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Last Updated: 6/1/2022
Site Author/Photos: John Pappas
Everything © copyright 1998-2022

Greek Folk Dance Book/Dance Descriptions For Sale

John dances at the El Cid, 1960s

John dancing the Tsamiko to the music of John Kaplanis

at the El Cid in San Francisco, 1960.

The full second edition of my book, Ethnic Dances of Greece, will be coming out soon.

Meanwhile, however, I've had several requests for all of my dance descriptions. To keep costs down, I decided to bind them and sell them as a "pre" second edition of the book. It does not have the background information on dancing and music, but it does have the descriptions to forty (40) Greek folk dances. These are written descriptions of the steps. It is not intended for a person to learn the dances from them. A person really must see the style of the movements of a dance to understand how to move in the dance.

The book is bound, and includes the dances from our CDs plus many more. The cost of this interim edition is $25. The shipping cost for the book alone is $6. If you buy a set of four CDs, we will also give a $2 discount on the book. The discount price is $23 for the book. Shipping costs for four CDs plus the book is $10.

Single dance descriptions cost $1.00 each.

Below, I've included a list of dances included in the book (and available as single dance descriptions), as well as a sample dance description. An introduction to Greek folk dance in general is available on my Greek folk dance page.

Ordering and Payment

To order individual descriptions and/or the abbreviated second edition of the book, or for more information, email John at or write him at:

John Pappas
P.O. Box 693711
Stockton, CA 95209-3711

You can pay online with Paypal, or send a check or money order to us (Paypal is the quickest method; we ship as soon as receive payment).

Dances in Alphabetical Order:

Stefanis Facaros dancing Hasaposervikos

Stefanis Facaros dancing Hasaposervikos.

  1. Andikrystos
  2. Ballos
  3. Beratis
  4. Diplos Horos Arkadias
  5. Fysouni
  6. Gaida
  7. Hasapikos (Hasaposervikos)
  8. Hasapikos Argos
  9. Hiotikos
  10. Ikariotikos
  11. Karagouna
  12. Kastrinos
  13. Kleftes
  14. Kotsarin
  15. Lahana
  16. Lefkaditikos
  17. Len Irthi Mais
  18. Levendikos
  19. Menousis
  20. Miterítsa
  21. Nisiotikos Syrtos
  22. Pentozalis
  23. Pos to Trivoun to Piperi
  24. Siganos
  25. Sousta Rodou
  26. Sta Dyo
  27. Sta Tria
  28. Syrtos Botaitikos
  29. Syrtos Haniotikos
  30. Syrtos Koftos
  31. Syrtos Pylaias
  32. Syrtos Thrakis
  33. Syrtos-Kalamatianos
  34. Tapeinos
  35. Tik
  36. Trata
  37. Tsakonikos
  38. Tsamikos
  39. Zagorisios
  40. Zonaradikos

Dances by Region:

Book Cover

Dance book cover.


Diplos Horos Arkadias; Syrtos Botaitikos; Syrtos Koftos; Tsakonikos


Beratis; Fysouni; Kleftes; Menousis; Sta Dyo; Sta Tria; Zagorisios


Andikrystos; Gaida; Levendikos; Syrtos Pylaias

Pontos (Black Sea - Asia Minor)

Kotsarin; Lahana; Miterítsa; Tik

Roumeli and Peloponnisos

Pos to Trivoun to Piperi; Trata


Len Irthi Mais; Syrtos Thrakis (Syngathistos Thrakis); Tapeinos; Zonaradikos



Islands - Aegean

Ballos; Hiotikos; Ikariotikos (Ikaria); Nisiotikos Syrtos; Sousta Rodou (Rhodes)

Islands - Ionian


Islands - Crete

Kastrinos; Siganos; Pentozalis; Syrtos Haniotikos

Pan-Hellenic or Tavernes (Rebetika)

Hasapikos (Hasaposervikos); Hasapikos Argos; Syrtos-Kalamatianos; Tsamikos

Dance Description Sample


Dancing Kalamatianos in Kandyla. August 15, 1970. John and Paula Pappas.

Note: It is really not possible to learn a dance correctly from a dance description. Such descriptions are good as reminder notes, or as a way to analyze the structure of the step pattern. The only way to correctly learn these dances is by dancing with the Greeks, especially at celebrations. A good teacher who is from the culture and really understands the spirit and ethos of the dance culture can also be a valuable resource. Please accept the following description as only a note on the most popular of all of the Hellenic dances. Also, be aware that the commercial versions of the dance descriptions include musical notations and other features not available on this page.

Dance Description: SYRTOS - KALAMATIANOS

Sample Dance Description - Page One

Sample dance description: Page one.

The Syrtos is considered the national dance of Greece. It is danced by all Greeks everywhere in one form or another. The name, Syrtos, comes from a word that means dragging or pulling, and this name more properly applies to the dance when it is done with a smooth, flowing style. The Kalamatianos has the same basic step or footwork, but it is often more bouncy and leaping in character. Actually, the main difference between the two is the meter. Although many Greeks do not know the difference, the musicians always refer to the melodies in 2/4 or 4/4 meter as Syrta, and the melodies in 7/8 meter as Kalamatiana. The music also tells the dancer how to dance: some music demands smooth, dragging steps, while other music demands high leaping steps.

Formation: Dancers are in a broken circle with hands joined at shoulder height with elbows bent and down. The hands are not pushed forward, but are comfortably back by the shoulders.

Characteristics: This dance is for both men and women. The men can be more energetic in their styling, and sometimes when a line is composed of all women or all men, the tone of the dance will be more feminine or masculine. Depending on the music, the dance can be either smooth or leaping in style.

Note: The steps are the same for both the Syrtos and the Kalamatianos; it is the meter that is different and which makes the style different. I will describe the dance in the 7/8 meter, but the Syrtos description would be the same except for the duration of the dance beats.

Kalamatianos: 7/8 meter: 3/8, 2/8, 2/8 (counted as LONG, SHORT, SHORT or 1+, 2, 3)

Syrtos: 4/4 meter: 4/8, 2/8, 2/8 (counted as LONG, SHORT, SHORT or 1+, 2, 3)

Weight is on the left foot.

Measure I:

1+ Step sideward to right on Right ft.
2 Step behind the right on Left ft.
3 Step sideward to right on Right ft.

Measure II:

1+ Step across in front of the right on Left ft.
2 Step sideward to right on Right ft.
3 Step across in front of right on Left ft.

Measure III :

1+ Step slightly to side (right) on Right ft.
2 Step slightly forward (towards center) on Left ft.
3 Step in place on Right ft.

Measure IV:

1+ Step next to right on Left ft.
2 Step slightly forward (towards center) on Right ft.
3 Step in place on Left ft.

Note: There are many variations and improvisations that the leader or individual dancers can do. Many of these step variations are done by individuals as their creativity and improvisational mood tells them. Especially, there are variations in Measures 3 and 4.

The leader may do fancy step variations and turns. Male leaders may do squat steps or slap the feet. Individual dancers do not try to follow or imitate the leader. A very common variation is for the dancers to skip or hop immediately before the first step in each measure, especially before the step across on the left foot at the beginning of measure two. Instead of joining hands, the second dancer often holds a mandili (kerchief or scarf) to support the lead dancer.

This page was last updated on 2/27/2011.

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