The child dancers from St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Camarillo made it look so easy.
To shouts of "Opa!"--a Greek exclamation of joy--they shimmied, sashayed and swayed, performing ancient Greek folk dances for an audience of their peers at the American Assn. of University Women's 18th annual summer camp in Thousand Oaks, which is designed to help kids learn about other cultures.
But when 7-year-old Katrina Smith of Newbury Park tried Wednesday to imitate their steps, she ended up tripping over her own feet.
"I like it," she said. "But it's hard to learn."
Other campers picked up the steps right away.
Still others thought they were too cool to shuffle.
"I didn't dance because it didn't look very fun," said 8-year-old Mike Jankowski of Moorpark. "I thought it was funny."
Like many of the children, Jankowski reserved his praise for the cooking portion of the weeklong immersion in Greek culture.
"The food is good," he said. "They eat some of the same food we do, like potatoes."
Potatoes and tomatoes sauted in olive oil with parsley were on Wednesday's menu.
In addition to cooking and dancing, the 80 children now enrolled in the camp will continue their foray into the Mediterranean culture this week with games, plays, music, crafts and folklore.
The camp was designed nearly two decades ago as way of introducing children to other cultures, said Colleen Briner-Schmidt, a camp coordinator.
Each week, campers will study a different culture. Still to come this summer are lessons on the American South, Peru and Polynesia.
On Wednesday, students made beaded necklaces to represent Greece's blue and white flag, sang freedom songs celebrating Macedonia's liberation from the Turks more than 80 years ago, and acted in plays about Greek gods.
Most children had no difficulty Wednesday summarizing what they had learned so far about the ancient civilization.
Many were surprised to learn the country had so many islands, that the ancient Greeks worshiped so many gods, and that Greek children played so many games.
But most said the physical beauty of the place--brought home by photos and a Greek native who spoke to the children earlier in the week--stuck in their minds.
"If you drop a coin in the water for 20 feet, you will still be able to see it--the water is so clear," said 9-year-old Kelsey Johnston of Simi Valley.
The camp, which is held at the Arts Council of the Conejo Valley, has openings for the next three sessions. For more information, call (805) 492-4401.