Dance (Pomona), Theatre (Pomona)
Greek, dance, immigration, music, identity
For this chapter I will look at Greek American music making through the eyes of a non-Greek, my younger self, who enjoyed and sought out this musical tradition for over fifty years, primarily as a folk dance enthusiast. For the international recreational dancer of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Greek music has rich melodic lines and many different rhythmic patterns (5/8; 7/8; 9/8, etc.) that attracted many individuals of Anglo American background like me to learn these dances, especially in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s when recreational and performance folk dance constituted a major leisure-time activity for hundreds of thousands of mainstream Americans who had no ethnic roots, but longed for the warmth and conviviality to be found in Greek dance events. (Shay 2008) Another attraction for the dancer, especially in certain Greek American events like church-sponsored festivals and in the taverna, the Greek equivalent of a night club, is that conviviality rules and as such the music and dance is accompanied by delicious food, drink, engaging light-hearted conversation, compelling music, and appealing dances—a far cry from the bland American popular music and food with which I grew up.
Shay, Anthony. Forthcoming. "Encountering Greek American Soundscapes." In Tina Bucuvalas, ed, Greek Music in America. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.