Mihanikos (1*), Sponge Diver Dance – Kalymnos

*1st Generation dance. A dance that developed in a traditional way – not ‘taught’ by a teacher or choreographer, but ‘learned’ by observing and imitating others in your “village”, where the village’s few dances were the only dances anyone knew. It usually is ‘generic’ – the dance pattern is fairly simple and not tied to any particular piece of music. The dance phrase may or may not match any musical phrase, but the music’s rhythm must be suitable for performing the footwork. This dance may have many variations, but they’re performed at the whim or inspiration of the leader or (sometimes) any other dancer so long as it doesn’t interfere with the flow of neighboring dancers. For more, click here, here, and here.

According to Wikipedia:
“Mihanikos (Greek: Ο χορός του Μηχανικού, literally The dance of the mechanic)[2] is a traditional dance from the Greek island of Kalymnos. It is typically only performed by men dancing in a line. In basic it is a normal Syrtos.
The dance depicts the crippling effects of
decompression sickness caused by sponge diving, which was the main source of income on Kalymnos during the last half of the 19th century. This is shown by the leading dancer who (on the slow part of the music) seemingly has to struggle to stand and walk, and uses a stick in doing so. His feet and legs shake violently and sometimes he almost collapses. This “mechanic” behaviour gives the dance its name. Sometimes he is seen being assisted by the second dancer in line. The other dancers dance on normally, until at some point the music picks up speed and leading dancer picks up the rhythm and they dance together in line, with the leading dancer joyfully showing off. This may happen only once during the dance, or the slow and fast parts may alternate, with or without the leading dancer joining the line.”

For more information on Kalymnos, see:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalymnos

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