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Ostraco's Bar => Gossip => Topic started by: Χαΐνης on April 04, 2015, 11:45:16 AM

Title: Traditional Greek dance
Post by: Χαΐνης on April 04, 2015, 11:45:16 AM
Being Greek, I love greek traditional dances, especially cretan ones. I would love to know how you, non-Greeks, see greek traditional dance and music in general. Below is a link showing a cretan dance called pentozali. Enjoy! (
Title: Re: Traditional Greek dance
Post by: triton on April 04, 2015, 12:37:23 PM (

We first went to Greece ( Corfu ) in 1978 and bought 14 Original Sirtaki LP so we like listening to this type of Greek music. The sound of the Bazouki is fantastic !
There was lots of dancing in the Taverna round the petrol pumps and into the street EVERY night.
You were given a pad on the table, everything we had was written down and paid in Drachmas  about 2am. ( if we lasted that long ) Great times :)
Title: Re: Traditional Greek dance
Post by: Χαΐνης on April 05, 2015, 11:50:34 AM
Sirtaki is a relatively modern dance whereas some other kinds of music, along with their accompanying dances (for example, Pyrrhichios), date back to over 2000 years ago. So do many cretan dances. The most impressive thing is that they have remained unaltered throughout the centuries.
Title: Re: Traditional Greek dance
Post by: happyashellas on August 02, 2015, 12:36:50 AM
My limited Greek isn't too good, but does pentozali mean five steps? If I'm wrong then λιπαμη!
To answer your original question I find it brilliant that the traditional dancing is still carried on today by local people. Tourism can spoil many of these events and pretty soon you can be left with a false heritage that has blossomed only for some tourism merchandising. The over exaggerated plate smashing on islands like Symi for example, where hundreds of plates are smashed for tourist videos has little or nothing to do with traditional Greek culture. Why would it be the local custom to smash plates after a meal?
When you do find yourself "caught up" in a genuine happening, then it doesn't just add to your holiday, it positively makes it. Because I attempted to speak a bit Greek in Agios Palagios, my family were invited to a local taverna where the owner, all his customers and my wife and daughter ended up dancing round a table drinking far more tsikoudia than is good for ones general sense of well being. We also sampled the traditional meal of goats testicles because we tried to engage with some locals. If you ever get offered this dish then I implore you to try it as they are absolutely delicious. Apologies for going on a bit and slightly off track, but when it is genuinely local, unorganised, unplanned and you just happen to stagger upon it because the ancient Gods are smiling on you that day then yes - that is brilliant. Ειναι Ελλαδα, ιτσι δεν ειναι
Title: Re: Traditional Greek dance
Post by: Χαΐνης on August 02, 2015, 11:53:19 AM
Hi happyashellas, I really appreciate your response. You're right! Smashing plates has nothing to do with greek tradition. It is considered to be a form of subculture in Greece and can be seen not only in places where there are many tourists but also in wedding parties, bouzoukia night clubs (not to be confused with the bouzouki instrument) etc.

I also totally agree with you with the genuinely unorganized, unplanned part. Undoubtedly, such a thing can be something to remember for the rest of your life.

Πεντοζάλι (pentozali) is a compound word. It is composed of two words: πέντε or πέμπτος (five or fifth) and ζάλος (step, in the cretan dialect). It denotes the fifth attempt of cretans to rebel against turks. The dance itself consists of ten steps.  Some believe that this relates to the fact that pentozali was danced for the first time on October 10th, 1769 in Anopoli (a small village near Sfakia) by twelve greek rebels. Oddly, the english Wikipedia page is inaccurate and contains many errors.
Title: Re: Traditional Greek dance
Post by: happyashellas on August 03, 2015, 08:38:31 AM
On the subject of wrong details, it is one of the downsides of trying to learn Greek. Many sites such as google translate get grammar horrifically wrong at times, but in general can be a useful tool. It tells us that βημα in Greek means step, but that ζάλος means zalos. I have tried several different sites to learn Greek and they mostly come up short in some respect. Livemocha was good for beginners, but has no intermediate lessons. At present I'm using Greekpod101 which seems quite good just now for what I need. Of course the Cretan dialect is sometimes different again, but I can't wait till October when I'll be back in Crete, trying out my latest linguistic talents on the unsuspecting locals.