Syrtos Hasapikos

[Full notes] [Summary notes] [Other dances & the source code]

Formation Open circle. V-hold.
Dance Structure (A x 4 + B x 4) repeated throughout the music.
Music Structure 4 counts/bar, 4 bar phrases.
Music Speed 120 counts/min.
Source Corry Verheijen in her SIFD day course in London 2004/5/8. Alternative stylings from casual dancing in Zetten Balkan Festival 2004 & 2005.

Disclaimer: Mistakes are quite likely in the notes and no guarantees are made as to accuracy. There may be other versions of the same dance or other dances with the same name. Music may differ, particularly in speed, introduction and duration, between performers. The division into parts, bars & counts might not be standard. These notes of the dance are freely distributable (under GPL or CC-by-sa) in so much as the note's author's contribution but the choreography and/or collection were by other people and so their copyright might apply to the dance itself. Better than using notes, go to a dance class where it is taught.

A simple Greek dance to music that I find slightly amusing. The only slightly tricky bit is remembering to move the arms down at the end of Part A ready to move them forwards on the first beat but that too is easy after it has been done a few times.

I come across it 3 times in 2004 to 2005 and each time the styling changed more towards conventional. It seemed to be developing from an awkward feeling motion to more normal feeling lively party dance.

The dance's name is misleading. The dance is neither a Syrto nor an Hassapiko.

The ill-fitting name plus the unusual styling made me I wonder if the dance really was of Greek origin. Then, a decade later in 2015 at the Eastbourne International Folkdance Festival, I came across a dance called 'Kastrinos' from Thrace in Greece taught by Maggie O'Regan who in turn had learnt it in 2014 from Dimitrios Triandafillidis who is a specialist in traditional Greek dance. The steps of Kastrinos were essentially the same as those of Syrtos Hasapikos! The styling of Kastrinos was more conventional Greek (but that is how Syrtos Hasapikos was evolving) & the music of Kastrinos (which was previously used for the dance 'Stris' in the UK) was different but had similarities. In 2016, I met Corry again & she confirmed that Syrtos Hasapikos was indeed traditional Greek. In the Zevenhuizen Zomerfestival of 2016, Syrtos Hasapikos was one of the evening just-follow party dances confirming it was still in the Dutch Balkan dance popular repertoire. My current guess is that it was a traditional dance that came into the north European Balkan folk dance repertoire via 2 routes with either the name & style being corrupted in one route &/or an originally incongruous name & unusual style being replaced with more conventional ones in the other route. Or it could just be convergent evolution.

Part A is done to the vocal part of the music, Part B to the instrumental.

Style: Small steps (especially in Part B). Flat footed. Upright. Swift & jolly.


Summary: Part B music.

Wait through a complete set of Part B music (Part B x 4).

Part A

Summary: Walk R 4 steps swinging arms forwards & backwards twice. Side & close R in W-hold, ditto L.

Start Facing 45 deg cw of direction to the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot. V-hold.
Feet Walk R forwards acw around the circle.
Hands Arms swing forwards to about 30 deg infront of the body with elbows straight.
Feet Walk L forwards acw around the circle.
Hands Arms swing backwards to about 15 deg behind the body with elbows straight.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 (walking steps R & L swinging arms forwards & backwards).
Feet Facing the centre of circle, R to the side.
Hands Arms to W-hold (done briskly, it is almost done between the previous count & this one).
2 Close L without weight transfer.
3 L to the side.
Feet Close R without weight transfer.
Hands Return arms to V-hold.

At the end of the 4th time through, leave hands up in W-hold ready for Part B.

Part B

Summary: 2 Triple Steps Grapevine style R. 2 Triple Steps in place with elbows up in 1st.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot. W-hold with hand at shoulder height.
1 R to the side (small step).
& L across behind (small step).
2 R to the side (small step).
3 L across infront (small step).
& R to the side (small step).
4 L close(small step).
Feet Repeat bar 1 counts 1-2 but without crossing (small steps R side, L close, R in place).
Hands Elbows up to shoulder height behind keeping hands where they were in W-hold.
Feet Repeat counts 1-2 in mirror image on opposite feet (small steps L side, R close, L in place).
Hands Elbows down to normal W-hold position.

At the end of the 4th time through, arms go down to V-hold in bar 2 count 4 ready for Part A.

Alternative Styling 1

An alternative styling from Zetten in 2004 for the arm movements in Part B bar 2 which looks less awkward is to swing the arms down & backwards from the shoulders with the arms rigid and the elbows staying the same distance apart to slightly behind the torso in counts 1-2 and swing them back up into W-hold in counts 3-4.

Alternative Styling 2

An alternative styling from Zetten in 2005 for arm and foot movements is as follows. The arms in Part A in bar 2 bounce up & down twice. The travelling in Part A is done with striding steps & in Part B is almost running.