About Dances

Dances were necessary to the festive celebrations taking place in the countryside; feasts, festivals and especially during the four day long wedding procedure (ritual).
 
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Many of these dances have a purely cypriot character and root and there are not met in any other country. Others have their origins from Greece; a lot of areas were influenced by Greece, including Art in general. A third group of dances are the ones that  have imported dance and music elements from neighboring countries, which with time were adopted, adapted and included in the cypriot dancing repertoire and were part of the unified whole, along with the other dances.
[ Source: Αβέρωφ, Γεώργιος: Τα δημοτικά τραγούδια και οι λαϊκοί χοροί της Κύπρου. Λευκωσία, Πολιτιστικό Ίδρυμα Τραπέζης Κύπρου, 1989. ]
 

‘Antikristi’ (Dances facing each other)

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Dances include men’s dances, women’s, mixed and solo with show of talent, comic, playful etc
In the men’s dance category, the most known are the men’s ‘antikristi’ - called ‘kartzilamades’ (from the turkish word karşı which means opposite, facing each - other). ‘Kartzilamades’ are dancing suites, which are one of the most representative kind of dances in the cypriot repertoire, and they consist of five parts or moves that have the names: first, second, third, fourth and mpalos; these moves apply to both men’s and women’s dancing suites.
Men’s ‘antikristi’ dances are more lively and give the chance to the dancers to show their artistic and physical abilities, both in dancing and in singing. They are danced by two persons, who are placed “provocatively” opposite each other, since this dance is competitive; the two dancers wanted to show which of them has more manliness, gumption and artistic interpretation. At the third ‘antikristo’ the dancers beside their dancing abilities, had to sing two-verse songs (called ‘distiha’), for a specific subject which are known as ‘tsiattismata’.

The women’s ‘antikristi’ are characterized by their modesty and their subtle moves. They are danced by two women that stand opposite each other and move their hands in a way that suggests they are sewing or making crochet. The third woman’s dance is also the wedding couple’s dance; the new weds danced this dance in honor of the wedding guest on the last night of the wedding feast. During the time that the couple was dancing, the musicians were singing appraisal, wishful and supportive songs, where the quests were ‘giving’ money to the couple (‘ploumizo’) either by hanging notes on the bride’s dress or the groom’s costume or by putting money in a tray - plate.
[ Source: Αβέρωφ, Γεώργιος: Τα δημοτικά τραγούδια και οι λαϊκοί χοροί της Κύπρου. Λευκωσία, Πολιτιστικό Ίδρυμα Τραπέζης Κύπρου, 1989. ]

 

‘Sirti’ dances (chain - circular dances)

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‘Syrti’ are dances, most of them greek origin, that are related to the ancient circular or chain dances. Although, dance wise, there is no so much difference, some of them are considered female dances and some male dances. The key difference is at the ‘character’ of the dance and at the rhythmic section. Female ‘sirti’ are usually performed at a slower tempo. Note that some of these dances are accompanied with a song wherus others are purely instrumental.
[ Source: Αβέρωφ, Γεώργιος: Τα δημοτικά τραγούδια και οι λαϊκοί χοροί της Κύπρου. Λευκωσία, Πολιτιστικό Ίδρυμα Τραπέζης Κύπρου, 1989. ]

 

‘Zeimpekika’

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The name of these dances originated, according to one version, from Zeimpekides, a tribe in the area of Smyrni (Asia Minor) which considers to have its roots in Thrace. ‘Zeimpekika’ were very popular dances, mainly danced by men and in the cypriot repertoire there was a vast of ‘zeimpekika’.
Many times the name of the ‘zeimpekiko’ shows the area from which are originated. They all have 9/8 time signature which is subdivided into 4 beats or measures; the tempo is either slower or faster.
[ Source: Αβέρωφ, Γεώργιος: Τα δημοτικά τραγούδια και οι λαϊκοί χοροί της Κύπρου. Λευκωσία, Πολιτιστικό Ίδρυμα Τραπέζης Κύπρου, 1989. ]

 

‘Horos ton potirkon’ (Dance of the glasses) - ‘Arapies’

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‘Arapies’ (dance of the ‘kantila’=glass) is a dance which is danced with one or more glasses, depending on the dancer’s ability, placed upside down on the dancer’s head. In order not to spill the water, the dancer put on his head and under the glass a folded hanger chief. This dance is purely male solo dance which is danced under a musical, instrumental tune and/or with a song. Many dancers show off their abilities by stacking many glasses and pitchers on top of their head in order to impress their spectators.
[ Source: Αβέρωφ, Γεώργιος: Τα δημοτικά τραγούδια και οι λαϊκοί χοροί της Κύπρου. Λευκωσία, Πολιτιστικό Ίδρυμα Τραπέζης Κύπρου, 1989. ]


 

‘Antikristi’
- First woman’s (“Na sou goraso mihanin” - To buy you a sewing machine), Second woman’s (“Tzi agapo se pethanisko” - I die from my love to you), Third woman’s (the dance of the wedding couple), Fourth woman’s and Fifth woman’s (mpalos)
- First man’s, Second man’s, Third man’s (Foni (voice) Paralimnitissa - ‘Tsiattista’), Fourth man’s, Fifth man’s (mpalos), “To milon” (The apple) and “Kioroglou”.

‘Sirti’
- Woman’s “Arma horos” (know as “Psintri basilitzia mu” - Petite basil), woman’s ‘sirtos’ “I flogera” (The recorder [instrument]), ‘syrtos Mavrommatis’, ‘syrtos’ “To organaki” (The small instrument), ‘syrtos Politikos’(from Constantinople), ‘syrtos Skaliotikos (from Larnaca area), ‘syrtos Azizies’, ‘syrtos’ “O Karavas” (from Karavas in Kerynia district), ‘syrtos’ “Sto pano mana to horio” (Mother to the upper village)

‘Zeimpekika’
- ‘Zeimpekiko’ “O mpekris” (The drunken one), ‘zeimpekiko Aivaliotiko (Aivali area in Asia Minor), ‘zeimpekiko vari’, ‘zeimpekiko attaliko’, “Stile me mana sto nero’ (Send me mother to the water fountain)

Other dances
Mantra dance, ‘sousta’, ‘Karotseris’, greek kalamatianos, “I vraka” (a variation of the dance/song “Koniali” from Asia Minor) and more.
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