Naxos is the island of a good-time, Dionysus and Apollo. It is a central core and prosperous musical cell among the rest of the Cyclades islands.

In folklore dances of Naxos there is a strong erotic component. The dances are “antikristoio” (square dance), “syrtoi” (round dance) and syntechniakoi. The influences in the music and dances of the island are mainly from Minor Asia, especially from the large urban centres (Smyrna, Constantinople).

The main dances of Naxos are: “Syrtos” (with slow or fast steps), “Balos” (not as an independent dance but continuity of Syrtos), “Vlacha” (with variations for each village), “Kalamatianos” (eptasimos syrtos) and finally the “Vitzilaiadistikos” (men only dance). There are other dances who did not survive the passage of time as “Vlachopoula” and “Kotsakia” and carnival-time dances as “Mimitikos”, “Gerontistikos” and “Nikintres”. The rhythm in almost all dances is of 2 / 4,except  in "Kalamatiano" that is 7 / 8.


Syrtos Vitzilaiadistikos

The “Syrtos” is the most popular and widespread dance of Naxos. It is danced in all circumstances and has slowly or rapidly rhythm, depending on preferences of the leading dancer who “parangelnei”(order the song he wants to the band so as to dance), “pays” (the band) and dances with his companionship. In this dance the leading dancer has great potential to ad-lib, making splashy dance steps that are called «tsalimia». At the beginning of the dance, usually, 7-8 young men stand up and start to dance in a slow rhythm and to do “kavadia” (tsalimia), stamps and calls so as to give to women the impetus to stand up with regular, simply steps or with the steps of a “ballo” dance.

"Ballos" is a dance that is free and “antikrystos” (square dance). It is danced after the “Syrtos” and only by the leading couple. Ballos was never danced if it had not been preceded a “Syrtos”. During the dance the lute player sings extemporary couple verse (kotsakia), depending on the talents and characteristics of the dancers. The moves/ steps of “Ballos” are symbolic, expressive and express the feelings of “leader” to the “follower”. The movements of the leader are either aggressive, with a view to kiss the lady or circular reconnaissance to impress and to «pervasive»her by finding her weak points. The “follower” continues this love game, with discreet quick moves and speed to avoid “raids” of the leader.

Ballos Ballos

The Vlacha dance is cyclical and is danced by men and women rise from their shoulders. It was danced mainly at the time of Carnival.
It is consisted of two musical motifs, a slow and a fast, and usually is accompanied by a song. The dance steps vary from village to village, as well as the songs that accompany it.

Vlacha Vlacha

The “Kalamatianos” or “Kalamathianos” , is the known “eptasimos” Syrtos dance and usually it was the dance to start with the local festivals. In Apiranthos is also called “Kotsatos” (as is also called the“Syrtos” dance) and extemporary verses (kotsakia)are accustomed  in the rhythm.
The “Vitzilaiadistikos” is a man dance from the village KORONIDA and owes its name to the family Vitzilaion, who were the only to dance it. In the rest of Naxos it is known as “Balos”.

The dance «Kotsakia» was danced mainly in Komiaki (KORONIDA) and usually was the dance which followed the “Kalamatiano”in the begging of the festivals.
In ‘Nikintre” dance, which resembles as a childhood dance, they were hanging with scarf and sang.

"Mimitikos"or " Apokriatikos" dance is a dance that resembles “Vlacha” in the shoulders holding and in the first steps, which was danced in Filoti. With this dance used to give an end in the festival when they had already returned to their homes. With their movements act ditto all the works of the farmer. A singer began singing and the whole dance repeated verse - verse.

The “Gerontistikos” was danced during the Carnival period in Filoti, only by older married men and women, without institutions only with a carnival song (aischrotragoudo).
Moreover, «Pipperi», «Mamoutzelos», «Tsampounoporka», «Dance of Kordellaton» and «Arapis»  are referred as carnival dances, for which we have no more  details.

Dance teacher


Naxos, as each place in the hellenic space, so much accepted a lot of immigrants what many Naxioi migrated in various parts of Greece and world. In the recent History of Naxos (finally 250 years) were installed persons coming from Peloponnese, Macedonia, Asia Minor and Crete as well as many Kasioi afterwards the destruction of Kasos by their Torkey.
The immigration however is a bidirectional phenomenon of social dimension of folklore. Thus many Naxioi always migrated for a lot of and various reasons, or in the near islands mainly Small Cyclades or in parts distant that were heard only in songs and epicedium. Servants in the City and Smyrni and later in Athens Workers in parts where, was easy the work (mines Lavrion, earthquake Zakynthos, Australia). And in the two cases usually it did not follow permanent installation.
However afterwards 1900 it begins a big wave of immigration, which in the past few year has begun to decline, because the economic growth of Naxos. In the beginning America, later Australia, less in Germany and the decade the '70, the big wave of internal immigration, in Athens. In the Table that follows he is recorded those who landing in the island  Elli, outside from New York, from the American service of immigration from 1900 roughly until 1924, where also the island Elli stopped it is the gate of entry of Northern America. If we wanted to make certain few observations on this table they would be the following
1.Immigration mainly for permanent installation
2.Usually  they are immigrants from the same village even the same family
3.Women that migrated are the said "nyfes'' (girls that went are wedded somebody in America of the same village, who already had migrated)
4.They turn behind and travel again, mainly because the mobilisation and A' of World War Impressive is the number those who they left that it elects the problems of rich place as Naxos.

list of  Naxo's immigrants during 1898-1924

Georgios A. Manolas

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