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Maleviziotis or kastrinos pidichtos

The Cretan orsitis

The war dance Maleviziotis, which is also called "kastrinos pidichtos", nowadays known all over Crete, may be coming from the ancient Cretan dance "Orsitis". The term "orses" or "ortses" describe the usual jumps and twisting movements of the first dancer and is very adequately used for the dance.
The dance has both a rural and an urban version, with minor variations in the basic steps and the accompanying music. It is called "Maleviziotis" because it appeared for the first time (in it its present form) in the countryside and specifically in the region of "Maleviziou" within the Herakleion prefecture. Later it was also called "kastrinos pidichtos" because it was danced inside the old town of Herakleion, the Kastro. This is obvious from its name "kastrinos"="kastrianos", namely the one inside the castle.
A popular couplet is: "We are going to play both the "kastrinos" and the "maleviziotis" which is danced by those who are young"

As it has already been mentioned, it a dance of central Crete and it is said that it was spread both to the west and the east in the 1920s. It should be noted that in Chania it was also called "kastrini sousta". It is danced by both men and women, who are holding each other´s hands at the height of their shoulders having their arms bended, First they dance in a circle and then in a straight line. The basic steps of the dance are sixteen (eight forward and eight backwards). The accompanying music, in 2/3 time is performed by a lyra or violin accompanied by a lute or mandolin or bulgari (or ascombandoura in the mountainous areas). Any dancer can "lead" the dance by leaving the circle and going to the front. In other cases, two dancers, at the same time, leave their positions in the circle and the one goes to the front and becomes "first" while the other goes to the back?

Among all the Cretan dances "maleviziotis" distinguishes itself both for its individuality and its tendency to check the dancers. Its dance structure allows the first dancer to develop so many improvisations that they become the main theme of his dancing performance. In this dance the "first dancer" can show his skill and his skilful creativity. If he has mastered the technique of the Cretan dances, he will vary his step with skilful jumps, sittings down, with multiple taps of the hands on the feet, with stampings of the feet on the ground, with pauses, with jumps and tapping of the hands on the feet (the so-called talimia), he will detach himself form the circle, he will turn around, he will turn around even in the air (the so-called orses), he will turn around and sit down, he will move in the space with high jumps and tapping of his hands on his feet etc.