Syrtos (Greek: συρτός, syrtos (also sirtos); plural συρτοί, syrtoi (also sirtoi); sometimes called in English using the Greek accusative forms syrto (also sirto); from the Greek: σύρω, syro (also siro), "to drag [the dance]") is – in classical and modern Greece – a traditional dance in which the dancers link hands to form a chain or circle, headed by a leader who intermittently breaks away to perform improvised steps.


Syrtos, along with its relative kalamatianos, are the most popular dances throughout Greece and Cyprus, and are frequently danced by the Greek diaspora worldwide. They are very popular in social gatherings, weddings and religious festivals. Syrtos and kalamatianos use the same dance steps, but the syrtos is in 4

4 time and the kalamatianos is in 7/8 time, organized in a slow (3 beat), quick (2 beat), quick (2 beat) rhythm.


Syrtos and kalamatianos are line dances and circle dances, done with the dancers in a curving line holding hands, facing right. The dancer at the right end of the line is the leader. He may also be a solo performer, improvising showy twisting skillful moves as the rest of the line does the basic step. While he does this, the next dancer in line stops dancing and holds him up with a twisted handkerchief linking their hands, so he can turn and not fall down, as in the Antikristos. In some parts of syrtos, pairs of dancers hold a handkerchief from its two sides.


Rennell Rodd (1892) suggests that the dance is an imitation of the action of drawing in the seine net. C. T. Dimaras describes an inscription from the times of Caligula, which implied that already at these times Syrtos was considered an ancient Greek dance of local tradition.

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