Thursday, August 21, 2008

Zorba the Greek Sirtaki

Greetings everyone,

For those of you not familiar with exactly where we are located, we live on the island of Crete. The largest "city" near us is Chania, which is about 20 minutes away. Our town or village is called Stavros. Stavros is somewhat famous for the movie Zorba the Greek. You may have heard of it... if not....

According to Wikipedia....

Zorba the Greek is a 1964 film based on the novel Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis. The title character was played by Anthony Quinn. The dance theme, "Sirtaki" has become famous and popular as a song and as a dance (especially at parties). The movie won 3 Academy Awards.

The movie was shot on location on the Greek island of Crete. Specific places featured include the town of Chania. The famous scene, in which Quinn's character dances the Sirtaki, was shot on the beach of the village of Stavros.

When we moved to Stavros (back in January) I became interested in this Zorba the Greek frenzy. I had no clue (1964 was before my time) the Greek dance, Sirtaki, even had a name much less came from some movie filmed in Crete. I knew the dance. I knew it was entertaining when played at weddings and parties. I never imagined I would live in the village it originated.

In my interest of the movie and the dance I found something very intriguing....

Anthony Quinn memoir One Man Tango...

.... related an amusing story about Zorba the Greek's most famous image - the ending, in which Zorba teaches Basil a little dance on a beach. The scene was set for the last day of shooting. The day before, however, Quinn broke his foot. When filming resumed after several days, the foot had been wrapped in tape, which could be removed for the shots, but Quinn could not jump or hop around as the scene required. Cacoyannis was worried, but Quinn reassured him.

"And I danced. I could not lift my foot and set it down - the pain was unendurable - but I found that I could drag it along without too much discomfort, so I invented a dance with an unusual sliding-dragging step. I held out my arms, in a traditional Greek stance, and shuffled along the sands. Soon, Alan Bates picked up on the move, and the two of us were lifted by the music and the sea, taken arm in arm to a spiritual place, out of the ordinary and far away. We were born-again Greeks, joyously celebrating life. We had no idea what we were doing, but it felt right, and good."

Afterwards, Cacoyannis asked him what that dance was called. Quinn replied, "It's a Sirtaki. It's traditional. One of the villagers taught it to me."

He drew the name from thin air.

The excerpt from One Man Tango is similar to our Christian walk. We are in this dance ... a tango we call "life". Trying to mimic the fluid movements of a dance. Yet, we are injured and broken. Brokenhearted. We tape ourselves up as best as possible to relieve the discomfort. We try to hold out our arms in a way tradition has taught us, shuffling along and pretending everything is okay. Everything is within our control. When in reality everything is within His control.

However strong we think we might be... however tough we feel.... there is pain still on the inside. So we drag our feet ....trying to avoid the tenderness felt from the pain revisited. The discomfort causing us to create a new dance. A shuffle. A throbbing shuffle ... when we could be dancing a pirouette. We miss the blessings of dancing with and for Him. The one man tango is inpossible.....It takes 2 to tango. You and Him.

Pirouetting with the help of the Great Physician. The One with the ability to heal the outside and the inside. Mend the brokenness.

When dancing through life, arm in arm with the Father, into a joyous place is really what we desire. A spiritual place. Place where He calls us to be. Brokenhearted and needing Him. Fully relying on His Greatness and Mercy. Awaiting the anointed power of the anointed One. The best medicine available. Not something made up or drawn from thin air.

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he hath anointed me

to preach the gospel to the poor;

he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,

to preach deliverance to the captives,

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty them that are bruised,"

Luke 4:18 (KJV)

He is waiting for us to say to Him, "Lord, teach me to dance."

Let Him teach you to "dance" tonight! Let Him teach you to live free from the brokenness. Live free from the pain. Live victoriously arm in arm with Him.

"You turned my wailing into dancing;"

Psalm 30:11 (NIV)

Blessings to those broken yet want to dance,

Zobras Cave at Stavros Beach 2008

Zorbas Cave

Stavros Beach


Bob (Bobby) said...

Hi Y'all. My name is Bob Armistead. I was stationed on the island of Crete as a young man in the U.S. Air Force at Iraklion Air Station, which was located about 15 kilometers east of Iraklion (Heraklion). I was there from Dec. 1968 through Aug. 1971. It was the best 2 years, 8 months of my life! Last year I returned to Crete for a three month visit during the months of May, June and July. Before leaving for Crete last year I created a blog to chronicle my return to Crete for those airmen with whom I had served on Crete. I took my laptop computer with me so that I could make updates directly from Crete. If you would like to visit my blog, the address is as follows: This year I am planning to return to Crete for another three month visit to Crete during the months of August, September and October. It is my intent to update my blog directly from Crete again this year.

Have you ever read the book, ZORBA THE GREEK, by Nikos Kazantzakis? I have read it twice, and each time I discover something entirely new about the novel. I have purchased three hardcover copies of ZORBA THE GREEK. I also have two copies in DVD of Zorba the Greek, and another two copies in VHS. By the way, when I return to Crete in August, I want to learn how to dance Zorba's dance! Wish me luck.

Your Friend,

Bobby Armistead

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Bob (Bobby) said...

Hello...again. I had almost forgot that I had posted a comment here back in 2009. Well, I returned to Crete again in 2010 and now I will again visit Crete during the coming months of July, August and September 2011. I will stay in the village of Amoudara once again. I have maintained a blog which has documented my visits and adventures on Crete. My blog's web address is as follows:

Please visit my blog and let me know how you like it.

Your Friend,

Bobby Armistead


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