GREEK DANCES

Contrary to popular belief sometimes far from Greece, the number of Greek dances is very high. Already each island has its own dance with its own step. Often the dense islands are “collective” but there are many rules to be able to dance.

The leader is a dancer known for his talent as a dancer, he will give the specificity of the dance and its rhythm. Likewise the last person has the privilege of closing the dance with a woman with her hand behind her back.

Moreover it is also important not to get into the dance anywhere (avoid the top five) and not to do it anyway. If you hold your neighbor badly with a bad arm position you’re going to get in the way.

Some dances can be very acrobatic practiced by young people full of verve. Moreover, it is wonderful to realize that the tradition continues with the younger generations.

Dances are solitary and extremely expressive, often there is a message transmitted by the performer. All those who want to share with the dancer kneel next to him and clap in their hand for Pserimos join him. Parangelia (command in Greek) is to offer something to the one who dances. This may be a bottle, it may be a carton of bottles or several…. If you really want to share you can also do this by breaking plates.

We recommend you not to do anything with Greek dance, it is best to be encouraged in this direction by Greeks who will guide you. Be aware that dance can sometimes seem simplistic but most Greeks take courses to improve their practices and that in fact there is not much left to chance.

Also distinguish between a tourist attraction and a real evening between Greek: it has absolutely nothing to do !!!

Dance like music in Greece is a serious business !!!

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Learn all about Greek national dance to dance Greek dances. In traditional Greek dances, there is the Greek dance Kalamatiano, the Hassapiko, the Zeimbekiko, the Syrtaki etc…

You may have seen Greeks dancing in traditional costumes during your holiday in the Greek islands or in mainland Greece, during summer holidays. The desire has come to you to know more about these dances so that you too can dance! Well, here I am, i’m passing on all the information about traditional Greek dances.

The historical traces of dance in Greece appear as early as the 1st millennium BC. What are the characteristics of Greek dances?

  • There are two categories of dances: SYRTOS (meaning “leading the dance by dragging your feet”) and PIDICHTOS (small leap steps).
  • The dances of northern mountain Greece are rather heavy dances while those of the islands are light with lyrical notes.
  • The dances are done in line or each in front of the other… only the Zeimbèkiko dance is composed of a single dancer.
  • Each region can dance a traditional national or local dance in its own way because each region has its own history.

A little   history: The Syrtaki dance comes from the Syrtos dance. This kind of Greek dance comes from the Syrtos dance that has existed since ancient Greek   times! The word Syrtos derives from the Greek verb   “σύρω”   (syro) which means “to drag, to   drag”. We found an engraved inscription regarding the Syrtos dance from Epaminondas, the great Theban   general:   “In view of God, celebrate the great national holidays and the national orchestra of Syrtos”  

The genres of Syrtos dances: In Greece, we have the kalamatianos syrtos, the Cretan syrtos, the Rhodes syrtos etc. These are some of the most popular dances of Greek syrtos. The syrtos is one of the most beloved Greek folk dances Greek folk dances and in Cyprus one loves its music.

It is said that the syrtaki is the dance of tourists, but no …. in fact the Greeks adopted this dance pretty soon after the film “Zorba the Greek”. It is a dance often danced by the Greek diaspora all over the world. This kind of Greek dance is very popular in social gatherings as in weddings for example.

What are the differences between Syrtali and Syrtos   dance? :   Both dances are traditional in line with a right-facing orientation but for the Syrtos dance, there is, at the far right of the line, a leader. This end dancer can be a solo artist who improvises with skillful twisting games. While he enjoys his games, the following online dancer stops dancing and brandishes a handkerchief. Hands binds via this support handkerchief so that the first one can turn and not fall.

Syrtaki dance steps are   easier: Everyone dances in harmony by taking the same steps. The syrtaki is a kind of mixture of slow and fast steps draws from the Hasapiko dance. It is danced in an online training or a circle with hands that are held on the shoulders of neighbors. The dance begins with slower, smoother actions, continues with faster and sharper steps and ends with very fast jumps and   jumps.

“NATIONAL” DANCES

 

  • TSAMIKO

    • danced by the Tsamidhes, the Albanians who originally resided in the northwestern coastal region of Epirus (in Thresprotia, north-west Greece), a dance of men measuring 3/4 in a circle. This dance is also called KLEFTIKO, since it was danced by the Klephtès (mountain bandits during the Ottoman occupation of the 17th and 18th sc). The group of dancers follows the same steps throughout the piece of music. The man at the end regularly makes   pirouettes in the air and the dancer next door helps him motionless with a white handkerchief as the only intermediary.

 

  • TSAKONIKOS<

    • the dance of the Tsakones in the Peloponnese,

 

  • LAZOTIS

    • imported into Crete by refugees from the Region of Lazos du Pont Euxin,

 

  • ZEIBEKIKO

    • zeibekides dance, a warrior tribe descended from Thrace. It is a very popular dance in Greece, coming from Asia Minor. There is only one dancer. The audience surrounds him and applauds him as he begins to dance heavily around himself. This dance is considered an improvised urban dance, following the 9/8 dance model. It is an introverted personal dance, a way of expressing one’s individuality with one’s fears, desires, sadness, etc. So it’s a way to let off steam, accompanied by matching music.

 

  • HASSAPIKO

    • performed by the hassapis, the brotherhood of the butchers of Constantinople.It is a popular dance of Constantinople that has its origins in the Middle Ages. At that time, it was a fighting mime with swords, knives and sticks that were also called “The Butchers’ Dance”. Today, there are 4 types of hassapiko dance: hassapiko, hassaposerviko, heavy/slow hassapiko and politiko. The hassapiko served as the basis for sirtaki (popularized by the film “Zorba the Greek”).

 

  • KARAGOUNA

    • Dance of the Karagounides of Thessaly.

 

  • PENTOZALI

    • It’s a war dance. She appeared in Sfakia (northwestern Crete) as early as 1769 and she made feelings of revolt, bravery, heroism and hope felt. It is danced on the binary measurement (2/4). It has 10 steps of which the 8 are steps and the other 2 are gestures of feet in the air. The music of the pentozali includes 12 musical phrases, each to the credit of a prominent activist who triggered the Greek revolution of 1821 against the Turks. The black scarf worn by the dancer around his head testifies to the sacrifices and valour of the Cretan people.

 

  • SOUSTA

    • It is the name of an ancient Cretan dance in the category “Pidichto” . The measurement of dance music is 2/4 and 6 feet. Music is usually played with a lyre, laouto and mandolin. It  there are elements of eroticism and courtship in the dance, which is usually performed in pairs of men and women dancing face to face.

 

  • SYRTAKI

    • It became a traditional Greek dance in 1964 through the film Zorba the Greek. The music for sirtaki was written by the great Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. The syrtaki is a dance “syrtos” and “pidichtos” in the fastest part towards the end. Sytaki is danced in line with the dancers by the shoulders. The measurement is 4/4 to reach 2/4 . The dance begins with slow, smooth steps to become progressively fast, lively, often including jumps and leaps

 

  • SIFTETELLI

    • It is a popular dance of Turkish origin that arrived in Greece in 1923 especially for women. There are suggestions that define dance as existing already in ancient Greece in the form of the dance of AristophaneS Cordax but nothing is proven. This dance reminds me a little of belly dancing but the steps here don’t matter. The dancer vibrates her chest, hips and waist. The dancer even goes so far as to get on the table to dance.  This dance can be seen in Greece and Turkey only. It is an erotic dance that is particularly appreciated in the “entertainment centers” of quality and medium reputation called Skiladika.

LOCAL DANCES

Most often it is the region of the origin of the dance, such as:

  •  

    KALAMANTIANO

    • comes from the southern Peloponnese and is derived from the “syrtos” of ancient Greece. It is the best known, easiest and most enjoyable dance we know in Greece. Men and women dance it all over Greece. It is danced in an open chain, and consists of 4 bars. It’s a 12-step dance for four music bars. All the dancers form a circle looking at the center. The dancers stand by the wrists.
  • RODITIKO

    • Rhodes Island

 

  • IKARIOTIO

    • Ikaria Island. It is a traditional dance originating from the Greek island of Ikaria that is performed during baptisms, weddings and festivals. The most famous song that accompanies the Dance Ikariotikos is called “I Agapi mou Ikaria”, its lyrics and music are by Giorgos Konitopoulos.

 

  • TSIRIGOTIKO

    • Tsirigo Island (Kythera)

 

  • LERIKO

    • Island of Leros, an island on the southeastern edge of the Aegean Sea in the Dodecanese. Dance plays a very important role on the Island of Leros, at weddings, baptisms, and all  opportunities in life. The most important dance is the lerikos a somewhat slow dance, also called Lerikos Stavrotos because the dancers stand idly by. Originally slow, the music of the LERIKO gradually accelerated and gave the Sousta de Leros (or Sousta of the Dodecanese). Today, they are two separate dances.

 

  • HANIOTIKO OR SYRTOS

    • Hania Crete region (Canaa)

But also it can bear a name in reference to the way it is danced:

  • PENTOZALI, in Cretan means five jumps,
  • SOUSTA , explains the spring of the flexion movements of the legs
  • BAIDOUSKA translates limping walking from a dance sequence
  • SIGANOS, comes from the Greek word “siga” gently
  • ZONARADIKO specifies that the dancers stand by the belt (zonari)
  • KARSILAMA from the Turkish word meaning “greeting face to face”
  • KOFTOS   means “cut, sliced”
  • TIK is the “straight,stiff” position

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