The Σούστα in the Aegean
The paper is an exploration of a Greek island dance. In the Aegean, the σούστα has been a dance of Greek island peoples, especially for those of the southern Aegean: the Dodecanese islands and Crete. This paper discusses the possible origins of the σούστα and locates it in the types of dances of the wider Aegean region. The paper is also an ethnographic exploration, the result of ethnographic fieldwork on a Dodecanesian island, Rhodes, constructing a picture of a local σούστα dance in a southern village of the island. The importance of the dance, it seems, was that it was a dance of love and an essential part of courtship which expressed the honour of love in the wedding ritual. This local variant of σούστα is not performed any more in the village. In this paper I will discuss how dance performances are involved in the definition of gender roles and in the construction of honourable love and courtship.