Thucydides quotes the Delian "Hymn to Apollo", and it is possible that the Homeric corpus of his day also contained other of the more important hymns.
The "Hymn to Apollo" consists of two parts, which beyond any doubt were originally distinct, a Delian hymn and a Pythian hymn.
The Delian hymn describes how Leto, in travail with Apollo, sought out a place in which to bear her son, and how Apollo, born in Delos, at once claimed for himself the lyre, the bow, and prophecy.
The Delian part is exclusively Ionian and insular both in style and sympathy; Delos and no other is Apollo's chosen seat: but the second part is as definitely continental; Delos is ignored and Delphi alone is the important centre of Apollo's worship.
And this dance, as Dicaearchus writes, is called among the Delians the Crane.
Karl Kerenyi, among others, has suggested that the Delian dance dramatized an entrance into death and then a return to life; it would thus imitate Theseus's entrance into and return from Daedalus's labyrinth.