Traditional Greek Dances

Undisputably, Hellenic dance initiated along with history thousands of years ago! Long before historical references with regards to other civilizations dances, in Greece there were many records about hundreds of dances along with the variations. With more than 3000 years of history, Hellenic dance is of the oldest/ancient in this world. Nowadays, Hellenic dances are divided as Traditional or Modern. The following article written by Jimmy, explores the most well known traditional Greek dances.

Kalamatianos (⁷/₈)

One of the most popular dances it was a secondary variation of the sirto (sliding), and its name derives from a song attributed to Kalamata city (Peloponnisos). Presumed that features of Kalamatianos are shown on ancient pottery, votive columns and clay figures.

It consists of seven progressive and five stationary steps with a bouncy and fluffy technique. As most of traditional dances Kalamatianos is danced in a circular manner towards the left side and the leading dancer is able to perform some different routines based on the basic movement.

All dancers maintain wrist-to-wrist contact, holding the fingers of each other with the elbows pointing towards the floor and in some cases using a handkerchief as a means of contact.

Kalamatianos is definetely the favorite dance of men and women both in Greece and in other countries, with a joyous mood that is present in all social events.

Sirtos (²/₄)

Another popular Greek dance forms the basis of many variations that is danced mostly from the islanders all over Hellenic territory.

Sirtos can be found having six or twelve steps depending on the region it's danced whilst its sliding technique make steps smooth and gives the impression of a boat on the archipelagos.

In this particular dance, the leading dancer can perform variations of the steps along with the dancer right next to him/her.

Tsamikos (⁶/₈)

As well with the Kalamatianos, the Tsamikos dance is one of the most popular and originated in the mainland with some choreologists claiming that it came from the same region as Kalamatianos.

Its name supposed derives from the "Tsamides" (a tribe of Greek and Albanian influences) spotted in the west northern region of Greece with some historians-glossologists claiming that it came from the ancient river Thyamis (Thesprotia county).

A second name for this dance is "kleftikos" (=thievish) because it was very popular among the thieves during the Turkish rule era.

With a slow tempo, Tsamikos has many variations but the most well known is the one with the sixteen bouncy steps and secondly another variation with twelve easy and grounded steps.

Back then it was a mens' only dance and today it is also danced by women, but such as other dances they must keep a rule of decency. As mens' steps are more springing with very wide kicks, womens' steps must be much lower to the floor following the old Greek school protocol.

Balos (²/₄)

Without touching each other, Balos is a face-to-face flirting dance for young couples and back then it was the traditionally acceptable way for youth to express their feelings.

Balos has exactly the same music and technique but a lower speed and flirting lyrics allowing dancers to perform smooth steps whilst communicating comfortably enough with facing each other.

A dance characterized by courtesy and respect against the female gender.