The Ultimate Greek Dance…

greekdanceZeibekiko is THE Ultimate Greek dance. Out of the 50+ various styles of Greek Dances (Rebetiko, Tsifteteli, Sirtaki, Kalamatiano, etc) the Zeibekiko intrigues me the most. But what is it about this legendary dance that mesmerizes both the onlookers and the dancer?

Lead Guitarist = Zeibekiko?!

I like to look at it from lead guitarist’s point of view! When a guitarist steps up on stage and lets rip a killer solo it’s just him vs the onlookers. It is up to the guitarist to entertain the crowd with an improvised sweet piece of music that really comes from his soul, just like the Zeibekiko.

What is a Zeibekiko

For those who don’t know, the Zeibekiko consists of a single dancer where he or she will dance in an “arena” created by friends on their knees in a circle, clapping to the rhythm, while the performer literally tells a story with the moves he/she displays. That’s the beauty of the dance. Zeibekika songs are not (usually) corny pop songs released to cash in a few easy bucks, but rather stories of everyday emotions that human beings encounter. Joyful feelings about friendship and love interests, as well as heartbreaks and hardships are common themes explored in the lyrics of most of the songs and it is for these reasons that many people associate themselves with any Zeibikiko song at any given time. The emotional affiliations to the song are further enhanced by the level of immersion the dancer will show with his moves!

There is no correct way to dance a Zeibekiko just as long as you stay within the underlying general rhythm (9/4 or else 9/8 ,broken down as 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/16 + 1/8 + 1/8 + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/16 + 1/8 + 1/8 + 1/8)! That’s a lot easier to understand when you actually hear a Zeibekiko song. As I have mentioned earlier its all about improvisation, and if you have ever had the honour to have witnessed one such dance it is easy to mistake the performer as drunken punter in a club… Well that’s not far from the truth as many performers need a ‘little’ bit of drink to muster the courage to dance and be the center of attention from friends and other random club goers alike.

History of the dance

The dance itself originated from the Zeybek warriors in Anatolia and partially introduced in Greece in 1923 following the peace ‘Treaty of Lausanne’ which allowed the merging of the East Thracians and Anatolia populations. As a consequence the dance became naturalized in Greece and re-introduced in Turkey as a Greek Dance. Markos Vamvakaris (Rebetiko composer and singer) from the island of Syros, later played an integral part in the role of shaping and popularising this musical and dance genre.

‘To Zeibekiko Tis Evdokias’

The most popular Zeibekiko song is a masterpiece composed by Manos Loizou. It is an instrumental (non lyrical) piece of brilliance that promotes a plethora of unique self-induced emotions. ‘To Zeibekiko Tis Evdokias’ is interpreted differently amongst many people and holds a dear place in my heart. It was the highlight of both my sister’s and brother’s wedding, reminding me of the happiness and joy we all shared clapping as our loved ones took on the center stage and mesmerized us with the ‘story’ they all told on the dance floor.

Manos Loizou’s ‘To Zeibekiko tis Evdokias’ danced by many

Future of Zeibekika!?!?