Friday’s Fact About: Cyprus Traditional Dance

Cyprus - Folk Dancing









One of the top items on your ‘to do list’ when you visit Cyprus has to be to go along to a ‘Cyprus night’ at a local taverna to listen to the local music and witness the island’s wonderful traditional dance.

Still very much part of the Cypriot culture, dance is a big part of life – be it weddings, festivals, bouzouki clubs, or the more commercial Cyprus nights (which are extremely popular throughout the island, and a great way for locals to educate visitors on some of Cyprus’ traditions).

Traditional dress is worn by dancers performing at festivals and Cyprus nights, and the traditional music is played typically by violin (Kamanche), bouzouki, accordion, lavouto and boulgari, and oud.

In ancient days, men and women did not dance together, but this has changed over time and nowadays many Cypriot dances are performed by men and women together.

Cypriot DancingCypriot dances are mainly of the type performed by a confronted pair, invariably two men or two women, or men’s solo dances displaying virtuosity which are often performed with a hand-held object, either a sickle, knife, sieve, or tumbler.  Improvisation is another characteristic of Cypriot dances and where there are some rules which are normally followed at the beginning of the dance, improvisation takes over – but it is to be noted that improvisation and the freedom of the dancer to do his own thing are constrained by the community’s severe strictures upon any excesses.

Folk dance tells a story:  about farming, harvest, averting evil, sewing, weddings and more.  The distinguishing features of Cyprus dance include sharp snapping of the fingers in time to the music, arms being held out to the side and holding a kerchief.  And of course there is dancing with many glasses on one’s head these days!

Cyprus dancing is fascinating to watch, in particular the male dancing, which portrays a real sense of showmanship – this could be attributed to courtship which is also linked to dance.  Female dancing is more restrained and grave.

Commonly, a group of dancers will kneel in a circle, clapping in time to the music, whilst one dancer after the other takes to the centre to perform.  There’s no denying the sense of love & pride that Cypriots have for their traditional dance when they take to the floor!

To find out about Cypriot dancing in depth, click HERE.



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