How to dance greek zeibekiko

The Most Famous Greek Dances (video)

1. Sirtaki

Sirtaki (also called syrtaki) is arguably the most famous Greek dance to the non-Greeks. It owes its reputation to the movie “Zorba the Greek” (1964) with Anthony Quinn. The eminent Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis created this dance by alternating slow and fast steps of two famous Greek dances, Hasapiko and Hasaposerviko. Thus, Sirtaki was born and took its baby steps on the big screen! The rest is history… Today, it is one of the most famous and fun Greek folk dances, raising the spirits every time. To dance it, place your arms on your neighbors’ shoulders and form a line or a circle.

2. Ikariotikos

Definitely one of the most beloved dances in Greece, Ikariotikos is a very exciting and fun dance. It is part of the “Nisiotika”, the dances that come from the Greek islands (‘nisi’ means ‘island’ in Greek), and specifically from the island of Ikaria. The dance has three different stages. It starts with a slow pace, then moves to the second stage where the pace quickens. Finally, in the third stage, the pace becomes even faster and everyone needs to move in complete synchrony in order to manage the dance. The faster the pace, the more fun it is, so it is not surprising that this is one of the most famous Greek traditional dances. It is performed in a line or a circle and the dances hold hands at shoulder height.

Greek Dance Lesson in Athens

3. Kalamatianos

Another very popular folk dance in Greece. It derives its name from Kalamata, the city of the Peloponnese peninsula. Nevertheless, it is well-known all over Greece and is established as a Pan-Hellenic traditional dance. Kalamatianos dance is also performed in a line or a circle, with dancers holding hands. Its roots can be traced in Greek antiquity, all the way back to Homer!

4. Hasapiko

Mikis’ inspiration for creating the Sirtaki. Hasapiko is a traditional Greek dance that has its roots in the city of Constantinople. Its history goes all the way back to the Middle Ages when butchers performed battle dances with swords. Thus, the name of the dance (‘hasapis’ means ‘butcher’ in Greek). Just like the Sirtaki, Hasapiko is performed in a line or a circle, with the dancers placing their arms on their neighbors’ shoulders. Hasapiko progresses from a slow to a faster pace. The faster-paced version is called Hasaposerviko.

Hint! Are you visiting Greece and Athens soon? Take the opportunity and enjoy a Greek dance lesson at the heart of the city, from a qualified teacher! Dance your heart out and learn all about the spirit of the Greek dances by experiencing it yourself.

5. Tsamiko

This Greek fold dance has been characterized as Pan-Hellenic, although it isn’t popular in the Greek islands. Its roots are traced in the movement of the ‘Klefths’ during the Greek Revolution in the early 19th century. The Klefths were anti-Ottoman, warlike mountain-folk who lived in the countryside when Greece was a part of the Ottoman Empire. Originally, only men performed this dance. Today, women join as well. When this happens, it usually includes a ‘double banister’, with men dancing in the outer circle and women in the inner. Alternatively, there is one circle with one male dancer followed by a female and so on. Tsamiko can be danced by the whole group (that is, everyone performs the same steps-movements) but also individually, where the first dancer does a solo, improvising and expressing himself.

6. Pentozali

The Pentozali is a very enthusiastic, war dance. It is the dance of revolution. Directly connected with the history of Crete and its people's liberation fight. Nothing in this dance is accidental. Every part (from the music to every step of the dance) is symbolic of their fight for freedom. It is danced in a line, with the lead dancer performing various moves, while the other dancers follow with the basic steps.



Another Cretan dance, Sousta is another very famous traditional Greek dance, now being performed all over Greece. It is a love dance, with the man and woman dancing facing each other. First, the dance begins in a circle with a hand grip from the palms and the elbows bent. Then, the circle begins to dissolve and the two opposite scales come face to face. Sousta seems to be the ancient dance that was called "Pyrrhichios" but with the entry of women into the dance, its nature changed and from warlike it became purely erotic. The dance consists of small steps that are done on the spot or moving slightly forward, backward, right and left, with the addition of side steps and other variations. Two good dancers can easily perform a love story from the beginning to the end.



This is a dance completely different from the above. This is performed by one dancer at a time and it does not exactly have specific steps to follow. It is a free dance and it depends on the character of each dancer. Improvisation is a valuable skill here and, although slow in pace, it has a strong intensity. It used to be a dance for men only but today everyone can dance to it. Each dancer has his own figures with which he expresses himself. Also, each dancer dances to only one song, only once. Many times it is his own, specific song and not a random one. Traditionally (and this remains a strong custom in some areas of Greece even today), when someone is dancing no one else is allowed to interrupt or disturb him, or dance with him in the same place.

Greek Dance Lesson in Athens

Hint! If you are visiting Athens any time soon, book a Greek dance lesson and learn how to dance some of the above Greek dances.

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Zeibekiko (L*) dance and Rebetika music – Greek – Folkdance Footnotes

*a Living dance is one performed in the country of origin (or immigrant communities) as part of a social event like a wedding where others can participate (not for an audience) by people who learned the dance informally (from friends and relatives by observation and imitation, not in a classroom situation). For more information, click here.

All of the text below (except headings and what’s under the YouTubes) is from the highly recommended book Dancing on the Off Beat, ©2005 by Joan Carol Friedberg, available from her publisher, Xlibris Corporation. Text is copied with the permission of the author.


All of the tough guys, inside their hearts, have a huge sorrow. —Rebetiko song

Some types of animals appear only at night. Where I live, in Topanga, California, I have seen raccoons, possums, deer and coyotes prowl during the late night and early morning hours of darkness. If you are not awake and about in the night, you might never know these creatures existed at all.

The same is true for a certain breed of man. During the 1920s and 1930s, in Greece, he was known as a mangas. In 1922, Greece, in a bold attempt to reclaim its ancient Asia Minor homeland, pushed its army inland into Turkish- dominated territory but was forced to make a brutal retreat. Known by Greeks as the Catastrophe, this defeat and its scorched-earth aftermath became the definitive Greek tragedy of the 20th Century. More than one million refugees from Asia Minor, many of whom had lived affluent lives there, suddenly found themselves homeless, destitute and hungry, having lost even their dignity.

Rebetika Music

It was out of their terrible tragedy that some of the most poignant and surly music and songs emerged from hash-smoking men in dark dens in Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki. Their music, rebetika, was possibly a derivative of an earlier type of music that was a part of the classical, composed music of Ottoman Turkey.

A series of 5 old recordings of the dance Zeibekiko or Zeybek. Three recordings by Greek immigrants in America from the 1920s and two Turkish recordings. All instrumental pieces. 1. 0:00 Baloukaisariano- Harilaos Evangitis (violin), Markos Melkon (Laouto). 2. 2:00 Zeybek Havasi- Odeon Saz Heyeti. 3. 4:03 Bourdousaina- Tom Vrouvas, recorded NYC Dec 1926. 4. 6:06 Zeybek Havasi- Zurnaci Emin. 5. 8:00 Aptal Havasi- Adonios Sakellariou (clarinet & orchestra). Note the similarities between 1 & 2; 3, 4, & 5.

Reborn in Greece in the 1920s and ‘30s, rebetika music became transformed after World War II, but continued into the 1950s and ‘60s. Though most Greeks scorned the music during those early years, it experienced a revival during the 1970s in Greece by an entirely new generation.

Taxim Zeibekiko – Márkos Vamvakáris, 1937. When at 1:40 Vamvakáris breaks into a regular rhythm, it’s a standard zeibekiko slow 9 (4+5) thus: 1, 2& 3, 4, 1, 2& 3, 4, 5.Átakti (naughty), another Vamvakáris song. slow 9 (4+5) thus: 1&, 2&, 3, 4, 1&, 2&, 3, 4, 5.’s the same Átakti recording becomes the soundtrack to a late (1966) film of Vamvakáris (far left) playing and singing. He died in 1972.
Íthela na s' antámona I wanted to meet you na sou 'lega kampósa, and tell you a few things, ki an de sou gýriza to nou and if I couldn't change your mind ach... na mou 'kovan ti glóssa. oh..they better cut my tongue. De se thélo, de se thélo, I don't want you, I don't want you, pia de s' agapó. I don't love you anymore. De se thélo kai páre kai drómo I don't want you, and go away kai tráva sto kaló. and move along. Mou to 'pane oi mágisses Witches have told me, ki óles oi kafetzoúdes, and all of the psychics, mou to 'pe mia ap' tin Aígypto a girl from Egypt has told me ach... me tis fardiés plexoúdes. oh...she had wide braids. De se thélo, de se thélo, I don't want you, I don't want you, pia de s' agapó. I don't love you anymore De se thélo kai páre kai drómo I don't want you, and go away kai tráva sto kaló. and move along. Kai ti den ékana gia se gia What haven't I done for you na se diorthóso, to "fix" you, ma esý 'sai tóso átakti but you are so naughty ach... fýge gia na glitóso. oh...go away to save myself. De se thélo, de se thélo, I don't want you, I don't want you, pia de s' agapó. I don't love you anymore De se thélo kai páre kai drómo I don't want you, and go away kai tráva sto kaló. and move along. Translation by: Κορίνα/Korina 

Zeibekiko – the Dance

In 2000, at Rebetiki Istoria, an intimate rebetika club on Ippokratous Street in a quiet neighborhood of Athens, young people, who were born many decades after rebetika music no longer flourished, sat in the smoky den as they sang about the lost souls of an earlier era. They knew all of the words.

The modern-day rebetes, or manges, inhabit the night clubs and the skiladika, literally, places of the dogs, and emerge from hiding after most civilized beings have long ago retired to their beds. If you stay late enough in one of these clubs, you may be rewarded by being able to witness the Zeibekiko dance.

Song: Átakti. Musician: Markos Vamvakáris. AITION, 2nd pan-Hellenic meeting of Zeybek dance. 2019.

The origins of this dance, according to many Greek sources, date back to Ottoman times, when it was known as the dance of the Zeibekides, or Zeybekler. The Zeibekiko’s distinctive musical rhythm, which appears in at least three variations in a very slow 9/4 meter, is identical to pieces in the Sufi liturgy of the Great Ummayad Mosque of Damascus, Syria, where it is danced by whirling dervishes, and possibly elsewhere in the Middle East as well.

In its Greek incarnation, it is also a solo mens’ dance in which the man twirls in place, but without the billowing white skirt and transfixed, beatific gaze. The name of the dance, derived from the Turkish Zeybek, could perhaps be translated to the Greek word palikari, a warrior who exhibits bravery. But this interpretation can be misleading, because the dance, as it evolved in the tekes or dark taverns of Greece in the 1920s and 1930s through the 1950s, is not danced to exhibit bravery, to prepare for war, or enter a religious trance. It is an internal expression of the poor, uneducated, but proud working class men for whom the dance served as a release of their frustrations.

In the early rebetic songs, the words reflect the sad lives of the most down and out people who sang them, mostly refugees from Turkey, which most Greeks refer to as Asia Minor, still not willing to accept that those lands no longer belong to the Greeks. Many of these older songs are about lonely bums who roam the streets or about men who smoke the nargile, a waterpipe filled with hashish, to let their worries drift from their bodies as the smoke snakes upward from the pipe, which they would suck on like a baby finding comfort in its mother’s breast.

Songs in the rebetic style from later periods sound equally melancholy but encompass different themes. They are often the creative offerings of composers who were drawn to the musical modes of the rebetic era, but whose lyrics are more cerebral than a result of any inner longings and torments such as those that spawned the original rebetic songs.

More than one such lyric refers to the legacy of General Ioannis Makriyannis, hero of the War of Independence. Although his name is today synonymous with a free Greece, he is not even mentioned in early histories of the war, and his exploits might have remained entirely unknown had it not been for the discovery of his written memoirs.

Markriyannis was born a peasant just before the turn of the 19th Century and was a young man in his early 20s when the Greek War of Independence drew to a climax in 1821. His portrait reveals eyes that were hollow, dark, both sweet and sad, and a long and elegant nose that rested on a gentle face. He sported an impressive mustache and a close-cut beard. On his head, layers of cloth were wrapped into a large turban. His demeanor was not imposing, and it belied his inner determination and bravery. In his memoirs, as retold by A.A. Pallis in Greek Miscellany, Makriyannis relates how he once drew his yataghan, a large dagger, on a doctor who was about to amputate his other, festering arm against his will. The doctor barely escaped being slain.

Although rebetika culture was almost exclusively a man’s domain, some of the most poignant songs were sung by the most famous torch singer of rebetika, Sotiria Bellou, who often used her plaintive voice to lament on the futility of love. Her voice so pure, her style so plain and unforced can make her words of yearning for a man feel so true and sad, even though she herself, they say, was apparently more interested in women than in men.

Sotiria Bellou sings San apókliros gyrízo. Written by Vassilis Tsitsánis 9 slow beats (4+5) thus: 1, 2& 3, 4, 1, 2& 3, 4, 5
 San apókliros yirízo stin kakoúrga xenitiá I wander like an exile periplanómenos, dhistikhisménos in this hostile foreign land - makriá ap’ tis mánas mou tin angaliá strolling, miserable, periplanómenos, dhistikhisménos in this hostile foreign land makriá ap’ tis mánas mou tin angaliá far from my mother's embrace. Klaíne ta pouliá yia aë́ra kai ta dhéndra yia neró The birds cry for air, for water cry the trees. Klaío manoúla mou ki egó yia séna And I cry too, my dear mother, for you pou ékho khrónia yia na se dho for I haven't seen you in years. Klaío manoúla mou ki egó yia séna And I cry too, my dear mother, for you pou ékho khrónia yia na se dho for I haven't seen you in years. Kháre, páre tin psikhí mou, isikhía yia na vro Death, take my soul Afoú to thélise i mav́ri moíra Since the black fate wanted me mes sti zoí mou na mi kharó never to feel joy in my life. Afoú to thélise i mav́ri moíra Since the black fate wanted me mes sti zoí mou na mi kharó never to feel joy in my life. 
Sotiria Bellou sings Káne ligáki ipomoní. Written by Vassilis Tsitsánis
9 (4+5) thus: 1, 2, 3, 4&, 1, 2, 3, 4&, 5& , 1948.
Min apelpízesai kai dhe th’ aryísi Do not despair and it won t be long kondá sou tha ’rthi mia kharavyí until on a dawn she will come to you kainoúryia agápi na sou zitísi and she will be asking you for new love káne ligáki ipomoní have a bit of patience kainoúryia agápi na sou zitísi And she will be asking you for new love káne ligáki ipomoní have a bit of patience Dhióxe ta sínnefa ap’ tin kardhiá sou Send away the clouds from your heart kai mes sto kláma min xagripnás and don t keep yourself awake in tears ti ki AN dhe vrísketai stin angaliá sou so what that she is not now in your arms? tha ’rthi mia méra min to xekhnás She will come back one day, don t you forget it ti ki AN dhe vrísketai stin angaliá sou So what that she is not now in your arms? tha ’rthi mia méra min to xekhnás She will come back one day, don t you forget it Glikokharámata tha se xipnísi On a sweet dawn she will wake you up kai o érotas sas th’ anastithí and your love will be resurrected kainoúryia agápi tha xaná zísi New love is going to be brought to life káne ligáki ipomoní have a bit of patience kainoúryia agápi tha xaná zísi New love is going to be brought to life káne ligáki ipomoní Have a bit of patience https://lyricstranslate. com Translator: Biftekeftes

The Zeibekiko emerges when the men are sitting around drinking together, and one will say, “Let’s break the instruments . . . let’s throw some money.” When a Zeibekiko scenario is coming to life, and the kefi has begun to accelerate, someone outside of the culture might wonder, what are they singing about now? The songs might be about anything, but some themes are surprising. It might be a man bemoaning the loneliness of living in a foreign land, far from his mother’s arms. It is something of a paradox that a man who appears to be dancing with such a tough-guy style could be expressing such childlike anguish. On the other hand, sometimes a young man will dance Zeibekiko only to impress his compatriots and to exhibit his masculinity, and then the song content is not important, and something of the tradition has been lost.

Music- Tis Evdokias by Manos Loïzos, 1937-1982. This tune is currently the most popular accompaniment for zeibekiko dancing. Bouzouki soloist – Manolis Karatninis. Dancer unknown.
13 million views. 2008.
9 slow beats (4+5) thus: 1, 2& 3, 4, 1, 2& 3, 4, 5, alternating with 1&, 2&, 3, 4, 1&, 2&, 3, 4, 5.

So though tricks such as a man dancing with an upside- down glass of wine on his head impress the other patrons, the entire meaning of the Zeibekiko becomes buried underneath its new value as circus entertainment.

Santorini – zeibekiko for the tourists. Music-Tis Evdokias. 0:40 – Mario, young brother of the bride. 2019. “the zeibekiko of the self-taught” 2012.“wedding zeybeks” 2021 zeibekiko today – everyone does it – ’cause it feels good! https://www.

Perhaps part of the intrigue of the Zeibekiko is the different ways in which it can be interpreted by each dancer. One of the best Zeibekiko dancers I have seen used to do vulgar things, such as pushing a cigarette up his nostril or grabbing his crotch, to make it more authentically mangas. Sometimes, though, a man will look sensual and provocative in this dance. In a taverna I went to outside Igoumenitsa in 1982, a man danced the Zeibekiko in a slow twirl with another man’s legs wrapped around his waist. I was assured by the man who had taken me there that it was not a gay bar; it was just that men could express themselves with other men in ways that were not permitted between men and women.

In another context entirely, at two different weddings in villages of Florina, the Zeibekika got going long after everyone had tired of the regular dancing. Until I observed this happen, I thought that a wedding would be the last place you would find Zeibekika. I guess, though, that after the guys have had too much to drink, it leads to Zeibekika. At one of the weddings, someone put a large flour sifter on the floor, and the groom was obliged to dance the Zeibekiko within its confines, while guests threw drachmas into it. It seemed to me the flour sifter served as a symbolic metaphor for the groom’s new domestic lifestyle.

Never on Sunday, 1960.

In an opening scene of the classic film, Never On Sunday, [7:38-11:10 above – DB] the naive American intellectual, Homer, claps enthusiastically after one of the patrons finishes dancing the Zeibekiko. The dancer is insulted and begins to beat up poor Homer until Ilia (Melina Mercouri) comes in and helps everyone clear up the misunderstanding. It seems that the dancer was dancing to express his feelings, to get drunk in the music and the words of the song, and to move his body to the music, to dance as an antidote to his own personal sorrows and not to provide cheap entertainment for the American tourist. The assumption that he was a performer was an offense to his philotimo, honor. This becomes Homer’s first lesson in understanding the Greek persona.

Another example of how philotimo works in Greek culture can be seen in another scene in the film, as Homer attempts to redeem the character and life of Ilia, a carefree prostitute. [at 1:25:15-1:27:20 – DB] Homer asks Taki, the bouzouki player, if he can read music, and Taki says “no.” Homer says, “Why don’t you learn?” Taki says he’s too old. Homer tells Taki: “If you don’t read music, you are not a real musician and you never will be.”

Taki locks himself in the bathroom and refuses to come out until Ilia says to him, “Do birds read music?” “Ohi,” no, he says. “Should the birds stop singing?” Taki’s face lights up, and he emerges. His philotimo has been restored. The next moment, the band begins playing “Never on Sunday,” Ilia and the boys dance a Hasapiko, glasses are broken, and the owner is ringing them up one-by-one on the cash register.

Today’s Zeibekiko no longer reflects its origins. Now dancers often become self-conscious performers.

Legendary Sofia Vembo in a Manos Hadjidakis‘ song. The scene is from the classic film “Stella” with Melina Mercouri. The YouTube is included here mostly to show the transformation of the status of zeibekiko music and dance. From scorned “outsider’ culture in 1925 to hip popular culture by 1955.
Song: To haro ton antamosan by Zampetas Rhythm: 4 slow beats, thus:1&, 2&, 3, 4, yet it’s labeled zeibekiko!
Singer: Stratos Pagioumtzis
Album: Sto limani tou Pirea
Dancer: Giorgos Provias
Comments: Inachos Sketos: Let some who think they are dancing zeibekiko see this!! From a tribute to the Duke (G. Zambeta)! Giorgos Provias (“the Nureyev of zeibekiko”) was one of the few guys who knew how to dance zeibekiko, he made the choreography in the movie “Zorbas the Greek”, the well-known syrtaki, so the least he deserves is respect !!!
Romilos Fronimides: He dances it very fast (modernly). The real zeibekiko was VERY SLOW, because the dancer was (usually) hashish and alcoholic, with “dertia”, so he was also in “nirvana” and danced much later ..
Glentzes: In zeibekiko the rhythm comes out of the earth and goes up to the heart, there awakens the emotions that lead the steps to the presses. The figures are measured, the zeibekiko is not for ….. satiety!
ΓΙΑΝΝΗΣ ΠΑΣΧΟΥ: Zeibekiko is the physical expression of defeat. The despair of life. The unfulfilled dream. It is the “I can not get over it”. The evil you see coming. The complaint of souls who did not adapt to the order of others.
Precious Rapaculia: You’re right dude, this is a show, almost ballet, anyone who has seen real guys dancing knows that they avoid hopping. Zeybek is an internal affair. And it MEANS that it is not taught as they do today in schools, with ready-made steps …

I have occasionally witnessed the Zeibekiko at clubs in Los Angeles, and once inside, you feel as though you can’t be far from Psyrri, or Omonia, old sections of Athens.

One such place is Athens by Night, in North Hollywood, California. At 9 p.m., the restaurant is nearly empty, not because people have gone home, but because they have not yet arrived. By 10 p.m., the place begins to show some signs of life, and by 11 p.m., it begins to fill up. The evening is just beginning. Five or so singers, all imported from Greece, rotate sets singing the latest Greek hits, backed by a bouzouki and keyboard band who are also some of the best musicians imported from Greece. If you like Greek pop music, this scene is lots of fun, but the manges have just begun to emerge, and they won’t begin their activities for another few hours.

It is 2:30 a.m. One lustful-looking man, whose face has a serious demeanor, with only a slight detection of a twinkle in his eyes, nods to the waiter with a slight flip backwards of his head. There is a discrete passing of money. The waiter nods to the bouzouki player, thrusts his arm up high and points a finger at the mangas. He then clears the dance floor of anyone still lingering there after the music has stopped. The bouzouki player begins his taxim, a complex improvisation that conforms to the rules of the particular mode, or dromos, road, he has chosen.

Dancer – George Xintaris.
Song: Enas Mpatsos by Markos Vamvakaris
From the TV series “The Minor of Dawn” (the name of a song by Markos Vamvakaris) premiered in 1983, and ended with a second cycle in 1984, reaching a total of 27 episodes. The series essentially deals with the history of rebetiko song through the creation and action of the legendary rebetika Quartet of Piraeus, which began in 1934 and consisted of Markos Vamvakaris, Giorgos Batis, Anestis Delias and Stratos Pagioumtzis.
Comments: (Google translated) Christos Dafopoulos: “Zeybekiko is a closed dance, with pain and inwardness. It is not addressed to others. The dancer does not communicate with the environment. It revolves around itself, which it places in the center of the world. For some it burns, for some it hurts and he does not seek pity from those around him. The scissors, the shakes, the balances on one foot are for the festivals. And, the more he dances, the darker he gets. “When with open arms he turns into a goat who falls against anyone responsible for his passions and when he bends down in a plea to fate and the uncle.” (From the text of Dionysis Charitopoulos “The lonely lament” contained in his book “We of the Same”, pages 13 and 14, “Greek Letters”, 2003.)
@Polemao Eleftheros The composer who, more than anyone else, influenced Marco Vamvakaris and influenced him in his tragedy, was Costas Skarvelis from Constantinople. Skarvelis, who arrived in Athens after 1922, was the main representative of the Byzantine, Constantinople butcher {hasapiko, rebetiko – DB]. His butchers, with main musicians Giorgos Kavouras, Stellakis Perpiniadis, Dalgas, Roukounas and Markos Vamvakaris himself, were exemplary. Written in a variety of rhythmic arrangements and melodies, they seem to carry the entire heritage of this rhythm and this dance from Istanbul to Athens. Vamvakaris expressed several times his admiration for Costas Skarvelis who considered him the best, before him, popular composer of the Greek discography. In addition, Skarvelis, who was an excellent guitarist, participated in many recordings of Markos songs. Several songs by Vamvakaris, not only hasapika but also zeibekika, bear the traces of melodies, but also of the themes of Costas Skarvelis. An example is the spinning song that Skarvelis plays guitar.

The mangas, now in total command of the floor, takes his cue, strolls onto the stage and begins to twirl slowly to the music, his arms outstretched like a bird beginning to take flight. One of the five rotating singers begins to sing an old rebetika song. A few of the other manges crouch on the stage, clapping in rhythm to the music of the Zeibekiko. No one else may set foot on the stage, as this dance belongs to the man who paid for it. Legends are told about some unlucky souls who have been knifed and breathed their last breaths right there on stage for disobeying this unwritten code.

A waiter brings a metal pot to the dance floor, pours brandy into it and lights it on fire. The dancer leans over the fire, pivots on one foot, while he thrusts his free leg over the fire. A man climbs onto the stage with a large wad of dollar bills and peels them off over the dancer with his thumb, one by one. Two waiters arrive on stage, one with a champagne glass on a tray, the other with a case of champagne. The waiters open one bottle after another, pouring a little champagne from each bottle into the overflowing glass, which is held on a tray by one of the waiters, until every bottle has been opened.

Finally, the dancer strikes a pose with his arms held up in the air. Then he thrusts his pelvis forward, brings his arms down and places his hands on his groin as if making an offering of his genitals. When the dance is finished, the dancer goes back to his table. He has now, presumably, been purged of all of the frustrations and troubles life brings, and he has received the recognition and respect of his peers.

Music- Tis Evdokias by Manos Loïzos, Dancer- Manos Loizos. 2012. Comment from Orthodoxy: “The best zeibekiko. true, heavy, lonely, without set figures, simple, airy but above all masculine taken from the soul. I bow !!! The whole story of zeibek in this dance.”

Some nights, several dancers get up, one at a time, to dance the Zeibekiko, and the Zeibekika music can continue for an hour or more. When it ends, someone comes onto the stage with a large broom to sweep away all of the bills, which have now covered the stage like leaves on a windy Fall day. Thousands of dollars can be spent on such dances.

One famous true story tells of a man who was so emotionally moved by the music of a renowned clarinet player, that he spent his entire week’s earnings in one evening. Then, devastated when he realized what he had done, he killed the musician so that he would never again “rob” anyone of his livelihood. This story is often retold, I believe, not to illustrate how strange or unusual was this man’s crime, but to emphasize how great was the virtuosity of the musician, which is measured in how powerfully he was able to influence the emotional state of his listeners.

The men, who have been drinking all night, now slouch at their table. At about 3:30 a.m., the waiters bring each one a hot bowl of egg-lemon soup, and as these tough guys sit up with their heads crouched over the soup bowl, they suddenly seem transformed, as if they were children sitting in mom’s kitchen.

The Zeibekiko dance brings a catharsis to the dancer. Dancing solo in the center of the floor, with all of the others squatting all around you and clapping their hands for you, gives you an intense sensation of affirmation, an emotional expression and release of your sorrows and pain before these approving witnesses. And as you twirl around, you get “in your kefi” and become purged. Zeibekiko is an experience that you cannot know until you have owned the dance floor and felt the affirmation of your parea and reached a state of kefi.

Even as an observer, on more than one occasion, after enduring a night without sleep, the loud ringing in my ears from the overamplified music, the smoke-filled room polluting my lungs, a night of eating the flamed cheese, washed down with retsina, and followed by a breakfast of egg- lemon soup, I have felt cleansed, and almost reborn, after one of these mangas nights at the club. It is, I suspect, because I have been moved to tears by the melancholy music, and I have witnessed the strange rituals of the manges, and I know that I am alive.

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Zeibekiko (dance, rhythm, style) - collection of Greek songs


Ακούνε τα ζεϊμπέκικα
Σαν το "Πάτερ Ημών"

Listening to zeibekiko
Like "Our Father"

Various Greek songs "zeybeko" are collected on this page.

Zeybeko 0017 ζεϊμπέκικα in the plural) is also a male dance, it is also the name of a special rhythm of this dance, it is also the name of a style of modern Greek music that has such a rhythm as, for example, the well-known waltz or saidi . On the right of the video, a young man is dancing zeybeko , the melody on the video is "Zeybeko Evdokia". It is very easy to identify zeybeko by ear - it is always a specific, ragged rhythm - 9/4 or 9/8: we count up to 9 to the beat of the music, if a new measure begins - most likely it is exactly zeibekiko . As soon as I started to get involved in Greek music, songs in the style of zeybeko immediately became my favorite, although at that time I did not understand and did not know that all of them can be attributed to zeybeko .

There are several versions of the origin of the word "zeybeko" .
The most amusing thing is obtained if you parse the word in parts: ζει - lives, μπε - a sheep makes such a sound, κικ - English. kick, kick, ο - an expression of delight, that is, zeibekiko is a dance of a living person who kicks sheep, and everyone admires him.
The second option is Ζεϋ + μπέκος (βέκος) - Zeus + bread, while Zeus symbolizes the soul, and bread - the body, and zeybeko - their harmony, that is, everything a dancer needs. Or here's another version Ζευς + Βάκχος - Zeus and Bacchus, aka Dionysus, the god of winemaking - and where there is wine, there is dancing.

But in most cases it is considered that the word zeybeko comes from the dance zeybeks - a small nation that lived on the territory of Asia Minor, this word was first mentioned in the 13th century. Zeybeks are neither Turks nor Greeks, and in general they did not submit to either Greek or Turkish rulers, retained their national identity, and at first religion, but they constituted an irregular army of the Ottoman Empire, and later they were massacred by the Turks for disobedience. The dance zeybeks was adopted by both the Greeks and the Turks - in Greek the word 9 is used for it0017 ζεϊμπέκικο (zeybek, zeybek, typical for zeybeks), in Turkish - zeybek . From Turkish , zeybek is translated as elder brother, friend, protector, but it is argued that in older Turkish it also meant a hooligan knife or defensive weapon in some villages of southeastern Asia Minor. The massive flow of migrants that

rushed from Turkey to Greece as a result of the Asia Minor catastrophe

significantly influenced Greek music, in particular, zeibekiko .

Turks dance this dance in a group (as in the video on the left), or

a man with a woman

(and they do not touch each other), and sometimes

only a man

, but it is always an expression of male prowess, courage and some bravado. It is believed that the position of the hands resembles the wings of an eagle, and in general the dance consists of steps, squats and turns. Similarly, in Greece - almost the same position of the hands, only a little lower, the same steps, squats and turns. However, in Greece zeibekiko is a purely male dance, every second it is improvisation and there are no obligatory elements, it is an expression of the mood that the dancer has at the moment. Zeybekoko - Greek man's tragedy dance. On a small, cramped section of the "dance floor" that he can find in a drinking establishment, he expresses his grief and despair in a dance. The songs of zeybeko sang about unfulfilled dreams, unsettled life, social problems of that time, broken love, deceit and death. They say that dancing zeibeko is fighting Death at this moment, and she is spinning the dancer, pulling him into a whirlpool, and he loses all orientation, that is why there are so many turns and lunges in zeibeko . And in some places it is stated that the dance zeybeks depicted a battle followed by a defeat. Therefore, when his comrades are dead, he, dancing zeibekiko , is the only one fighting for survival, even more - he is already dead, but still fighting. His uneven steps reflect his strength - sometimes they end, then again he fights, and when he lightly hits the floor with his hand - it's him, dead, knocking on the doors of hell. nine0003

Often zeibekiko looks like a dance of a drunk person (and sometimes it is called "the dance of drunks") - these are deceptive steps, and staggering / swaying the body, falls and rises, as well as a characteristic slowdown in movements and a subsequent surge of emotions, reminiscent of a temporary sobering up of a drunk , then this is restraint of feelings, then their violence. At the same time, the head is often lowered down, and the dancer himself hunches a little, as if he is alone with his deeply personal tragedy. Interrupt dancing zeybeko in such an intimate moment is considered indecent. Moreover, earlier the exit of the second dancer to the dance floor was an insult, a challenge and an excuse for a fight. However, usually a man dances only one dance, and ends it as soon as the music ends. And then the next one comes out, observing a kind of etiquette. Usually, in a smoky cramped hall, the rest of the visitors over a glass of alcohol either skeptically or with silent understanding look at the dancer, some clap to the beat of the music. Applause after zeybeko were also considered an insult - after all, the Greek danced not for anyone, but to express his pain, and this was the only way to do it. It is impossible to force a Greek to dance if he does not want to, just as it is impossible to keep him if he wants to sing or dance.

And the Greeks want to dance often. And they dance zeybeko everywhere - at weddings, family holidays, in taverns, in clubs and just in open areas. Moreover, modern zeybeko is not always gloomy and tragic, the music is more fun and faster, and the Greeks dance to it with a twinkle and enthusiasm. With the same shade of anguish and concentration, the man not only dances, but also diligently flaunts. Zeybekoko becomes a dance for demonstrating dexterity, performing tricks, a dance of self-pride, beloved and unique, Greek to the fingertips. Often these are high jumps with a turn, or touching the floor with the shoulder blades, when the dancer, sitting on his knees, lies on his back. Or, for example, a dancer performs the following number - raises a glass of wine from the floor with his mouth and drinks a glass of wine without touching it with his hands, or dances zeibekiko with a glass on his head, or, for example, jumping on a standing glass on the floor, crushing it into pieces. In general, every Greek expresses himself and tulips as best he can. Zeibekiko in Greece, men of any age dance, boys imitate adults from childhood, repeat their movements - this was the case in the 40s, this is happening now, some schoolboy / teenager can easily make several movements as a joke. Dance zeybeko and older Greeks, already with a special charm, restraint, as opposed to young guys who tend to dance more violently. nine0003

It used to be considered indecent for a woman to dance zeybeko . By the way, I am not talking about dance zeybekikos (or also zeybekiko ), which is a folk dance in Cyprus

and is typical for villages, which is danced in groups, etc. That zeybeko that I mean came from the city, it is a lower class dance that became popular in all walks of life in the post-war period. But even if we leave all class prejudices aside, the woman herself is a soft, flexible and plastic being, and zeibekiko - the dance is in a sense rough, intense, not at all for her. But modern women do not worry about this topic and dance. Despite all my desire to be able to dance zeybeko , I don’t like how they do it, for myself I didn’t find a single video where I really liked it at all. Women just dance otherwise , it seems that the movements are beautiful, but "not that". And

in this video

five girls are dancing zeybeko , generally violating all traditions zeybeko and creating a kind of parody of this dance, even the name is a cross between zeybeko and the songs of Yorgos Zabetas. And everyone sings zeybeko .

When a Greek dances zeybeko , friends, girlfriends, relatives, etc. they go out to the dance floor to support the dancer, everyone squats around him, girls in short skirts often just kneel, they clap their hands to the beat of the music and enthusiastically look at the dancer, catching his every movement. This is where women are needed! In a fit of feelings, the support group beats the cymbals, often holding a stack of them in one hand, and in the second - one cymbal, with which the entire stack is broken with a characteristic sound "so-so-so-so". In ancient times, the plates were real and the visitors paid for them separately, but because this ardent habit of the Greeks could not be eliminated, the plates began to be specially made for beating, now they are thin and easily broken. Another trick is to throw flower buds at the dancer, and sometimes pour the whole tray of carnations on him. Several groups can form on the dance floor, in each of which a soloist dances, who dances in his own unique manner, and around him there is his own company. nine0003

Modern composers still draw inspiration from the style of zeybeko , create and write songs. Below in the list you can find both the old "unforgettable" zeybek , and completely new, recent years. Enjoy listening and I wish you to love zeibekiko as much as I love him, and maybe even more!

Do the Greeks dance "Sirtaki" and what is "Zeybekoko"?

Sirtaki is a Greek group dance based on elements of Greek folk dances. When performing it, the dancers, taking each other by the shoulders, form several parallel lines (ranks), the music size is 4/4; the pace of the dance gradually increases from slow to very fast. (New explanatory and derivational dictionary of the Russian language. Author T. F. Efremova). nine0003

Since childhood, I was sure that in Greece “sirtaki” is like “kalinka-malinka” for Russians, “lezginka” for Georgians, and “hopak” for Ukrainians. Moreover, after the famous performance of “sirtaki” by the choreographic ensemble under the direction of I. Moiseev, for some reason it seemed to me that the Greeks almost walked through the streets in an embrace, making famous knees with their feet. But what is it really?

Actually, "sirtaki" is not a popular dance. It is not even popular. In the sense that he has a specific author of music and the first performer of movements is known. And in Greece it is called the "Zorba dance" after the name of the main character from the film "Zorba the Greek", released worldwide in 1964 and won three Oscars.

It happened like this: when the film was being shot, the main character (American actor Anthony Quinn) had to dance the folk dance "Syrtos", common in the island part of the country, to the music of the famous Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. But on the eve of filming, Anthony Quinn injured his leg and was unable to perform fast movements, as required by the choreography. Then he began to dance slowly, to the best of his ability, adding his own elements and gradually increasing the tempo. As a result, a new dance "sirtaki" (small "sirtos") was obtained. nine0003

Due to the wide popularity of the film all over the world, “sirtaki” began to be perceived as a Greek folk song. Later, the Greeks themselves believed that this was so: there are many variations on the theme of this dance. But they rarely dance it. I think because at least three people need to know the basic movements and be able to perform them in sync, which requires prior rehearsal. But for tourists, at any performances, artists perform it with inspiration.

I saw the sirtaki dance only once in a tavern with friends. And the waiters performed it in the breaks between their main work, exclusively at the request of foreign guests. Of course, the dance was in a simplified version, but the audience applauded vigorously. nine0003

What are the Greeks dancing about?

Zeibekiko is very popular: nowadays it is danced both at family celebrations and in taverns. The dance is single, male, requiring only a small space around. The movements are very reminiscent of the movements of a drunk person. There is even a “somersault” when a dancer from a sitting position grabs a filled glass with his teeth without the help of hands, from the floor, and, rising, drinks the contents, then puts it back.

But this is now. In the old days, the attitude to dance was different. "Zeybeko" was brought with them by Greek repatriates who came from Turkey to Greece after 1922 years during the "exchange of peoples". Initially, it was a dance of sorrow and expression of sorrowful feelings. The dancer, with the help of body plastics, seemed to “mourn” death, unfulfilled dreams, the loss of his beloved, demonstrating the idea that a real man is not ashamed to show his pain. “Zeybeko” does not give courage, the people said. “But a person must be brave to dance it.”

Women were forbidden to perform this dance, because it was believed that by expressing her longing in the dance, she was discrediting the man who came with her. And in general, it was implied that women are too weak to dare to demonstrate their grief. Today, some ladies dance "zeybeko", but to be honest, it looks ridiculous: as if a woman began to squat. nine0003

The dance is completely improvised, as they say, "from the heart": there is no definite sequence of movements. But with apparent lightness, not everyone is able to beautifully and plastically perform the elements. In Greece, there is a special musical direction of folk music, under which this dance is performed. These are sad songs, usually about unrequited love or separation, with a rather complex melody and voice modulations.

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