Author: Alkis Raftis
Available also on CD and as e-book (electronical form).
“The world of Greek dance” is not just “a study of Greek dance”. Although Dr Raftis’ training as a sociologist is apparent in his scholarly approach, this book is also a personal statement, as well as an inquiry into some of the processes of social and cultural reproduction. The author has also lived and danced his subject matter. His work, therefore, is a particularly valuable contribution to the ongoing debate about the place of the author/observer in the analysis of cultural forms. At the same time, the author’s practical interest in dance has enabled him to produce an informative and useful text. The theory is immanent rather than explicit and the book is accessible to a wide range of readers.
From another, related perspective, this book is a timely examination of the politics of cultural representation. The writer offers a lively critique of dance studies and the transformation of dance into performances for tourists or “patriotic rhythmic gymnastics”. These processes are especially apparent in Greece, where dance remains integral to the lives of many people but also provides entertainment to a vast tourist population.
Within this debate, the present study reveals the significance of dance in the re-constitution of “imagined communities”. For example, dance is closely linked to the identification of people with particular regions of origin and with the Greek nation. For this reason, dance can be incorporated in ideological practices, as it was for example during the period of the junta and as it often is in Greek populations of the diaspora. Dr Raftis also criticizes the sense of urban superiority that led to the official view of demotic music and dance as “the naive expression of simple peasants” and as being tainted by non-European elements.
The world of Greek Dance