Ancient Greek Dances for Kids

Updated April 17, 2017

Dancing is an art form with story telling elements, which the ancient Greeks believed was good for your physical and emotional well-being. It played an important role in ancient Greece and traditional dances has been passed down to generations of young boys and girl. Today, folk dances are as popular as they were in ancient times. Most dances were performed by adults, but children were invited to take part, and there are several dances that children can learn.


The dance syrtos is mentioned by Homer, the Greek author of "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," which was written around the 8th century B.C. The word "syrtos" means to drag, and the dancers move around in a long line. There are many version of this dance, and each region in Greece has their special way of performing it. This dance is popular at weddings and social gatherings. Children can try this dance by holding hands and facing sideways; they move towards the dancer's right in a long chain. The dancer at the right end is the leader and she may invent some steps, which the others have to follow. Several lines of children can be connected via a scarf.


There are many syrtos style dances and ormos is a dance that is performed in an open circle. This dance was traditional in ancient Sparta where young women and men performed the dance. This dance is an exciting way to to practice some role-play. Boys dance with force and vigour and the girls move on the opposite side with more gracious and modest movements.


Choreia is an ancient Greek circle dance that is accompanied by singing. Circle dancing is a community dance where the dancers work together and feel the rhythm. Circle dancing is found in many cultures and the exact origin is unknown. However, the writer Homer mentions choreia in his books. The circle is often made of families, where the husband leads the wife, who is followed by the eldest son. The tempo in Greek choreia varies and it can be energetic or reflective. Children hold hands and move in one direction and then change direction after a certain number of steps according to the music.


War dances were popular in Ancient Greece and tsamiko is an energetic dance where the warrior makes high leaps into the air kicking his right leg up and then the left in a scissor-like motion. There is a slow tempo that follows a certain pattern. The focus is on the attitude and grace of the dancers. Today, both boys and girls dance this traditional dance and it is performed at festivals and weddings.

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About the Author

Asa Jomard began her career as a freelance writer in 2008. Her work has appeared in print and online publications, including Baby Corner. Jomard holds a Bachelor of Social Science in psychology from Umea University, Sweden, as well as a degree in counseling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counselors.