Cretan Dancers

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.


Pentozalis is a particularly enthusiastic and swift dance. Its basic steps are five and it is based on a rhythm with eight musical metres. It is danced by men and women holding each other from the shoulders in circle. The accompanying music is played by violin or lyre with lute, mandolin and askomantoura in the mountainous regions.


Siganos is a slow walking dance which is danced holding hands from the shoulders, is completed with six or eight steps, with eight steps is danced in Milopotamos, while with six steps is danced in Heraklion. When it is danced with six steps it does not complete the melody because its basic metres are eight, however it is easier this way, and generally is characterized as a tourist dance. Because in Siganos the circle of dancers when there are many curles in spiral, many say that it depicts the exit of Theseus from the Labyrinth.
Siganos is said to be the dance of the bride, because it is danced in the marriages with the groom on the front and the bride next to him.


The Sousta is the facing dance of Crete that has a lot of elements from the ancient pirihios. The particular way that is danced is the evidence. The dance is being danced by men and women, alternately holding palms all together, shaping in the beginning a semicircle, afterwards they separate and stand the one opposite the other making two teams, on of the men and and one of the women. During the dance a story is developed between the man and the woman, the man calls and hugs, trying to invite the woman erotically. The woman with turnings and figures resists to the erotic call. With the movements of the hands and the head, a discussion is developed little by little. Till in the end, befalls the union. The development of this dance therefore is an erotic history that each one of the dancers, depending on his place, plays his own role.
The dance requires an absolute interdependence between the body, the hands and the head that all of them, in a combination contribute to the absolute expression of the dance. The rhythm is based on metre 2/4 and the accompanying music is played with lyre or violin and lute, mandolin or askomantoura in the mountainous regions. Its basic steps are three.


Sirtos or sertos is a slow dance that is danced in a rhythm based on metre 2/4 (4 turnings by 2 times) and is accompanied by lyre or violin, lute, mandolin or askomantoura in the mountainous regions. There is a big variety of rhythms that accompany the Sirtos, the first, the second, the Kissamitikos, etc.
It is named Sirtos because the legs of the dancers are shuffled on the ground without losing their contact with the earth, which the Cretans worshipped as a Goddess. It is completed with eleven or twelve steps, when it is danced with eleven steps it keeps one rhythm, and its pace is circular, with hands in a distance looking upwards.

During the dance, the dancers shape a circle which closes and opens inwards. The circle is led by the first dancer, who has the possibility to improvise, making small variants in the pace, shaping the figures, small complicated steps, however without enthusiasm and big jumps, and without exiting the circle, he makes turns and moves that take off the dance. After he finishes, he goes last one and the second dancer becomes first making his improvisions. When the dance is danced by men only, the following shaping is strictly followed. The first dancer with a piece of material draws the second one and they dance while the rest of the dancers follow, walking while holding hands. The first dancer takes the first turn following the steps of the Sirtos, on the second turn he makes alternations in the steps with prudence, making small improvised figures, on the third turn with more enthusiasm he executes more intense steps and exiting the circle with swift movements, he touches the last dancer. Thus the second becomes first and executes his own variants. This becomes until all the dancers dance in the front. This has a particularly allegorical importance because it depicts the leader with the commander that together draw the men in the war and when the leader is killed, the commander takes his place.