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Syrtos(Συρτός, Sirto, Syrto, Sirtos) is the name of a group of Greek folk dances of ancient origin. The syrto is the most popular dance throughout Greece, and is danced by Greek-Americans at all festive gatherings. Syrto and Kalamatianos use the same dance steps, but the syrto is in 4/4 time and the kalamatiano is in 7/8 time, organized in a slow (3 beat), quick (2 beat), quick (2 beat) rhythm. Sirto is a couples dance from the Pirin region in Bulgaria. Sirtos are one of the most liked folk dances and music in Cyprus. Sirto comes from the Greek Syrtos. However, it is easy to also observe the Turkish motives in the ones used in Cyprus. Even Ottoman Sultans enjoyed this Greek music form and composed songs in that form. The most popular non-anonymous example is the Hicaz Sirto of 32nd Ottoman Sultan Abdülâziz, which is known in North Cyprus among Turkish Cypriots as Aziziye Sirto. Similarly it is known (played and danced) in the South Cyprus among Greek Cypriots as Aziziyes Syrtos (Αζιζιές Συρτός). This is quite normal taking into consideration that the two communities lived together for a very long time in Cyprus history. In some parts of sirtos pairs of dancers hold a handkerchief from its two sides as in karsilamas. When one of the dancers starts making skillful movements the other stops dancing and keeps holding the handkerchief firmly so that his friend will not fall down. Seherli Sirtosu, Aziziye Sirto, Iskele Sirtosu, Azize, Kina Sirtosu, etc, are the most popular sirtos...This folk dance, performed by men and women in couples in a circle, is very popular in social gatherings, weddings and religious festivals. It symbolizes the harmony between male and female roles in the Cypriot society. The music is generally played with a lyre (Kemenche) (or violin), lute, santur, gaida, oud, baglama, zurna, davul, tambourine, sandouri (σαντούρι), Kanun (instrument), bouzouki and mandolin (or askomantoura).


Each region, particularly the islands, have their own version of the dance.[1] The common denominator is a chain of dancers, facing sideways and holding hands, moving to the dancer's right. The dancer at the right end of the line is the leader, who may lead intricate patterns while using a simple basic step.

Sometimes the leader is connected to the second in line via a scarf or handkerchief. In other variants all dancers are connected via handkerchiefs. Rennell Rodd (1892)[2] suggests that the dance is an imitation of the action of drawing in the seine net. It is considered the most ancient form of dance. C. T. Dimaras [3] describes an inscription from the times of Caligula, which implied that already at these times Syrtos was considered an ancient dance of local tradition.

Dance Description:


Politiko Syrto

Politiko Syrto is from the area of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in Asia Minor. Constantinople was referred to as "the city" (or "poli") because of its importance as a seat of culture and trade in the civilized world. Syrto (from the Greek word "syro" meaning to pull or, more accurately, to lead) is characterized by its slow-quick-quick rhythm within its 4/4 meter.

Hortarakia(Syrtos Botaitikos)

Syrtos from Arcadia, Peloponnisos - This song is a Pan-Hellenic Syrtos. The older, two part Syrtos Botaitikos from Botia (Palaiopyrgos) can also be done to this music. This older form of the dance that I learned from my great uncle, Thodoris Pappayiorgas, features men and women in two separate lines, the men behind the women. They merge into one line of mixed men and women and then back to the two lines, using the ancient chain hold that can be seen on ancient Greek vase paintings. The song tells of a young man meeting an old man and asking, "Where are the greens of the meadow, the water from the well?"

Syrtos Koftos

Koftos is a Greek dance that is danced in the following regions: Thessaly, Epirus and central Greece. The name of the dance comes from the cut in tune/music. It is a faster syrto(Syrtos,Sirto,Sirtos) sta dio style fun dance. When the music stops the dancers yell "Hey". When the music stops you also can put your arms up, down, or clap. It can also be danced going backwards and forwards or with partners. "Koftos" in Greek means to cut and the music cuts periodically. This is how the name came about.

Syrto Bafra

Also known as Omali, in the Kerasounta/Giresun region, this dance is called Syrto, Karshilidiko Omal, Lakhana (after the name of the song, which means cabbage), Kerasountaiko or Kotsikton Omal. It is a 9/8 rhythm and bears no resemblance to what we usually call Syrto, which is usually either a 7/8 (kalamatiano) or 8/8 rhythm. In this case, the name most likely refers to the style, what we call dragging dances.

Pomaško Sirto

This is a dance of the Muslim Pomaks of the Balkans.The first part is identical to the Greek Kalamatianos.Time 7/8, slow quick quick (SQQ), 3 + 2 + 2

Kritiko Syrto

Kritiko Syrto means Syrto from Crete. There are many variations to the dance; every village does it slightly differently. The choreography we use for performances has been developed for a specific piece of Cretan music.The movements of the Cretan Syrtos are calm, sober, and gentle. They constitute the respite before the battle, the resting of the soul, and calming of thoughts. The Syrtos is danced in a manner reminiscent of a religious ceremony that expresses the mystical aspects of life and death, passion and grief of the Cretan spirit.


Syrtos Dance From Rethymno

Syrtos Haniotikos

The popular Syrtos Haniotikos dance is danced to this song from the island of Crete. "The black clothes (of mourning) are as heavy as iron..."A religious dance where the dancer expresses himself with figures mostly on the ground rather than on the air. The region of Kissamos in Chania is considered by musicians and dancers as the source of the dance. We observe at the field researches that syrtos (as well as all Cretan dances) presents many variations from province to province and of course from prefecture to prefecture in Crete, a fact that brings out the richness of the music and dance tradition of Crete, but also the intense local expression of Cretans in all the aspects of their lives. We have recorded this dance at Kastelli of Kissamos in Chania.

Syrtos Tsirighetikos This dance originated in the city of Chania in western Crete and is thus known on Crete as Haniotikos.

Syrtos from Kolympari

Syrtos from Selino

Syrtos from Mesogea

Syrtos from Pervolia

Syrtos from Anogeia

Syrto Kefallinias

This dance is from the island of Kefallinia in the Ionian Sea. Although most of the Greek islands originally were under the control of the Ottoman Turks, Kefallinia was ruled by the Venetians for several centuries. Thus this dance has a springy, almost Italian quality.

Syrto Pyleas

This dance is from a village in Macedonia called Pyleas. This is another dance Anna Efstathiou taught in February 1983. We call one of the variations "arm aloft," as dancers raise their arms rhythmically over their heads and back down again.

Syrtos Dance From Bornova (Bournovalio Sirto)

Ti Tha Yino Ego Me Sena/Bournovalio Syrtos

  • English Translation:

What am I to do with you Panayioti? You’ve stolen my heart and youth. For three years now you’ve enslaved me and you’ve tormented me, but I’ve got your game now, you liar, and know that you’ve no feelings for me. You come to my neighborhood to chat with me, and you come and go in my house and laugh behind everyone’s back. But you must know that my mother will not be ashamed to tell you that you’re a liar and a scoundrel. You better leave before she sees you, and face it, she’ll kick you out, Panayioti. Then she’ll marry me off to someone else, and I’ll be freed from you Panayioti.

Syrtos Kavakli

Syrtos Makedonias

Syrtos Pidichtos

Sytros Thrakis

Syrtos Dance From Silivri(Silibrianos Sirtos)

Syrtos Dance From Paramythia

Syriano Syrto

Syrto Rodinou

Syrto Zakynthos

Syrtos Singathistos

Syrtos Pedina Horia

Prevezaniko Syrtos

Syrtos mesogeitikos

Syrtos Ikoniou(Syrtos Dance From Konya)

Geragotikos Syrtos

A syrtos dance from Lesbos called Γεραγότικος (Geragotikos), also in Hijaz.

Syrtos Dance From Karaburun(Syrtos Karambourviotikos)

Nisiotikos Syrtos

Syrtos Chios

A couple's dance with steps and style characteristic of island dances, this Syrtos is from the island of Chios in Greece, near the Turkish coast.

Syrtos Dance from Symi

Syrtos Dance from Kalymnos

Syrtos Dance from Naxos Island

Syrtos Dance from Paros

Syrtos Dance from Rhodes

Syrtos Dance from Samos Island

Syrtos Dance from Andros

Syrtos Dance from Skiros

Syrtos Dance from Skopelos

Syrtos Dance from Kithnos(Syrtos Kithnou)

See also


  1. ^ Rickey Holden, Mary Vouras (1965) "Greek Folk Dances", p. 84
  2. ^ Rennell Rodd (1892) "The Customs and Lore of Modern Greece", p.88
  3. ^ C. T. Dimaras (1972) "History of Modern Greek Literature", ISBN 0873950712, p. 7

External links


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