TRANSLATION: Five dizzying steps
SOURCE: Dick Oakes learned this dance from members of the Greek community of Los Angeles and in Greek night clubs across the United States. He also danced it with Athan Karras at the Intersection folk dance coffeehouse in Los Angeles. It has been taught by many other teachers including Katina Shields at the 1978 Holiday Camp, Johnny Pappas at the 1979 Idyllwild Workshop, Pavlos Dascalakis at the 1982 California Kolo Festival, Johnny Pappas at the 1975 Texas Camp, Mary Coros, Harry Brauser, Nikos Varvitsiotis, and a host of others. There are other known forms of the dance.
BACKGROUND: The men of the Greek islands, such as Crete, often became sailors in the Greek and Byzantine navies, necessitating practicing fast and tricky footwork that might be required on the pitching deck of a ship. Pentozalis was originally a warlike dance used to test men's agility.

In western Crete, Pentozalis (also spelled Pentozales or Pendozalis) is often preceded by a Siganos (slow) Pantozalis in which the dancers, holding hands, sing as they dance two step-swings forward and two step-swings backward as the line moves slowly to the right.

Pentozalis, with its small, rapid foot movements and leaps, is one of the most characteristic and most popular dances of Crete, its island of origin. The "five steps" of the dance refer to the five "dizzying" movements: 1) forward, 2) backward, 3) left, 4) right, 5) up.

MUSIC: Kefi Records (45EP) KER-101
Folkraft (LP) LP-3, side B, band 2
Folklore (LP) LARS-2027, side B, band 1
EMI (LP) 70158
Panhellenion (LP) KT-1001, side B, band 8

Sheet Music: Vancouver International Folk Dancers Music Book, Vol. 2., Deborah Jones, 1982.

FORMATION: Mixed lines of M and W holding adjacent neighbors' shldrs in "T" pos. If lines are segregated, M may make higher, larger, and more intricate steps.
STEPS/STYLE: PAS-DE-BASQUE: Step LR swd (ct 1); step RL across in front of LR (ct &); step LR back in place (ct 2).

Pentozalis may be danced calmly or with greater energy as dictated by the music and the leader's movements. When danced vigorouosly, steps often become small leaps and leaps become larger leaps. Infrequently, a leader may add variations, such as, scissor-kicks on one or both Pas-de-Basques in Fig I (meas 2, ct 2 through meas 4, ct 1) or a high scissor-leap and back brush on the second Pas-de-Basque. The other dancers may follow the leader with these steps. At other times, the leader may dance solo leaps with leg or shoe slaps at which time the other dancers do the basic steps.


  Dance starts at beg of any musical phrase, although some Greeks tend to start on the second meas of the phrase.
1 Step L swd (ct 1); hop L, swinging R across in front with slightly bent knee (ct 2);
2 Leap R swd, swinging L across in front with leg almost straight while bending suporting knee (ct 1);
  Pas-de-Basque: Step L swd (ct 2); step R across in front of L (ct &);
3 Step L back in place (ct 1);
  Pas-de-Basque: Step R swd (ct 2); step L across in front of R (ct &);
4 Step R swd (ct 1); hop R, swinging L across in front with slightly bent knee (ct 2).
  Repeat action of meas 1-4 until leader changes the Fig.
1 Step L fwd twd ctr (ct 1); hop L, bringing R ft up behind L calf (ct 2);
2 Small leap R diag bwd, swinging L bwd (ct 1);
  Step L in back of R (ct 2); step R swd (ct &);
3 Step L across in back of R (ct 1);
  Step R swd (ct 2); step L next to R (ct &);
4 Step R swd (ct 1); hop R, swinging L across in front with slightly bent knee (ct 2).
1 Repeat action of meas 1-4 until leader changes Fig.

Copyright © 2012 by Dick Oakes