Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cretan Dancing

One night at our hotel on Crete they transformed the bar area into a dance floor for what was advertised as "Oriental Dancing." The name doesn't immediately conjure up a specific image like "belly dancing" would. Perhaps "belly dancing" is too demeaning a name for the dancers? They certainly wouldn't call it "Turkish dancing" because "Turk" is a four-letter word in Crete thanks to the abysmal memories of the Ottoman occupation. Perhaps there is a more apt term that hasn't made it into English yet. I'll call it "Cretan dancing" since I saw it on Crete.

The dance was at night, so the kids were in bed before things started. My wife volunteered to stay with them in the room so I could go collect information and photos for the blog. I found a small table on the edge of the floor and had a little drink of dessert wine as I watched.

The first few dances were more of what you'd think of as "belly dancing." Pretty soon, audience members were invited to join in the dancing, which was fun to watch.

Dancing with the professionals

Cretan dancing, now with tambourines!

Later on, the ladies danced with walking canes which was fun. Again, the audience joined in the second song.

Learning to control your tummy and dance as one!

Training future dancers

For an extra challenge, one lady danced with swords, including on her belly!

Ready to dance!

In case you are wondering, there was no audience participation with the sword dancing!

My favorite of the dances were the ones with the veils or cloaks whirling around. Such dances are colorful and look both effortless and challenging. The audience did not get to join these dances either.

For those who are curious, yes I did participate a few times. Since my wife and children were asleep back in the room, no one was able to take pictures or video of me dancing, which is probably very fortunate for you, dear readers.

Also this will be the last post from our trip to Crete, except for a few more churches on Sundays. We'll see some more of England before I start posting on our next trip to Brussels!

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