In this article I explore how dance as an everyday lived experience during community events contributes to constructing national identities. As a researcher living in New Zealand where issues of hybridity and fluidity of identities in relation to dance are currently a strong focus for discussion, I was inspired to examine dance in my homeland, Greece. In a combination of ethnography and autobiography I examine dance as an embodied practice that physically and culturally manifests the possession of a distinct national identity that can also be used as a means of differentiation. I also draw on the concept of banal nationalism by Michael Billig (1995), which looks at the mundane use of national symbols and its consequences. I argue that while folk dance acts as a uniting device amongst members of national communities, its practice of everyday nationalism can also be transformed into a political ritual that accentuates differences and projects chauvinism and extreme nationalism with a potential for conflict.
@ The University of Waikato