Syrtaki is a dance that got out from a movie back in 1964. The movie got a lot of Oscars. That movie script came after a novel. Nikos Kazantzakis' novel "Alexis Zorbas".
The movie director was Michael Cacoyannis. The Syrtaki dancer was the actor Anthony Quinn playing Greek character Alexis Zorbas. Alexis Zorbas was having a boss, an intelectual half-Greek half-English man played by Alan Bates.
So what is that fuzz about Syrtaki dance and melody written for this movie by Mikis Theodorakis? Why a movie left such an impact for so many years? (47y until now)
Litterateur Nikos Kazantzakis was a master of psychographics. He set here a bipolar between two characters and the society around them in Crete, Greece. Ok and what is the point on that?
Remember, in this blog you are trying to understand what Greece, I mean what Greeks, really are thus what they give to other people or stand for.
Just follow the video clips path bellow.
Most of you will recognize the hidden Greek deep inside you. Whether you are from North Pole or Europe or Asia or America or Africa or Australia or wherever. Once, everyone of you were a kid, right?
uploader’s comment: 32 counts/1 wall Beginners Level Line Dance Series Choreographed by Ira Wiesburd Music: Zorba
Jose Feliciano - Zorba The Greek uploader: ognet
uploader’s comment: Jose Feliciano plays Zorba The Greek
Zorba the Greek sirtaki dance, Mikis Theodorakis, Arena di Verona uploader: MultigramClassical
uploader’s comment: (C) 2004 Multigram Srl Italy The unique existing video recording of Zorba the Greek ballet performed at the Arena di Verona (Aug 1990). Ballet in 2 Acts and 24 figures - Music by Mikis Theodorakis - Based on the novel by Nicolais Kazantzakis - Choreography and Stage Director Lorca Massine -- Main Interpreters: Vladimir Vassiliev, Gheorghe Iancu, Luciana Savignano.
Andre Rieu in London playing Sirtaki greek dance uploader: 8eemou
uploader’s comment: Andre Rieu in London playing Sirtaki
[imdb reference: Zorba The Greek] Below is a 14 video series with the whole original movie (1964). Every video auto-loads one after another. Enjoy.
ZORBA THE GREEK [The whole movie] - Mikis Theodorakis, Nikos Kazantzakis uploader: TheodorakisZorba
Well. Except you were a kid once -like Zorba was a kid all life long- there is one more thing about Syrtaki frenzy. Kazantzakis is constantly playing between life and death, something and nothing, the new and the old, the gay and the serious, the wannabe good and the wannabe bad, the human and the brute instinct, the light and the dark, leaving reader without an answer. This is Kazantzakis pattern or tempo in most of his books.
Maybe Kazantzakis believes there is not an answer at all but an animal called human. Then, having not an answer he is like putting a question such: "what this passing lie we call life is all about anyway?" and throws Zorba on the table:
"A man needs a little madness or else he never dares cut the rope and be free"
That is the meaning of Syrtaki dance and tune. That is what all of these people around the world want to burst out by performing Syrtaki when dancing like kids in dance halls, in tourist tavernas, in bars, even in serious music halls. Then what of that has to do with Greeks? The life of a Greek always has to do with life and death, even when he is not aware of that.
Even a Greek who never attended school, never heard of ancient Greeks or comedy or tragedy, he constantly drifts and plays between life and death issues and decisions. How come? They say this is in the seasons’ rotation in Greece. This is in the nature’s blossom in Spring against loneliness in Winter. This is in Byzantine hymns in church against passionate bouzouki. This is in the hard ouzo or raki or tsipouro, while almost anyone drinks and no one gets drunk. Not for Greeks can drink a lot without getting drunk. Many other people can drink more than Greeks. This is because a Greek, while never told or taught to, does not want to get drunk but only when the sun has set and he has issues about. In the same way, no one knows how it has passed through all, every Greek thinks: "A man needs a little madness or else he never dares cut the rope and be free".
Maybe these aspects are spread in common among Greeks because of the soil of this wild land. I am kidding you, I don’t know. Who knows. Who cares.
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PS. After Kazantzakis wish this is written on his grave: "I hope nothing I fear nothing I am free"