Greek Zorba dance – expressing the beauty and agony of living

personSlađana Milošević
history2 minutes reading

Teach me to dance. Will you? Basil
Dance. Did you say, dance? Come on my boy! Zorba

“Zorba the Greek” is a 1964 movie written, produced, edited, and directed by Greek Cypriot Michael Cacoyannis and starring Anthony Quinn as the titular character. Based on the 1946 novel “The Life And Times Of Alexis Zorba” by Nikos Kazantzakis. “Zorbas” (or more commonly, “Zorba’s Dance”) is an instrumental by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. The song featured for the dance which has become known as sirtaki became popular around the world.

In this movie, the main character, played by Anthony Quinn, is Alexis Zorba, a vivid Greek musician who accidentally meets Basil (played by Alan Bates), a British writer of Greek descent who goes to Crete to start a lignite mine and try to find inspiration. The plot shows their adventures, where Zorba will try to teach Basil some life lessons. The film gained exceptional popularity, with an important contribution made by the music of Mikis Theodorakis, and especially the composition Zorbas, which is performed in the anthological dance scene (

Every time I look at this scene it is more than just dancing on the beach. There is so much beauty, emotions and wisdom there. Tears of joy every time I see them dancing.
Zorba is expressing the beauty and agony of living. Zorba transforms his metaphysical questionings into structured, rhythmic movement: Who made the world? Why? Why do we die? Where do we come from and where do we go?

Zorba lives life and he dances through it. He, just as Greeks, talks through his body, through body language, creating a dialogue between the western-Apollonian-order with the eastern-Dionysian-chaos.

Dance, after all, is a body dialogue with the queries. He deals with God; he speaks a language that cannot be interpreted but felt.

Just as Zorba, the dancers have a lot to say; what can not be expressed with words, can and is expressed with dance, as a primary non-verbal way of communication, as one authentic voice.

“Dance. Did you say, dance? Come on my boy!” Zorba


“Speaking Without Words: Zorba’s Dance”, Maria Hnaraki, Drexel University-Philadelphia (from:

Sladjana Milosevic
Blog Author Sladjana Milosevic

Accredited coach/mentor (MP EIA). Accredited coach/mentor supervisor (ESIA)

Diplomate in Logotherapy (Viktor Frankl Institute, USA)

Logocoaching – coaching by applying basic principles of logotherapy.

Coaching – Sir John Whitmore defines coaching as: “Unlocking person’s potential to maximize their own performance” (Source: Whitmore, J. (2002). Coaching for Performance, Third Edition: Growing People, Performance, and Purpose).

Coaching is not a therapy in any sense!

Logotherapy – Logotherapy provides answers to questions about the meaning of existence. As a psychotherapeutic approach, it brings into psychotherapy the knowledge that in addition to the physical and mental dimension, a person also has a third, spiritual dimension. In Logotherapy, the focus in on the future, on tasks and meaning.

You can find more about Logotherapy from: Viktor Frankl Institute, Vienna/Austria.

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