Home >Cretan Folklore dances Crete has a well known folk dance tradition, which comes from ancient Greece and includes swift dances like pentozalis and other like sousta, syrtos, trizali, katsabadianos, chaniotikos, siganos, pidichtos Lasithiou, maleviziotikos, tsiniaris, ierapetrikos and laziotikos.
Pentozalis The Pentozali is a war dance, vigorous, with high jumping movements and allows for much improvisation. It starts at a moderate pace and accelerates progressively. The dancers hold each other by the shoulders and form an incomplete circle, which rotates counterclockwise very slowly, or sometimes not at all, because most of the lively steps are semistationary. The first dancer is expected to improvise engaging in acrobatics; in this case he and the second dancer hold hands, rather than shoulders, and the second dancer stands still and rigid, so that the first dancer has a stable base on which to perform. Once the first dancer has finished his part, he is expected to break ranks and slowly dance his way to the back of the line, yielding his place to the second, and so on. Women also perform the dance, but their steps are more restrained because their dress does not allow for high jumps. Traditional Cretan menswear, on the other hand, facilitates acrobatic dancing as it includes the black βράκα vraka, a variant of breeches that are worn tight around the waist and thighs and extremely baggy and loose around the hips.
Sousta (Greek: σούστα) is the name of a folk dance in Cyprus and Crete which is danced in Greece and generally in the Balkans. The music is generally played with a lyre (Cretan and Pontian) (or violin), laouto, and mandolin (or askomandoura).
There are elements of eroticism and courtship acted out in the dance, which is usually performed by pairs of men and women dancing opposite. Another form is where all the dancers in a row follow the first dancer who moves in complex patterns. Almost every island of Aegean has a sousta dance.
The origins of sousta come from the ancient pyrrhichios, a martial dance of Greece
Syrtos (Greek: Συρτός, also sirtos; plural syrtoi; sometimes called in English using the Greek accusative forms syrto and sirto; from the Greek: σύρω, syro, "drag [the dance]"), is the collective name of a group of Greek folk dances. Syrtos, along with its relative kalamatianos, are the most popular dances throughout Greece and are frequently danced by the Greek diaspora worldwide. They are very popular in social gatherings, weddings and religious festivals. Syrtos is in 4/4 time organized in a slow (3 beat), quick (2 beat), quick (2 beat) rhythm.
Syrtos is line and circle dance, done with the dancers in a curving line holding hands, facing right. The dancer at the right end of the line is the leader. He may also be a solo performer, improvising showy twisting skillful moves as the rest of the line does the basic step. While he does this, the next dancer in line stops dancing and holds him up with a twisted handkerchief linking their hands, so he can turn and not fall down, as in the Antikristos. In some parts of syrtos, pairs of dancers hold a handkerchief from its two sides.