Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More on Numbers and Dance

In my last blog All is Number I was talking about numbers one to three, and I have promised, that I will continue this story. I am aware that numbers can be boring, so let me start with a few jokes:

Q: What do you get if you add two apples and three apples?
A: A high school math problem!

No, thanks, no problems please! Maybe this one is better:

Q: Why is the number 10 afraid of 7?
A: Because 7 8 9, and 10 is next.

Got it? If not, just try to say it loud. And because all good things are three, here is another one:

There are three types of people, those who know how to count and those who don't.

Oh yes, the holy three! But, to become just a little more serious (although I don't think to become really serious is a very good idea): after writing about the numbers ONE, TWO and THREE, it is now time to introduce the number FOUR. It represents stability. This is obvious when we consider that most things that have to stand firmly on the ground do have four legs. On the other hand I have found out, that a table with THREE legs is more flexible: it stands more firmly on uneven ground. But still: four corners, four directions, four seasons, the four phases of the moon... this number gives us a clear and stable orientation and stability in time and space.

When we combine the flexibility of THREE and the stability of FOUR we arrive at SEVEN (3+4=7). This is one of the most interesting numbers. It symbolizes a complete time span (God rested on the seventh day of creation). One week has seven days and equals one phase of the moon. And I would like to show you now, how this important number found its way into the most classical of all Greek dances: the Kalamatianos.

This dance is danced in an open circle and has 12 steps. The steps are divided into 4 groups. Each group consists of two steps with the duration of 2 (rhythmical) beats and a third, longer one, that lasts 3 beats. If we add the length of all the beats we get: 2+2+3=7. When analyzed in debth, this dance reveals nearly all the numeric principles, that I have described in this and in the last blog post (All is Numbers).

The classical Greek dances, as they are still danced today as folk dances, are a danced numerology, a calendar, a cosmology and much, much more. They are designed to bring the dancer into harmony with the whole cosmos. But still, don't think that means that the dances are stiff or overburdened with meaning. The opposite is the case: whoever has seen the „Kalamatianos“ in action can confirm that it is full of lightness, grace, fun and joy. The numbers are doing their work secretly, behind the scenes. All we need to do is: learn the dance and dance the dance.

Sangit Om