3. Dance with other women who also enjoy this dance
  4. Entertain a husband or a lover
  5. Lose weight, tone their figures, flexibility
  6. Gentle exercises for medical problems
  7. Pregnancy exercises, menstrual relief
  8. Cultural and historical interests
  9. Preparation of muscles for other dance activities
  10. Become comfortable with a female body
  11. Relaxation

There are many styles to choose from and the costuming will change accordingly. In America there are instructors for any style which is of interest to you. Americans can choose Egyptian, Lebanese, and Turkish cabaret, Middle-east folkloric and ethnic, and American folkloric.

You can be assured that once you make a decision to belly dance and receive support from other women you will be glad that you did so. A new world of creativity and making new friends will have you forgetting about the negative publicity. Millions of women worldwide participate in this dance. And the number one reason is “Fun”.

How Did Elvis Presley Influence Dancing?

Elvis Presley is well known as the King of Roll and Roll, but this man had an influence in the areas of movies and dancing as well. If you aren’t aware of his influence over dancing then you definitely need to keep on reading. It is hard to imagine that when Elvis first was on TV, appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show, shaking his hips to his music outraged many people. They felt his moves were too sexual in nature and they also believed that he was a white man trying to dance like he was black.

For a while it became quite a controversy for him to be on shows. In fact, many of the producers only wanted to show him from the waist up so that they wouldn’t offend their viewers. Even so, there was no stopping the following that Elvis developed in part due to his amazing dancing abilities. It seemed that people all over the world just couldn’t get enough of him.

His concerts in Las Vegas and other venues around the world always sold out. Many of those that came to see him made it clear that while they loved his voice they were there for many other reasons. Among them was the fact that they loved his dance style and it was wonderful to see him offering something so new and so energetic to the crowd before him.

Many teenagers loved this rock and roll man, and it also offered them a way to freely rebel against their parents. They also found his style of dancing gave them something new to work with that wasn’t a rehash of what their parents had been dancing to. The fact that they could call this their own was magical and it allowed it to really take of. There aren’t many people who were teenagers in that era that don’t remember dancing to Elvis music and loving it.

Many of the movies that Elvis played roles in included music and dancing as well. These roles set a new boundary for what could be seen on the big screen. It helped to pave the way for the public to take an interest in dancing at a new level as well. They were willing to take those moves that they saw from Elvis and try them out on their own in many instances as well.

Unfortunately, a great deal of the dancing that Elvis did wasn’t really appreciated until after his death. Many believe he was decades ahead of his time with the visions that he had. He wasn’t a rebel as so many critics back then labeled him. Instead he was an artistic genius. If you ask any great dancers or musicians out there today many of them will tell you that one of their inspirations has always been Elvis.

Today there are many people that try to successfully impersonate both the sounds and the dance moves of Elvis. You can find plenty of them in Las Vegas at shows as well as being offered for weddings. Of course it takes a great deal of skill to be able to pull this one off successfully. The critics are very tough on these impersonators so only the best of the best are hired.

There is no denying that the legacy of Elvis is alive and well today. There are so many remarkable things that he was able to accomplish in his lifetime. History will always remember him though as a man that was able to balance music with dancing, and who was creative enough not to let society or the industry limit his talents.