Greek dances

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History of Greece

Greek dance Horos is a very old tradition, being referred to by authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch and Lucian.[1] There are different styles and interpretations from all of the islands and surrounding mainland areas. Each region formed its own choreography and style to fit in with their own ways. For example, island dances have more of a "watery" flow to them, while Pontic dancing closer to Black Sea, is very sharp. There are over 4000 traditional dances that come from all regions of Greece. There are also pan-Hellenic dances, which have been adopted throughout the Greek world. These include the syrtos, kalamatianos, hasapiko and sirtaki.

Traditional Greek dancing has a primarily social function. It brings the community together at key points of the year, such as Easter, the grape harvest or patronal festivals; and at key points in the lives of individuals and families, such as weddings. For this reason, tradition frequently dictates a strict order in the arrangement of the dancers, for example, by age. Visitors tempted to join in a celebration should be careful not to violate these arrangements, in which the prestige of the individual villagers may be embodied.[2]

Greek dances are performed often in diaspora Greek communities, and among international folk dance groups.

Ancient Greek dances[edit]

God Pan and a Maenad dancing. Ancient Greek red-figured olpe from Apulia, ca. 320–310 BCE. Pan's right hand fingers are in a snapping position.
Women dancing. Ancient Greek bronze, 8th century BCE, Archaeological Museum of Olympia.

Modern[edit]

Aegean Islands[edit]

The Aegean islands have dances which are fast in pace and light and jumpy. Many of these dances, however, are couples dances, and not so much in lines. See Nisiotika for more information.

Crete[edit]

Dancers from Patmos island
Cretan dancers

These dances are light and jumpy, and extremely cardiovascular.

Central Greece[edit]

Epirus[edit]

Epirote dances are the most slow and heavy in all of Greece. Great balance is required in order to perform these dances.

Peloponnese[edit]

The dances of the Peloponnese are very simple and heavy, with the leader of the line improvising.

Ionian Islands[edit]

Macedonia[edit]

Dances in Macedonia vary. Most are solid and are performed using heavy steps, whilst others are fast and agile. Most dances begin slow and increase in speed.

Western Macedonia

Eastern Macedonia

Thessaly[edit]

Dances in Thessaly are similar in style to the dances of Epirus. Mostly heavy, and some are fast. The leader, however, improvises, just like those in the Peloponnese.

Arvanites[edit]

Thrace[edit]

Thracian dance is generally skippy and light. In most Thracian dances, the men are only permitted to dance at the front of the line. Musicians and singers such as Hronis Aithonidis and Kariofilis Doitsidis have brought to life the music of Thrace.

Northern Thrace / Eastern Thrace[edit]

The dances of (Northern Thrace) are fast, upbeat and similar to the Thracian style of dance. Dances from the town of Kavakli and Neo Monastiri are the most popular.

Pontus[edit]

The dances of the Pontic Greeks from the Black Sea, were mostly performed by Pontian soldiers in order to motivate themselves before going into a battle. The dances are accompanied by the Pontian lyra, also called kemenche by Turkish people. See Horon for more information on the history of these dances.

Asia Minor[edit]

Erythrae

Cappadocia

The Cappadocian dances were mainly sung in the Cappadocian dialect coming from the Karamanlides. Dances varied from social dances to ritualistic dances.

Sinasos

The Dances & Songs of Sinasos Mustafapasa.

Constantinople[edit]

Griko (Southern Italy)[edit]

Cyprus[edit]

Men's Dances

Women's Dances

Aromanians[edit]

Sarakatsani[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Raftis, Alkis, The World of Greek Dance Finedawn, Athens (1987) p25.
  2. ^ Raftis, Alkis, The World of Greek Dance Finedawn, Athens (1987) p117.

External links[edit]

Video Examples of Regional Greek Dances