Constructing greek national identity through the teaching of greek folk dance in the pe departments of greece: a historical approach

Por: Maria Koutsouba e Yiannis Giossos.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Greek folk dance was introduced in the public sector of physical education in 1909. Since then it is taught exclusively as part of physical education in elementary and secondary schools, while the academic study of dance has been and is in the Departments of Physical Education and Sports Science. The aim of this paper is to present the reasons for the introduction of the teaching of Greek folk dance at its appearance and to examine its presentation in the context of National Academy of Physical Education (the "ancestor" of PE Departments in Greece) since 1974.


The methodological approach adopted for the study of this issue is that of social history, while the analytical tools are those of educational objectives, educational content and educational means of the teaching of Greek folk dance. Information is gathered through primary and secondary sources such as documents, journals, magazines, school records, body of laws, interviews and others.


It is justified that the introduction and the inclusion of Greek folk dance in the context of physical education in Greece is associated with the construction of a certain national identity by the Greek State. However, it is made evident that the notion of national identity is not stable, unchanging and continuous but it changes over time.

Discussion / Conclusions

It is clearly understood that historically Greek folk dance constituted an important part of physical education in Greece. This situation raises a number of questions about the long discussing relationship between dance education and physical education, a relationship that goes beyond the issue of national identity.



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