Traditional Greek Dancing

Zorbas dance: Traditional Greek dancing

Zorbas Dance restaurant is named after the 'traditional' dance of the outrageously extrovert and macho peasant character of Alexis Zorba from the famous 1964 cult classic film "Zorba the Greek" starring Anthony Quinn as Alexis.

Greek traditional dancing dates back to ancient Greece. It was closely related to religion, a way to express gratitude to the gods. There was a dance for almost every occasion, from a child born to a man who passed away. Over the years dancing became part of everyday life as a way of socializing and having a good time, but it was still religion based.

As the years passed the religious origins faded away and became a way of having fun, telling stories, and communicating from one part of the country to the other. There were stories of happy times and sad times, stories of war and times of peace. Many places had their trademark dance, which still occur today, giving cultural identity to every region.

Intrigued by so much history I started learning Greek traditional dances at the age of ten. It was a great experience as there is far more to learn than merely the steps of each dance. Every dance has a story, and you learn a lot about the culture of each place. The way dancers dress differs greatly. From mountain-side villages to seaside ports and islands too, there is a huge range of dancing costumes. Men have always had a more dominant role in dancing, although there are dances that are performed only by women.

Today, even though traditional dancing is considered a little old fashioned, it's still growing strong. Dances are still performed at weddings, christenings and other celebrations, sometimes in nightclubs too. It has become a fun part of everyday life. [author: Themistoklis Pentheroudakis]