Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Greece: “Dance? Did you say, ‘dance’?”

“Dance? Did you say, ‘dance’?”
-- Zorba asked his boss in the closing scene of the 1964 movie, “Zorba, The Greek”
 
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“Dance? Did you say, ‘dance’?”
 
We asked our friends who suggested we join them at a local taverna two weekends ago to watch a Greek dance troupe who’d be performing there.  It wasn’t one of those ‘tourist’ performances promoted far and wide. Here, the owner told patrons. Patrons told friends. They told us. That’s the way it works in Greek villages.
 
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One of the benefits of staying in another country for a period of time – whether owning or renting – is that you can begin to immerse yourself in the culture ~ food ~ music ~ the rhythms of life.While we’ve certainly enjoyed the food and drink in Greece, we’d not had the opportunity to enjoy the songs and dances.
 
But on this particular evening all that was going to change. The sun was just setting, wine was flowing freely from pitcher to glasses, food had been ordered when the music began. . .
 
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Tah-dah-dah-dah-da. . .The music brought forth the dancers. Step, raise the arms, snap the fingers. . .
Oh, Zorba would have liked this. The audience began clapping in time to the music. 

“OPA!” The dancers called out. “OPA!” the audience shouted back. Napkins twirled.

“Throw your napkins!,” our friends told us (they do that instead of flinging plates, these days).

OPA!! How I loved that word each time I called it out.  It is an expression, a joyous Greek exclamation. It downright makes you happy to yell, “OPA!” (Go ahead, try it a few times.)

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What I didn’t realize at the time, but do now that I’ve researched the word, is that OPA!  is also an invitation to come join the dancing, circle dancing, in fact. An invitation to come join in. . .uh-oh.

The dancers twirled toward our table. . .as if they were coming for us. No, not to us. Not in a crowded restaurant.  Four of the eight at our table were tapped. It was time to throw caution to the wind – to make Zorba proud.

We did our best. We circled. Stepping right. Stepping in. Stepping back.

Move right. Arms up and intertwined. Then clasp hands. Same steps. Arms raised as we moved to the center of the circle. “OPA!” we called out. Dance back. Repeat. Repeat and repeat again.

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Our friend takes center 'stage'
We untrained dancers began sweating. Hands were slippery, wet with sweat. Clothes clinging. Still we danced. Our food arrived at our table just as the song was ending. We started to return to our seats. “Another dance, Zorba! You must dance,” said the real dancers.

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The sun had set and food was being consumed by our spouses back at the table – but we continued to dance. We twirled. We spinned. We sweat some more. And we laughed, oh, how we laughed. (I think I even heard Zorba laughing.)

And I know you are hoping to see evidence of this Greek dancing debut, but it wasn’t captured by any cameras at our table. (The Scout was barely able to watch the dancing – he certainly didn’t want to record it for posterity.)

So the best I can do is to add the photo of the Dance Troupe plus Two (me and my friend, Sue):

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That’s it for this week.  Thanks to the dance group, me.bou.da (Melina’s bouzouki dance) for a most memorable evening and introduction to Greek dance at Kastros Taverna in Kardamyli. You can find them on Facebook at me.bou.da Katakolon or dancing their way through The Mani in the Greek Peloponnese.

Again, a big thanks for the time you’ve spent with us. And a welcome to our new subscribers! Hope you’ll come back soon – we are headed to the hills in Greece and will show you some of the off-the-beaten-path treasures along the way.
OPA!!!


Linking this week with:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening

51 comments:

  1. What a fun time, the local tavern, dancing and the wine. It all sounds like a lovely evening. Wonderful photos. Have a happy day!

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    1. Thanks for the visit Eileen. Had you been there, we'd have gotten you up to join in the fun!

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  2. Oh, Jackie, I wish I'd been there to see that! I'll have to get Pavlos to supply a sariki (traditional Cretan head cover) for you for the next time you go partying.

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    1. Oh I need that, Val! We must rendezvous again at Pavlos' and perhaps we could both wear one while we were dining and sipping Raki!

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  3. What a night! So much fun. I'm so pleased our dancing debut was together and I'm sure Zorba was smiling.

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    1. Your comment came through loud and clear. I know Zorba was smiling (even if those two men we came with weren't!) Thanks so much for that way-too-much-fun evening!! Hugs, J.

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  4. It looks like a wonderful evening in Greece! We were in a restaurant in Rhodes last year, and the other patrons started dancing to the musicians playing that night. I was too shy to dance, but had fun clapping along and shouting "Opa!"

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    1. Shelley, as long as you clapped and shouted "Opa!" you were participating in the dance! And wasn't it a refreshing experience that left you feeling upbeat and full of life?? Thanks for the comment!

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  5. Dancing is indeed a wonderful way of immersing yourself in local culture in a new country. I love Greek dancing - it is so uplifting!

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    1. Kathy, you are so absolutely right! Greek dancing is so uplifting and happy. We watched a dance performance by a Thai troupe on our cruise and it was so calm and told stories (that I wouldn't have understood had someone not been explaining them). I must prefer the "Opas!" and no big story line!!

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  6. OPA!!! Jackie, I love it. That little word has so much energy. Sounds like you had a great time. How's home treating you?

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    1. We are learning that two homes means cleaning them upon arrival so we are in the midst of cleaning garden rubble here and dusting and vacuuming. Good exercise, I keep telling myself. (But I have to admit this home is rather lonesome without the furry ones outside my door. . .) OPA!

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  7. Love this! How I remember eating at a Greek restaurant in Chicago and getting caught up in the fun yelling OPA when ever a server ignited the saganaki cheese. I watched a bit of dancing but never joined in. My loss. Nice to welcomed into the local scene.

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    1. Next time, Gaelyn, just dance! I tell you I was thinking I should start each day with a big OPA! just to remind me that it will be a great day no matter what happens.

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  8. So did you get to eat dinner? It is so rewarding when you accepted into another culture and dancing releases feel good hormones too :)

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    1. Well Jan that was the night that Joel and I had decided to split an entree. . .by the time I got back to the table my 'half' was a few potatoes and two small meatballs. . . .but that was okay as I had been stuffing myself all week.

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  9. Well, girlfriend, you had me a'dancin'.....how fun this must have been

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    1. BJ had you been there - you would have been up dancing . . .you would have been unable to resist!! Hugs to you~OPA!

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  10. That looks like so much fun! It must be awesome to get to enjoy the REAL Greece! I would have been up on my feet, dancing away, and making a complete fool of myself! OPA!

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    1. Yes, you would have been up dancing and everyone would have clapped and cheered and loved you for doing so! Have a great week, Amy.

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  11. OPA! sounds like a terrific way to think of your new life in Greece with new neighbors and friends. A motto and a reminder to join the fun and become involved! This was a fun post that made me wish I was there.

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    1. OPA! You are absolutely correct. . .what a great salutation to greet the day! Thanks for stopping by Anita. . .it's appreciated, as always!

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  12. The Greek dancing looks like such fun. Opa.

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    1. It was fun Donna. I'd do it again - no matter how silly I look - in a nanosecond. Everyone should dance Greek once (or more times) in their life! Thanks for visiting!

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  13. Jackie, I did not know that Opa was an invitation, but admittedly everytime I've heard it, I've been invited to dance. So much fun!

    Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration!

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    1. OPA Corinne! Hope you will be joining in the dance again soon! Thanks for hosting such a fun linkup!

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  14. Dance is such a big part of the Mediterranean culture and it's so infectious. Sometimes I think we are too inhibited in America. I would have loved this!

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  15. Oh boy Jackie, it would have taken a couple of glasses of wine to get me up there strutting my stuff! :-)
    Good for you and your hubby to join in the fun.
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday.

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    1. Thankfully Judith, I had had a couple of glasses of wine (both of which I sweat out while strutting my stuff). Always fun to link with Mosaic Monday!

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  16. What a wonderful evening. Greece looks so full of fun on the tourism side and yet what's happening financially is a worry right now isn't it. .

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    1. Yes, we are worried about our many friends there who have got to be feeling the horrific impact of this week's turn of events. #prayforGreece

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  17. What fun! I would love to join in on an evening like this, and it's so great that it's not some touristy thing set up by a guide. Just you in your village with friends. When my kids were learning how to walk, we used to say that they looked like Greek dancers with their arms in the air moving side to side, not really forwards.

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    1. Well Michele you'll have to come visit sometime and we will go out dancing, that is all there is to it!

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  18. What fun Jackie. As you mentioned nights life these are a bonus of belonging to a small community. Greece looks wonderful as ever.

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    1. Hopefully after this week's turn of events they will still be able to sing and dance, Jenny.

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  19. That's an evening you will never forget, traveling is all about making memories.

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    1. Maggie you are so correct - travel memories are good for the heart and soul!

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  20. That must have been a lot of fun !

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    1. Oh Gattina, it was a ton of fun! I loved every sweaty minute of it! Thanks much for your visit today - hope you'll return again soon~

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    1. It was joyous - we need to find more joy each day and sometimes it just comes right up to your table and says, "Come on!"

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  22. I am just watching the picture and I'm having so much fun; I could just imagine you there.

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    1. It was fun and I am glad no one did take photos, it leaves more to the reader's imagination!

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  23. How wonderful to dance well into the night in Greece in such a beautiful setting! I'm sure the food and drinl there was also wonderful!

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    1. It was good food and drink, beautiful surroundings and enveloped in joy - doesn't get much better than that! Thanks Pat for your visit!!

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  24. Thanks for reading about our olives. Please scroll down to the bottom of my page and try the "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)" . We at Blogger/Blogspot blogs usually follow blogs through our Reading List, but I should probably add a gadget for easier following for the rest of you. Stay tuned, I'll try. :)

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    1. Oh, I read all your posts about olives - loved them all! I will go back and add you to my reading list. Hope you'll join our "Followers" on our home page as well - it would be fun to stay in touch!

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    2. Shalom Jackie and Joel. I have your fine blog on my Reading List now, so I'll be following you that way. Wish I could follow you onto your cruise ships, like a stowaway, as well! :)

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  25. Oh what delightful fun and I could almost hear the music and felt I should be getting up and dancing as well. I loved that kind of music and dance and I think I just may have even been able to keep up for at least a minute. I enjoyed my visit! If you have time, please stop by my 6 year blog anniversary, I would appreciate it~

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  26. I loved reading about your Greek adventure...what fun!! A spontaneous experience with friends!

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So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

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