Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

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DANCING THROUGH THE YEARS.                                    JANUARY 2009

 

This year, our children were much happier about how we welcomed in the New Year, compared to last.

This year, as promised, we booked a table with friends and family at a local taverna. We arrived early (9.30 pm) but most people trickled in from 10pm onwards.

A steady stream of food arrived at our table from the time we sat down until midnight, along with copious quantities of locally produced wine. The television was on in the corner of the taverna from which newsreaders mimed, allowing us to enjoy the musicians and their amplified production of many traditional songs, full of feeling, whose words can only be conveyed by the voice and the bouzouki.

At midnight, the television volume was raised to allow us to count in the passing of one year and the welcoming in of the new.

There is no equivalent of Auld Lang syne in Greece, just lots of kissing on both cheeks and wishing each other good health and a good new year

But then the dancing started…heart-felt soulful dancing where people are able to abandon themselves and surrender to the rhythm of the music.

Greek dancing has no class boundaries and no age limit. Young children to arthritic geriatrics are all encouraged and revered for sharing their expression of abandonment with the crowd. The more I observe Greek dancing, the more convinced I am that Greek dancing is assimilated in childhood as part of the socialisation process.

Our own children haven’t ever had Greek dancing lessons, yet they seem to know what to do with their bodies. Some dances are especially for women, others for males and some may have a regional history, a unique story to be told by the bouzouki and the human body.

I have often asked Greek friends to show me how to move my feet. I instinctively know what to do with the upper half of my body but I am unsure of where to position my feet, which is all very well if dancing independently but what if I am dancing in a ring with my neighbours?

So many of them have answered” don’t worry! Just feel the music, let go of who you are and let the music control you. If you can feel the music and you have passion to express, nobody cares what your feet are doing; it is the experession they are concerned about!’

I envy the Greeks thei r dance and I wish we had something like this in England, for if the English are emotionally constipated when it comes to self-expression, the Greeks have emotional diarraohea.

It is a common sight in many tavernas on a Friday night to see men (who have spent the whole week heaving and cementing stones), linking arms and dancing with each other to the order of the music. There is no beer swilling, no mindless drunkeness or ugly fighting as I frequently witnessed during my teenage years on a Friday night at the pubs in England.

The Greeks have their national pride, their national identity and their very own dance which they use as a vehicle to express themselves.

May we all learn from them!

Alison Lorentzos                                                               copyright 2009

 

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