Greek dance designed for Hollywood (video)


Most people believe that syrtaki (συρτάκι) is a traditional Greek dance that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. The millions of tourists who visit Greece each year will dance – or at least watch – the syrtaki danced in taverns.
However, syrtaki is not a tradition that comes from our Greek history but from our Hollywood history. It is a dance that was specially 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, the most prominent 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 important 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 dance in lines or in a circle, 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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