Dance, symbolism and Pythagorean philosophy: The ritual of “Kanilitsa” in the Greek community of NeaVyssa

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by Eleni Filippidou

Klidonas is one of the most known Greek dancing rituals, which is also celebrated in the Thracian community of NeaVyssa under the name Kanilitsa. Though symbolism and dance have been examined in various ways, yet their relationship through the Pythagorean philosophy does not appear in the dance literature. This relationship constitutes the aim of this paper. In particular, the aim of the paper is to study dance and symbolism in Kanilitsa through the dimension of Pythagorean philosophy, and particularly, its dance forms in relation to the musical and dancing tradition of NeaVyssa, as well as their symbolic function within the ritual. Data was gathered through ethnographic method as this is applied to the study of dance, while its elaboration with the comparative method. The dances of Kanilitsa ritual was recorded and analyzed using the Laban notation system and the morphological method. Finally, the symbolic function of the Kanilitsa dances was interpreted on the basis of the Pythagorean philosophical tradition. From the data analysis was found that the dances of the ritual do share common characteristics both in their form and in their way of performance, and function in a symbolic way within the ritual that ratifies the magic-religious ritual process. Dance within the ritual of Kanilitsa, in the base of symbolism through the dimension of Pythagorean Philosophy, acts as a mean for preventing the evil, but also for protecting the magic divination ceremony, through the protection of the sacred centre from the evil eye and the devils.

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