Dance lies at the very heart of the Cretan way of life. When the islanders talk of dancing, they do not mean the steps (ta zala), but the social occasions on which dancing takes place, such as weddings, christenings, name days and saint's feast days.

Approximately 23 different Cretan folk dances exist, although a number of them have either almost completely disappeared or only survive in particular areas, such as the Lazotikos or Lazotis, the Prinianos, the Zervodexos, the Arkoudistikos (the Carnival "bear dance"), tou Papachatzi o Milos (a "mill dance") etc.

The Candiotikos or Candia dance, 1820 (Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Athens)
The Bear's Dance - a local Carnival performance and dance from the village of Gergeri, Heraklion (Municipality of Heraklion)
Clay statue of a men's circular dance in honour of the dead or the chthonic goddess, 1900 - 1300 (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
Clay statue of a women's ritual dance, 1350 - 1100 (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
The Lazotikos or Lazotis, 2000 (G. Kouyioumoutzis Folk Dance Workshop)