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It takes its name from the Zeybeks, an irregular militia living in the Aegean Region of the Ottoman Empire from late 17th to early 20th centuries. It was first seen at the end of the 17th century in cities such as Constantinople and Smyrni. Evliya Çelebi mentions in his writings that it was danced in Magnesia and in Aydın at local feasts. Originally a dance for two armed people facing one another, it developed into an improvised dance for a single male. Wikipedia
The Zeibekiko is a saturnine dance. Danced by men and although has no concrete steps, hardly danced, because it has internal tension and meaning that comes from the soul of the dancer. Has priestly and mystical mood. He expresses the eternal fight with death and the defeat. He who dances zeibekiko needs mental preparation, to feel the psychic pain inside him.
Zeibekiko expresses the despair of life, the unfulfilled dream, the longing, the affliction. The dancer is not ashamed to manifest his pain or his weakness. It ignores social conventions and the shallow respectability. The dancer sympathizes with the verse that expresses to some extent his personal case. Chooses the song he will dance and improvise in a very small space, humbly and with dignity. The dancer doesn't jump brazenly right and left, he is in devoutness. The most appropriate time to make a turn is the time of music bridge, when the singer take a breath. The arms are open and his head held high, reminiscent of the crucifixion and seems as bear the suffering of the whole world at that single moment. When his arms are open, is like an eagle and then he bends kinked in a supplication position to the destiny and the divine. The rate follows the Byzantine measure to 9/8.
The history and route of Zeibekiko has different versions, like the origin of the name. I hold the version that wants to be an ancient dance from Thrace that passed in Asia and repatriated with the arrival of mikrasiates after the disaster of Asia Minor, to Greece. The word Zeibekiko, originated from the first component of the word Zeus that symbolizes the spirit and from the second component the word Bekos or vekos which means bread, and symbolizes the body. That means the compound of the soul with the body, the divine with the human.
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