5 Benefits of Greek Dancing
In this blog, Xpress-Yourself Dance CIC will highlight 5 Benefits of Greek Dancing. This month our Keep Dancing classes have enjoyed learning some Greek dance inspired by the Sirtaki is a group dance and is performed with all dancers holding each other by the shoulders in either a line or a circle formation. The more traditional version of Sirtaki is danced in a line. The sirtaki was choreographed by Giorgios Provias for the 1964 film “Zorba the Greek” and therefore can also be referred to as Zorba’s dance.
Traditional Greek dancing (or “horos”) has been a favourite way for Greeks to celebrate for thousands of years. Dance has always had a prominent position in Greek society throughout the centuries. Apart from the social element involved in joining a circle of dance, there’s a lot more to learn from the 4,000 traditional dances believed to exist.
Dances are extremely important to Greek communities, and perform a social function as well: you will often see Greeks spontaneously (or not!) burst into dance at weddings, Greek Easter, or school functions.
Over time it has evolved to suit the needs of different groups of Greeks, who have made their own dances, leading to great regional diversity in this most physically expressive of the arts.
Here, Xpress-Yourself Dance to further emphasise how Greek dancing can be beneficial for health and wellbeing and promote healthy ageing . Here are our 5 benefits of Greek Dancing
Improves heart health
A study conducted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki a few years ago extolled the benefits of Greek dancing. It found that those suffering from chronic heart failure who took up Greek dancing developed stronger legs and could walk further and jump higher than the sedentary group.
Improves social cohesion
Greek dancing is often a communal affair associated with joy and celebration, dancing brings people closer together and helps forge friendships and bonds among the dancers. Performed at weddings, baptisms, births and festivals, the goal of the Greek dances is to bring joy and unity.
Apart from the social element involved in joining a circle of dance, there’s a lot more to learn from the 4,000 traditional dances believed to exist. Dancing in a circle or in a line can encourage making physical contact, making eye contact and smiling and laughing together all important to promoting human connectedness.
Improves cognitive function
The rhythm, beat and pattern of steps involved in the dances also help mental and physical development can help to delay memory loos and decline in cognitive functions.
Improves ankle mobilty
The different foot patterns ensure that the ankles experience the full range of movement. Good ankle mobility means that you have good flexibility of the ankle joint and its surrounding muscles and tendons. When your ankle is flexible, you have greater range of motion during your activities.
Ankle mobility refers to the flexibility of the ankle joint and its surrounding muscles and tendons. When your ankle is flexible, you have a greater range of motion during your activities.
The range of steps involved in Greek dance sideways, backwards and forwards are all steps that improve bone density, strengthen muscles in the hips, legs and feet which all help to improve and challenge balance. Good balance is important to maintain to ensure we have good mobility, strong bones and muscles which all encourage healthy ageing and help us to maintain our independence.
An additional benefit to our highlighted 5 benefits of Greek dancing is that is fun and enjoyable and often sparks conversations about holidays in Greece and experience of watching traditional Greek dance.
In fact there are almost as many benefits as there are dances. Here are some of the most popular Greek dances:
The kalamatiano is one of the best known dances of Greece. It is a popular Greek folkdance throughout Greece, Cyprus and internationally and is often performed at many social gatherings worldwide. As is the case with most Greek folk dances, it is danced in chain with a counterclockwise rotation, the dancers holding hands. There are 12 steps in the dance corresponding to 4 bars of music. These steps include 10 steps counterclockwise (“forward”) followed by 2 steps clockwise (“backwards”). Depending on the occasion and the dancers’ proficiency, certain steps may be taken as jumps or squats.
Sirtaki was choreographed by Giorgos Provias for the 1964 film Zorba the Greek. As such, it is one of the newer dances and has a mixture of slow and fast rhythms of the It is a recent Greek folkdance, and a mixture of the slow and fast rhythms of the hasapiko dance. The dance and the accompanying music by Míkis Theodorakis are also called Zorbá’s dance, Zorbas, or “the dance of Zorba”. The name sirtaki comes from the Greek word syrtos – from σύρω (τον χορό), which means “drag (or lead the dance)”.
Xpress-Yourself Dance CIC run weekly Keep Dancing classes, suitable for older adults across, Birmingham, Solihull, Walsall, Sandwell and online. Keep Dancing will teach you dances from around the world with no need to have a dance partner. Find your nearest Keep Dancing class here.
If you enjoyed reading 5 benefits of Greek Dancing you might want to consider reading 5 benefits of Salsa
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