Nationality: Greek American
Residence: Anaheim, CA and Thessaloniki, Greece
Date of Performance/Collection: April 21, 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Greek
Καλαματιανός (Kalamatianos) is also a greek folk dance that is performed alongside the folk song with the same name. It is to be performed in a faster Syrtos, 4/4 rhythm. It is, like it’s musical counterpart, performed at festivals, parties, weddings, and Glendis (Greek Nightclub parties).
“It [Καλαματιανός (Kalamatianos)] is also the most basic Thessalian style dance in Greece.”
The dance is to be performed in a 12 step pattern moving to the right, swingiing your arms while holding them together. Your right foot to the side on 1, then left crossing forward on 2. Then your right foot crosses forward into neutral on 3 and then cross FORWARD on 4. Repeat beats 3 & 4 for 5 & 6, then 7 & 8. Instead of taking a step back to neutral on 9, you will rock back and then close your feet on 10. You will then do a rock step back on 11 and close your feet again on 12. After this, you repeat the pattern over and over until the song ends.
My informant was born in Anaheim, California, however, she spent most of her childhood on Greece’s Mainland, particularly in Thessaloniki. Both of her parents grew up and emigrated from Greece only twenty years ago. SK, my informant, learned this dance from “glendis” in which this dance was done. SK told me her belief is that this dance, unlike the song that accompanies it, is about coming together and letting loose, while still celebrating your heritage as a Greek person.
This came from a friend of mine from my church in Southern California. I got this folklore from a zoom call with her while she was quarantined back in Greece. I asked her to explain some traditional Greek cultural cornerstones she knows as she ate breakfast.
It’s interesting to see my informant see it as a way to connect more with her culture. In doing further research into this, it seems like more and more greek folk dance lore is performed, not as a way to convey a specific story, but instead the message that greek culture exists and is alive and well. I find this fascinating as we get into this idea of meta-folklore as this is a reasoning that makes this folklore’s relevance based in the fact that it’s performed because it’s folklore. Folklore performedfor the sake of displaying folklore, how crazy and beautiful!