Chest of drawers

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August 11, 2022

Sirtaki (Greek: συρτάκι - syrtaki) is an invented dance, which, unlike most Greek folk dances, is not danced in an open circle, but in a row, with the dancers keeping their hands on the shoulders of their fellow dancers.

Origin

Sirtaki (Greek: συρτάκι) is a popular dance with Greek roots. The choreography was created by Giorgos Provias, and the music by Mikis Theodorakis in 1964 for the movie Zorba the Greek (based on the novel by Nikos Kazantsakis). It was supposedly created to make filming easier for lead actor Anthony Quinn, who was not gifted at performing Greek dances (originally planned to be a five-bar Pentosalis in the final scene). Together with the film, sirtaki gained international fame and became for non-Greeks the concept of Greek dance. Sirtaki got its name from the Sirtos folk dance, namely sirtos horos (Greek: συρτóς χορóς), which means drag dance, as opposed to the leaping dance, pikidkos horos (Greek: πηδηκτóς χορóς). The choreography of the new dance began with the light steps of the Constantinopolitan Chasapika-Hasapiko (Dance of the Assassins of Constantinople) and ended in a faster rhythm with the steps of the Chasaposervikos.

Name

Sirtaki is the diminutive of sirtos, a traditional type of Greek folk dance. Almost every island or group of islands has its own sirtos, such as Sirtos Skyros, Sirtos Silivrianos of Naxos or Kaniotiko (sirtos of Kania, Crete). There are also dances on the continent, such as sirtos Sarakatsan, which contain sirtos in the name, but they have nothing in common with sirtos in 2/4 time with a long-short-short dance rhythm.

Choreography

Sirtos is danced in an open circle and with an unlimited number of participants, while sirtaki, a small sirtos, due to the possibility for free combinations of figures (in contrast to the fixed steps of traditional folk dances), is usually performed by two or three coordinated dancers.

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Zorba the Greek

References