Greek culture has a very rich tradition especially in the world of music, dance and the arts. Each area of Greece has its own unique style of music. Often, they have distinct temperaments which reflect the surroundings. If the music is from the mountains the pace might be fairly slow, moody, even sad. Whereas a lot of the music from the islands is faster paced, wild and more upbeat. The country’s music has adapted throughout history as the Greek culture developed. It has even adopted Eastern elements.
Maria is native Greek and loved learning all of her country’s dances as she grew up. She studied everything she could about them to understand the meaning behind specific dance moves. She was determined to learn how and why they were created. Maria has used her extensive knowledge of classical and folk music to inspire her interpretations of the different dances.
Most traditional Greek dances represent stories from life. One dance was inspired by a story about war, another about a spring that young girls used to visit. A dance that used to represent a fight between two men has been adapted to a love dance between a couple. Both the dances and the music reflect the history, mentality and feelings of the nation. Learning about these is fascinating.
Maria has years of experience in teaching dance groups and she has recently started The Greek Dances Project at primary schools for The Newcastle Music Service. During her long dancing career Maria has performed traditional Greek Dances with various groups in Festivals across Europe.
She studied the Cretian Lyre at Ross Daly’s Music Workshop in Athens from 1995-1998 . Her teacher was Stelios Petrakis.