The friends of dance
  • EN
  • CZ

Semester
from 4. 2. 2019 to 27. 5. 2019

About dance

The dance had accompanied humans since time immemorial. It is probably one the oldest emotional speeches in history. We can imagine a prehistoric man joyfully dancing after a successful hunt, or a shaman’s ritual dance while warding off evil spirits and summoning healing powers... However, this speech does not belong only into the deep history. Even nowadays, dance is almost a ritual. It has the unique ability to wash away all cares and burdensome thoughts, harmonizes the body and mind and synchronizes perception; it is a spontaneous and natural expression of joy, but not only this. For many ethnic groups dance became an important expression of their own identity, means for anchoring place in the world, to distinguish themselves from the others, region from region, group from group... Among ethnics in whom these basics of self-identification are still very much alive, belong inherently the Greeks.

 

In Greece, there is perhaps not an area that should not have its own specific dances. What is more, they are not just a matter of professional performances but a part of everyday life. Hardly any major event, whether in the family or wider community, will proceed without accompaniment of traditional music and dance. Some solo dances are dramatic expressions of heaviness of life, but also an expression of overcoming them. Group dances then, also called "circle dances", are a shared joy of belonging and have the ability to connect all generations.

 

The high number of Greek dances - the lowest estimate is around five hundred - offers some comparisons with the Greek mythology. Leading representative of cultural anthropology Claude Levi-Strauss, who focused his scientific research on comparing the myths of different cultures - of which a significant portion were those of the Greeks - had pointed out, that the myths were created during the retelling. Something has been added, something removed, the narrator altered the role of the actors or planted them in a different context, and so arose a new story. He was looking for the meaning in the aggregate structure, rather than in the particular stories, and he put forward the theory that there was an effort hidden behind them to solve a universal human problem that is constantly repeated, and so has a character of timelessness. The best analogy he found in music, where the same theme may be expressed by many transformations. Music cannot be expressed in any other language than just the music again. And if we listen to it carefully, we may experience a kind of “state of timelessness". We dare to paraphrase his theory to be able to say, that the same applies to dance. Like the myths and the music, also dance can "tell" a story by a series of variations and just like them, also carries certain elements of timelessness.

 

People often ask why we are interested precisely in Greek dances. If we summarize the foregoing, it would be enough to answer by a single word "therefore". We could enumerate many other reasons, but there is one, and perhaps the main one. The Greek thinking from ancient times to the present “permeates” virtually all fields of science and art. Greek dances, which we perceive as a part of this ancient culture, had also long ago outgrown the boundaries of one nation. For several decades they address people around the world. We can clearly see it when, within the seminars, we visit the Greek villages. Seminar participants who without any exaggeration represent all continents, they dance along with the members of local dance groups and other residents in a common circle. What the most important for all of us is, that we are incredibly synchronous. Local people are taken by surprise and coming to express their gratitude. They highly appreciate our deep interest in the traditions and knowledge of their dances. This knowledge of course we have from our excellent teachers! These are unforgettable moments and along with the unique atmosphere lead all that are present to mutual respect. And this way of sharing is exactly what we consider as a common treasure of human culture.

Přátelé tance s.r.o. | spisová značka C 168811 vedená u Městského soudu v Praze | Sídlo: Revoluční 767/25, Staré Město, PSČ: 110 00 Praha 1 | IČ: 24721913
DIČ: CZ24721913 | E-mail: prateletance@gmail.com