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Dance in Crete...

Throughout history, this race is renowned for its heroism. Their music and dance is dynamic and fast. Each Cretan dance gives opportunity for each dancer to lead and improvise. A particular characteristic of the Cretan dances is the springing movement of the dancers.

The Cretan Lyra is the most distinctive instrument on this island. Their most popular dances are Pentozali, Maleviziotikos, Haniotikos, Laziotikos and Syrtos.

In Crete you can a lot of traditional Crete dance schools where young children start to learn from 3 years old...

  • Siganos
    They used to dance Siganos holding each other's hand. During the era of Turkish occupation it became a team dance, the dance of friendship, the chain of unity and freedom and thus, the spiritual expression of the Cretan people.

  • Sousta
    It is the lovers' dance. It expresses the rich emotions of the Cretan people - life's eternal song.
    In ancient years it was a war dance. In times of peace it became the dance of love.
    It is named after its small, noiseless and playful steps.
    It is one of the most beautiful love dances of our country.

  • Kastrinos (also called Maleviziotikos or Pidiktos)
    Kastrinos (also called Maleviziotikos or Pidiktos) is the most masculine, the fastest and the most impressive dance of Crete. It was named after the Great Castle (Kastro), today's Heraklion.
    Its brisk rhythm and liveliness give the opportunity to the dancer to show off his agility, stamina and his ability to improvise and impress with his figures.
    It is the most difficult, but also the most popular Cretan dance.

  • Pentozalis
    It was named after its five steps and is part of the Cretan gallantry and virtue. The firm, decisive steps are followed by aggressive, fast ones. Is a traditional war dance representing revolution, heroism and hope. The black handkerchief on the dancer's head witnesses the sacrifices of our folk.

  • Sirtos (Chaniotikos or chaniotis)
    Sirtos is also called Chaniotis, after the western prefecture of Chania. It is the expression of a secret decision for life and death, love and secret wishes, as the dancers express their sad or happy story through simple, creeping steps.

  • Anogianos Pidihtos
    Men's martial dance that is danced in the region of Anogia, with special characteristics the hopping steps and the strong taps of the feet in the ground. It seems that it springs from an ancient dance of the Kourites. The hands of dancers are hold from the palms crosswise and form a dance of twelve steps (six steps forward, six steps backwards). It is attributed with a lyre and a lute.

  • Lasithiotikos Pidihtos
    It's a dance that belongs to the family of hopping dances of Crete, likely having an origin from the ancient Pirrihio dance. In the Lasithiotiko Pidihto is portrayed all the nobility and modesty of the people of Eastern Crete. In Sitia they call it "Stiako'" and in Ierapetra "Gerapetritiko" (in the old days in Ierapetra it was usually called "Cretan dance"). With no doubt it is the most representative dance of Eastern Crete, in which are characterized but also appreciated the skilful dancers as well as the good instrumentalists. It begins with a slow rhythmical introduction and progressively it becomes fast but also retained without exceeding the limits and it ends up as a Dionysiac dance. The Pidihtos has some small variants in Sitia, Ierapetra and Merampello in the steps but also the melody in which there is a big variety.

  • Ksenompasaris
    This dance owes its name to the folk couplet that is sung always first during the dance: " My ksenompasariakaki, my ksenompasariko,my curly little basil, wish you were mine".Its melody is cute, light and it makes the dance enthusiasts want to dance. In the old days they used to danced and sing it in every feast, especially in the mountainous villages of Ierapetra and Merampello (where they call it "Mana"). It was well known until the decade of 1960. It is a settled and slow dance that resembles the Sigano. In the old years in Ierapetra they didn't know the Sigano. It came over the last years from central Crete, as the older say.We can say that the Ksenompasaris be an old local form of the Siganos dance.

  • Zervodeksos
    It's cheerful and comical dance that suits the spirit of the Carnival. It is named zervodeksos because the dancers dance sometimes with a direction to the left (zerva) and sometimes to the right (deksia). The change of the direction is being done when the lyre player plays a high musical sound.

  • Katsampadianos
    It is being danced with eleven steps and is attributed with a lyre. It is mainly danced in the prefecture of Rethymnon and more specifically in the province Amari but also in the regions around it, as well as the village Harkia in the province of Rethymnon. According to the book of I. Tsouhlarakis, "The dances of Crete", this dance was first danced around 1800 in the region of Ampadia in the province of Amari (prefecture of Rethyimnon), as a variant of Pentozali, so that Sifodaskalakis, a limping chieftain of the region, could dance in a feast.

  • Mikro Mikraki
    It's dance that we mainly meet in the prefecture of Rethymnon. It belongs to the category of the round dances of Crete.

  • Ntames
    It's a form of round dance that is danced in certain villages of the prefecture of Rethymnon and Chania. It is danced by men and women, as the woman keeps the end of a cloth with her left hand and next to her a man holds the other end, up to the moment where the lyre player will say "ntama", so each man leaves his partner's cloth in order to dance with the woman that is front of him.

  • Agkaliastos

  • Apanomeritis

  • Priniotis