Greek dances

Greek dances
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.

Greek dance 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 tsamikos, syrtos, and Kalamatianos.

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.


Greek folk dances

Dora Stratou, Lykeion ton Ellinidon, Horeftikos Omilos Thessalonikis and many other professional groups exist around the world. Each consists of children and adults who continue to perform traditional dances to support the culture.

Aesthetics in Greek dance


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

Central Greece


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

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.

  • Tamzara
  • Tsestos
  • Bogdanos
  • Stis Treis
  • Troiro
  • Tremouliastos
  • Koutsos
  • Podaraki
  • Kinigitos
  • Giariska
  • Tsestos
  • Miliso
  • Antikristos
  • Syrtos Banas
  • Zervos Banas
  • Zonaradiko
  • Douzikos
  • Singathistos
  • Katsivelikos
  • Kallinitikos
  • Sfarlis
  • Zervodexios
  • Zervos


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

  • Drousas
  • Kampana
  • Antikristos
  • Kori Eleni
  • Tefkotos
  • Irthan Ta Karavia Ta Zagoriana


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.


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

Aegean Islands

Just like Crete, the Greek 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.

Ionian Islands


These dances are light and jumpy, and extremely cardiovascular.

  • Rethemniotiki Sousta
  • Nisiotika
  • Pentozali
  • Pyrrhichios (dance)
  • Syrtos Chaniotikos
  • Siganos
  • Rodo
  • Sousta
  • Trizali
  • Apanomeritis
  • Anogianos Pidichtos
  • Angaliastos
  • Maleviziotiko
  • Mikro Mikraki
  • Katsibardianos
  • Laziotis
  • Ethianos Pidichtos
  • Zervodexios
  • Pidichtos Lasithou
  • Xenobasaris
  • Katsabadianos
  • Priniotis
  • Sitiakos Pidichtos
  • Ierapetrikos Pidichtos


The Dances of the Pontic Greeks from the Black Sea, are amazing dances that 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 the Kemenche by Turkish people. See Horon page for more information on the history of these dances.

  • Atsiapat
  • Kotsari
  • Tik Mono
  • Tik Imeras
  • Tik Diplo
  • Tik Nikopolis
  • Tik Togias or Togialidikon
  • Apo Pan Kai Ka Matsouka
  • Siton Imeras
  • T'apan Ke Ka Matsouka
  • Kousera
  • Tromakton
  • Kounichton Nikopolis
  • Trigona Trapezountas
  • Trigona Matsoukas
  • Trigona Kerasountas
  • Ters Ak Dag Maten
  • Ters Kioumous Maten
  • Tyrfon or Tryfon Bafra
  • Gemoura
  • Atsapat
  • Pontic Serra
  • Serra (dance)
  • Macheria
  • Koutsichton Omal
  • Omal
  • Momoeria
  • Letsi Kars (Kars)
  • Letsina kars (Kars)
  • Podaraki
  • Sampson (Samsun)
  • Etere Trapezounta
  • Fona Argyroupolis
  • Tripat Matsouka
  • Dipat
  • Titara Argyroupolis
  • Getiere Argyroupolis
  • Tamasara Trapezountas
  • Aneforitissa Kizela
  • Kalon Koritsi
  • Seranitsa
  • Patoula
  • Kori Kopela
  • Tamsara Nikopolis
  • Lafraga
  • Tria Ti Kotsari
  • Miteritsa
  • Militsa

Asia Minor (Anatolia)




  • Diplos Choros
  • Sta Tria
  • Apano Stin Triandafilia
  • Despo
  • Tsamikos
  • Choros Katsa


  • Antipera
  • Sta Tria
  • Kalamatianos
  • Syrtos
  • Hatzistergiou
  • La Valia di Giannena
  • Sta tria
  • Kato Stin Aspri Petra



Men's Dances

  • Antikristos
  • Syrtos
  • Zeibekikos
  • Protos Karsilamas
  • Defteros Karsilamas
  • Tritos Karsilamas

Women's Dances

  • Syrtos
  • Antikristos
  • Protos Karsilamas
  • Defteros Karsilamas
  • Tritos Karsilamas
  • Tetartos Karsilamas

See also


  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

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