You’ve probably heard this song before.

You may even have danced to it at some point. It’s the one that pops into mind when someone thinks of Greek music – and maybe the most popular Greek song in the world? Regardless, Zorba’s Dance (or Zorbas, or “that really famous Greek song”…whatever you call it, people will know what you’re talking about) is a classic, and is such a staple that I choose to talk about it before introducing any lesser known Greek music to Ride the Tempo. Sorry, world music buffs – you’ll just have to wait.

Zorba the Greek- Mikis Theodorakis
This song was composed by Mikis Theodorakis for the 1964 film, Zorba the Greek. It’s an instrumental piece that draws on the work of Giorgis Koutsourelis, especially his song “Armenohorianos Syrtos,” which can be found here:


“Horos tou Zorba/Zorba’s Dance” starts off with a simple, slow and catchy melody on the bouzouki that gets faster and faster, and finally culminates in something completely different played at a dizzying speed. Listening to it brings back fond memories of dancing the sirtaki – or at least attempting to – in what started out as a circle and ended up as a tangled mess. Nevertheless always a good time. Just ask Zorba!


  • Zorba’s dance is absolutely epic! And it is actually an amazing thing since “sirtaki” is not a real folk dance – it was choreographed for the movie! Of course it is influenced by various Greek folk dances but basically it was invented for movie purposes – and it is done in a totally brilliant way. Enough said that the dance itself found a way to develop. An amazing example of how different forms of art influence each other. Sirtaki remains one of my favorites! :-D