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by Archaeology Newsroom

Dance in Minoan Crete

Dance in Minoan Crete has especially been developed since the beginning of the second millennium B.C. and has been directly connected with cult, especially with the rites for the deity’s epiphany. On the basis of the Minoan iconography an attempt is made for the distinction of the various dance events and the investigation of their content. The most important Minoan dance was the circular dance, performed either by men or women. The male dance was closed in schema and funeral in character. In the female dance, which had a ritual character, the participants, forming an open cycle, were moving independently. Furthermore, it was characterized by a wider variety of gestures than its male counterpart as well as by an enlarged participation and an introductory phase, when performed in the palace. In the context of a composite event performed around a sacred tree or stone, the dance accompanying the ritual movements of the worshipers was aiming at the epiphany of the divinity. There was also another female dance, performed with the arms bent and resting on the hips, as well as a number of ritual processions in which the rhythmic pace of the participants was accompanied by music.

The Minoan dances influenced greatly the dance tradition of Mycenaean Greece, and the fascination they had for the spectators survived as a memory in the later historic era.