Spoon Dance In The Hippocampus
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The Spoon Dance


The choros koutalia comes from Asia Minor, which, not precisely defined geographically, is a former Greek cultural realm in today's Turkey.



Schematic maps of the Greek cultural realm (from the Internet).
The added red circles mark the places Silli, Konya (Ikonio), and Farassa in Cappadocia
.




The dance was/is danced in various regions of Greece, but mainly originates from Cappadocia, here from the regions around Farassa, Silli, and Ikonio. There is a wide breadth of variety of the dance: how and when it is danced and who dances it. In the spoon dance, each dancer dances with a pair of wooden spoons in each hand, in that they clap out a rhythm supplemental to the music, while the feet dance a different step rhythm (which is very confusing at first for those learning the spoon dance). Since the melody in the foreground does not repeat the rhythmic motif clapped by the spoons, the dancers are, so to speak, musicians, who, in the background, clarify the music being played. The dancers dance freely in the room in pairs comprised of the opposite or the same sex. The couples relate to one another and together they make various turns to the music.




In some cases it is danced only by women, which is usually the case, or by men (whereby in these particular regions it was considered immoral for women to dance with spoons), or in other cases both men and women danced together, sometimes even married couples. It was danced on different occasions: engagements, weddings, carnivals, and religious festivals. Spoons were widespread as instruments in Cappadocia, and often dances were accompanied only by song and spoon rhythms.



Singing and dancing women from Sementra, Cappadocia.
Collection of the Center for Asia Minor Studies




The information (and video recordings) here refer to dance lessons by Ernst Kriz, artistic director of the dance group Meltemi, with reference to a spoon dance from Misti (Ikonio), and several instructions came from Theodossis Diskos, dance instructor from Macedonia, who refers to dances from Konya (which are called Konyali). Many thanks to both!



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Bettina Henkel, Secession 2004