Most people believe that syrtaki (συρτάκι) is a traditional Greek dance dating back to the early 20th century and the millions of tourists who visit Greece each year will dance – or at least watch – the syrtaki being danced in taverns.
Yet, according to Greekreporter.gr, syrtaki is not an authentic Greek dance. It is a “fabricated” dance, created for the needs of a film. Well, not just any movie, but “Zorba the Greek”, based on Nikos Kazantzakis’ iconic book, “Zorbas”, released in 1964.
And the composer is none other than Mikis Theodorakis, arguably the most acclaimed Greek musician of all time. What Theodorakis did was alternate the slow and fast steps of the Hassaposerviko dance and compose the music of Zorba the Greek.
The most characteristic aspect of Syrtaki music and dance is the acceleration of the rhythm. The name syrtaki comes from the word syrtos, a common name for a group of traditional Greek dances. The word derives from the verb σύρω (syro), which means to drag, while I drag my fellow dancers.
The dancers form lines or a circle, with each dancer holding the shoulder of the person next to them. The time signature is 4/4, gradually increasing and reaching 2/4 in the faster part of the dance. The dance begins with slow, fluid movements that gradually become faster, more lively, often including small jumps.
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