“Greekness” is a word that is coined to describe a version of the perceived Greek national identity. According to Natalie Zervou, Greekness “pertains to an understanding of Greek identity that acknowledges the multiple population shifts and incorporates the histories of ethnic minorities that are invisibilized in the dominant rhetoric” (175). It is in contrast to the concept “Hellenism”, which implies the historical existence of ancient Greece.
In the article Zervou relates this viewpoint to the economic crisis Greece is going through. Various challenges there makes the situation deviate from the image of the ancient Greece lineage. And that glory in belief is what Greek people and the international world tend to firmly hold onto. However, what Greekness advocates for is the fact and the presence of Greece. It deserves to be faced up to. This attitude is also reflected in performing art like dance. Many choreographers now pay attention to ethnic minorities, immigrants, and other marginalized groups of the society. They try to also incorporate those people’s living condition and emotional state in dance narratives.
This is an interesting idea because it is inspirational on the current refugee problems. Instead of remaining nostalgic to the perfectionism in the classical facet of Greek, considering Greek as a growing and complex unity at the present time is significant. This viewpoint brings all the ingredients of this country into the picture. And only through recognizing the progresses and the problems can people come up with ideas to achieve satisfying results. By bringing refugee experience to the public eyes, dance can help look for solutions.
Works CitedZervou, Natalie. 2015. "Bodies of Silence and Resilience: Writing Marginality." Congress on Research in Dance Conference Proceedings 2015 175. Accessed 9 Jan 2018.
Maybe the most interesting point for me in this essay is the link you made to facing up to what exists – both who exists in contemporary Greece and who gets to be represented onstage in contemporary dance. For so long, dance – especially ballet and even more contemporary work — was the purview of very specific virtuosic bodies that had to “look” a certain way and were a majority white, young, thin, fit. Zervou writes of dance performances by refugees who can better represent their own experiences as political subjects and seeing those bodies on stage changes who you think composes the nation. What happens when art changes because of the way society changes? Can one affect the other? Is an intercultural and transnational Greece easier to imagine when that is shown by the bodies onstage that look like that aspirational goal?