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Message from Sophia Ventouris
Curator of Zeibekiko Festival Australia 

PRINCIPAL/SOPHIA VENTOURIS | school-greek-dance (



Welcome to the 1st ever Zeibekiko Festival Australia !

From 1st July to 10th July 2023 a series of events dedicated to "Zeibekikos" will happen with a variety of shows, taverna nights, musical journey and dance workshops. 


 We celebrate ZEIBEKIKOS because it one of the oldest traditional dances, It is the most emotionally charged, historical, expressive, soulful, powerful, most danced today in Greek culture, TRADITIONAL GREEK dance! 

Many have the incorrect belief, or have been informed incorrectly, that Zeibekikos is a modern dance. Quiet the contrary,

ZEIBEKIKOS is definitely a traditional dance, which has evolved into the form as we commonly know it today.

It belongs to the "ZEIBEKIKO FAMILY OF DANCES". which include not only Zeibekiko in its traditional form but also APTALIKO dances, KASRSILAMA dances and VRAKOFORA ZEIBEKIKA.

VRAKES were the traditional baggy pants, knee length attire, worn by men - mainly in the Greek Islands and Asia Minor, especially coastal areas (as most men were fishermen).

Zeibekikos, is still danced and celebrated in various parts of Greece.  It was danced traditionally in the early 19th century in Asia Minor such as Smyrna, Aivali, Constantinople, Aidoni, Meli, and Cappadocia etc.

Research shows that it has ancient Thracian -Phrygian origin. Further research suggests its existence in the Greek Island of Syros since the 16th century, this suggests further, that it is, a Greek traditional dance.

It became a shared dance between cultures in Asia Minor, prior the Asia Minor Catastrophe. Asia Minor then fell under Ottoman rule and saw the biggest exodus or Greek people and genocide in early 19th century. 

In 1922 the official treaty of Lausanne was signed and a massive exchange of populations was forced by Turkish authorities. No Orthodox Greeks were allowed to live in the lands their families owned for hundreds of years. Your either converted to Muslim or had to leave, otherwise you would be killed. This forced exchange led thousands of Asia Minor residents to become refugees in Greece. These people brought with them their local songs and dances which included all the Zeibekiko FAMILY OF DANCES.

This EXPRESSING of woes was the road to led to the Rembetika era..

In the ports of Piraeus we see a growing number of tavernas sounding a new era of music in the beginning, a lot of it is based on songs from Asia Minor and then slowly, new ones are written in the new born REMBETIKO genre.

Its is in this genre that a whole generation of people lamented their loss of homes, wealth and loved ones from the Asia Minor Catastrophe, and others suffering from pain.

 So they sang about their troubles, their pain, their lost loved ones, and reminisced about their homeland in Asia Minor. 

The later REMBETIKA ZEIBEKIKA also depicted the trouble men would get in with the law, generally peoples love life, and life in general at the time. Later come the songs of hope and love.

The Rembetika Zeibekika left an era of a new Genre which the Zeibekiko song and dance were a very important part.

Zeibekiko dance, gives us the freedom to self-improvise and to express ourselves through movement. We can speak our passions & soul while we dance.

Zeibekiko is a carrier of history, of the Asia Minor Catastrophe 1922-23.

Zeibekiko at this point becomes more than just a dance . It is a status or mental condition one enters, where the dancer may experience or relive a certain situation with intensity while listening to a song and dancing Zeibekikiko.

In the underground "koutoukia" tavernas of Piraeus for example, it was not uncommon to hear about the "maxairomata"" - to hurt or kill someone with knives on the dance floor. This is because Zeibekikos had become a SOLO dance. It was almost a religious experience when a male tipped the band to play his song so he can dance. It was understood that the dance floor for those few minutes was his! If another man dared to get up to dance while the initial person was dancing, it was an insult ! Hence the initial dancer had every right to kill anybody that cramped his style.

Thank God this is no longer in practice today.

Today, for me, ZEIBEKIKO is a living museum of history and emotions from the past, assimilated into our modern life, and danced by Greeks and non-Greeks living around the globe. It gives the individual the space and freedom to express their true nature, talent and spirit. It is the height of every Greek party/glendi!

I hope you participate and enjoy the exciting journey I am planning for all lovers of Greek culture and dance.

Join in one of our classes/workshops led by the famous international choreographer from Cyprus & MASTER OF ZEIBEKIKO Mr Christos Shakallis !

Book in one of our events for a great ZEIBEKIKO EXPERIENCE!

Sophia Ventouris

Curator of Zeibekiko Festival Australia

Ph: 0413114930

Zeibekikos is not just a dance ! It is a deposition of the SOUL!    -     Κατασταση Ψυχής

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