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Connecting People, Traditions & Generations

Image: The traditional celebration of the Dormition of the Theotokos in village Akrotiri of Santorini, Greece, by Klearchos Kapoutsis from Santorini, Greece

If you’ve ever gone to a Greek Festival and wanted to join in the dancing but hesitated, Kayte Deloma, Los Angeles Travel Expert, has some tips that may make you feel more comfortable. While everyone is welcome to dance, her article on Greek Dance Etiquette, Fun with Folk Dancing advises you to follow a few basic rules to avoid stepping on any toes.

Most Greek dancing is done in a line, holding hands. The person at the end of the line with their right hand free is the leader, and the line generally moves to the right. Deloma recommends following the leader’s hand signals for the more complicated dances, but I’m not sure a novice would know what they mean. Here are her three tips for newbies at Greek dancing:

#1 Do not try to join the line at the right end. That’s the leader’s position.

#2 Beginners should join at the back of the line. Experienced dancers can break into a line in the middle because they know the steps. Stay at the end of the line until you know what you’re doing.

#3 Get behind the leader. It can be hard to see what’s going on from the back of the line. If there’s room, practice following the leader from behind for a few minutes.

Many Greek Festivals teach Greek dancing at different times throughout the day. Demlo mentions the Zembekiko dance, or drunkard’s dance, which is done solo. No rules for this one. You can just get out there and have a good time.