The famous Greek zeibekiko dance
Zeibekiko, or Zeimbekiko, is a Greek Dance, one of the most popular and beloved dances and rhythms in Greece. It is considered an urban improvisational dance, following a dancing pattern of 9/8.
Zeibekiko in Greek is written as zeimpekiko (ζεϊμπέκικο).
The οrigins of zeibekiko
This rhythmic dance was a little different, and less improvisational, as it was a typical tribal dance mostly in the villages of Aydin and Western Turkey.
It was a dance known only to the islanders in Greece, especially the ones living close to Asia Minor, due to the commercial exchanges and strong relationships that islanders kept with their families and friends from Asia Minor.
Zeibekiko was introduced in Greek mainland after the 1922 genocide in Asia Minor and the incoming refugees towards Greece.
The zeibekiko dance and rhythm, bearing something nostalgic, but yet brave and audacious became naturalized in Greece and became a typical and popular Greek dance. It was re-introduced to Turkey as a Greek Rhythm, as the original dance is considered more folkloric. Zeibekiko dance used to be a men’s dance, although last few decades women have also mastered the art of dancing it.
Zeibekiko Composers and Players
One of the most important Reberiko composers, Markos Vamvakaris from the island of Syros, was one of the pioneers in importing, shaping and naturalizing zeibekiko dance.
Some of the most known zeibekiko composers in Greece are Vassilis Tsitsanis, Apostolos Kaldaras, Stavros Xarhakos, Manos Loizos and many more.
In the featured here, you can see the infamous Zeibekiko of Evdokia, one of the most known Greek Songs, which is actually instrumental, because the sound and melody are so powerful that lyric writers refused to write lyrics on the melody, fearing that they will ruin it. It was composed by Manos Loizos.
Zeibekiko dance today
Zeibekiko is definitely one of the most beloved Greek dances, because it’s passionate and flamboyant. It is a personal dance, a way to express individuality, but also fears and desires, a way to unwind through music and dance. Usually only one person at a time may dance it and everyone else has to kneel down, forming a circle around the dancer, clapping following the rhythm and encouraging the dancer.
Zeibekiko dance does have some particular steps, but the most impressive dance is the one where the dancer shows his creativity, performing special feats, adding a little humor and personal touch to the occasion.
The real zeibekiko for Greeks, though, is heavy and impassionate, a spoony dance; an expression of sevdah danced by buster guys. An introverted dance that reflects the sorrow, anguish and pain of the dancer as well as his emotional distress and his losses.
Zeibekiko is the most commonly danced rhythms in feasts, and when Greeks go to taverns or night clubs with live music.