Main Articles

The Syrtos in Lesvos
CH Copeman, October 2006

To understand dance in Lesvos, you need to go back a hundred years, to the time when Mytilini was an island suburb of Smyrna, and Athens was a foreign country. At that time Smyrna was a major international cultural centre – “the Paris of the Levant” – and most of the music and dances of Lesvos came from there and not from Athens or mainland Greece. The so-called Greek National Dances – Kalamatianos, Tsamiko, etc. – were introduced into Lesvos by the Greek schools.
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The Contribution of Individual Dancers to a Community Dance Tradition
CH Copeman, 11 February 2005

A community is made up of individuals, and even in a small Greek village they do not all dance in exactly the same way. The dances regarded as characteristic of a village are the shared creation of the individual dancers, past and present, who dance there. Individuals dance in a way that comes from their own experience of seeing other dancers in the village and dancing with them, and thus the tradition is handed down. Each dancer will have had a slightly different experience of this tradition, and so has an individual contribution to make to the traditional dances of the village.
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Children Learning to Dance
CH Copeman, 2 February 2005

Fifty years ago, formal lessons in Greek folk dance were comparatively rare, and most children learned to dance their local
dances at panegyria (festivals) and other dancing events. They learned without a teacher, watching older dancers, imitating them and joining in with family and friends. Even today, when many children attend dancing classes in school or club, one can still see children learning in the old way at festivals and other dancing events.
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©2005 CH Copeman. All Rights Reserved.