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Wednesday, 11 October 2006 22:13

The lists on the following pages have many shortcomings, unfortunately unavoid­able, despite valiant efforts to ensure maximum completeness. We are aware that this will only be achieved after several years of collecting information and so decided to publish those compiled so far, in order to fill the existing gap. The lists will be augmented and updated with the help of information, comments and advice received, we hope, from readers, and published in a second edition.

Information about dance activities of Greeks living outside Greece, in Cyprus, the Greek communities in America, Australia, South Africa and Europe is particularly sparse. The names of hundreds of active groups, giving dance lessons and or performances are missing, since these have no links with other similar groups or with any related organisation in Greece which would facilitate their inventorying. Also absent from the lists are those foreign dance troupes which include Greek dances in their repertoire (of which there are many), as well as those foreign craftsmen capable of making Greek costumes and musical instruments (since the Greeks themselves tend to be no longer interested).

It should be stressed that there has been no selection or evaluation of the entries in these lists. For practical reasons it is virtually impossible to check the quality, authenticity and even the accuracy of this large body of information. So it is up to the reader to discover for himself, by actually going to a place, whether it is serious and worth the effort, or whether it is frivolous and false. There are dance troupes, records and events the authenticity of which is deeply moving, and there are others so vulgar as to arouse one's anger. The majority, however, are mediocre and one should judge for himself, with leniency or severity.

The information is not ordered on the basis of ethnological criterion (e.g. Pontic, Cretan, Sarakatsani etc.), which would be methodologically sound, but according to Prefecture, that is the administrative region of Greece. Thus a Cretan dance troupe in, say, Thessaloniki is not classed together with other Cretan troupes elsewhere and the patronal feasts of, say, the Prefecture of Larissa are not specified as Pontic, Karagouni, Cappadocian, North Thracian etc.

An ethnological classification was precluded for two reasons. The first is practical: every one of thousands of religious feasts, hundreds of folk dance troupes, museums, workshops, etc. would have to be assessed by specialists employing unequivocal criteria. It is highly unlikely that such an ambitious project -however necessary - will ever be undertaken in Greece. The second reason is expedient: through ignorance and irascibility patriotism can so easily be distorted into nationalism. Greek dance has enough problems as it is, let us not add to them by expecting a non-existent maturity from those who may be called upon to help it.
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