The name Sirtáki comes from the Greek word: syrtos (from σύρω (τον χορό) which means "drag (the dance)"), a common name for a group of traditional Cretan dances of so-called "dragging" style, as opposed to pidikhtos (πηδηχτός), a hopping or leaping style. Despite that, Sirtaki incorporates both syrtos (in its slower part) and pidikhtós (in its faster part) elements.
Sirtáki is danced in a line or circle formation with hands held on neighbours' shoulders. Line formation is more traditional.
Meter is 4/4, tempo increasing, and often the signature is changed to 2/4 in the fastest part. Accordingly, the dance begins with slower, smoother actions, gradually transforming into faster, vivid ones, often including hops and leaps. The choreographer of the dance is Giorgos Provias.
Guinness World Record
On September 16, 2007, the world's longest chain of syrtaki dancers danced to Zorba The Greek in Cyprus. The chain had a total of 268 members of eight groups dancing in step to ”Zorbas”. Ayia Napa Town Mayor Antonis Tsokkos said the aim of the event was to send the message that the village was interested in Greek culture and to promote the tourist resort abroad. Head of the cultural services of the Municipality Maria Tofini said that, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the dancers had to perform in synchronized step for the attempt to qualify. The event drew the attention of tourists and locals, many of which danced to ‘‘Zorbas” on the beach and in the sea.
On August 31, 2012, the Sirtaki Dance World Guinness Record has been broken by 5,614 people dancing Sirtaki for five minutes by the sea, starting from the port of the city of Volos in Greece. The Association for Social Impact and Culture to the Municipality of Magnisia organized the event on the main beach of the town of Volos under the light of the second full moon of the month, Aug. 31. Some 5,614 people, aged from 14-to-89 danced to the music of Mikis Theodorakis’ Zorba the Greek, filling the town square and making it into the book of the Guinness World Records. Enthusiasts from Volos, Larisa, Athens, Thessaloniki, Trikala and even from islands of the country joined the regional union of blind people, the national synchronized swimming team and many ordinary citizens, who decided to lock arms and make like Anthony Quinn dancing on the beach of Crete. The idea came from a Volos resident, Alexia Halvatzakou who suggested it to the municipal services an alternative way to promote the area. The President of the Association for Social Impact and Culture Costas Halevas liked the idea and set about organizing the event.