First-ever Zeibekiko Festival coming to Australia this weekend


The first-ever Zeibekiko Festival is coming to Australia this weekend thanks to Ventouris Productions.

The festival will run from July 1 to July 10 and will feature international guest, Greek master of Zeibekiko dance, Christos Shakallis, all the way from Cyprus.

The Zeibekiko dance was brought by refugees from Asia Minor to Greece in 1922 during the Asia Minor Catastrophe. A whole generation that was traumatised, mourning the loss of family, homes and their wealth, found refuge by singing their sorrows away and dancing Zeibekiko and other dances.

Since then, the Zeibekiko has evolved and has come to mean different things for different people. Some see it as a solo dance to express ones sorrow, others see it as a way to celebrate a wedding at the end of the night.

Sophia Ventouris, the woman behind Zeibekiko Festival Australia, told The Greek Herald that all forms of Zeibekiko will be explored at the festival “with all its participants, teachers and groups involved.”

“I wish to open a platform for all dance groups to celebrate not only Zeibekiko, but all forms of Greek dance by facilitating dance teachers from Greece and giving groups the opportunity to present their work for all the community to enjoy,” Sophia said.

“This year is our first festival so we are running at a smaller scale with one international dance teacher. I am extremely excited and look forward to meeting and working in person with Christos Shakallis.

“A series of workshops and functions, a Zeibekiko dance competition and more are in the works for all the community to enjoy. It is open to all young and young at heart!”

If you would like to get involved or sponsor the first-ever Zeibekiko Festival, please email Ms Ventouris: The Greek Herald are proud media partners for this event.

To book tickets to the Zeibekiko Festival and its workshops, visit this link:

Program of Events:

  • Saturday, July 1: Meet & Greet with Shakallis.

Kouzina Catering is preparing a dinner feast with delicious mezethes. Shakallis will Meet & Greet and sign his autograph on photos. The best part of the night will be that he will be performing not only Zeibekika but Cypriot dances to honour his homeland and his parents’ Cypriot dance school which started the Shakallis dance empire. The night will be enriched by the Cyprus Community Dancers under instruction of Nelly and Harry Klavdiou & Sophia Ventouris School of Greek Dance presenting the ‘Spectacular Zeibekika Aetou Show.’ 

LOCATION: The Panarcadian Ashbury Bowling Club – 55 King St, Ashbury (opposite Canterbury Racecourse).

  • Sunday, July 2: Shakallis will be teaching at the Cyprus Club in Stanmore exclusively for the Cyprus Club students and patrons all day

LOCATION: Cyprus Club, Stanmore.

  • Monday, July 3: Shakallis on tour – filming on location. 
  • Tuesday, July 4: Zeibekiko Competition and Seminar for kids to be announced (major prize & performance opportunity with Shakallis).

LOCATION: The Panarcadian Ashbury Bowling Club – 55 King St, Ashbury (opposite Canterbury Racecourse)

  • Wednesday, July 5: Rembetiko / Zeibekiko seminar and workshop that will turn into a mini taverna night. Seminar will be 6.30pm – 8.30pm and 8.30pm – 10.30pm taverna night. Enjoy the delicious mezethes from Kouzina Catering, dine, wine and chat with Shakallis and friends. Dance more and try out what you learn! 

LOCATION: The Panarcadian Ashbury Bowling Club – 55 King St, Ashbury (opposite Canterbury Racecourse).

  • Thursday, July 6: Traditional Zeibekiko Seminar 7-9pm. Learn more from the Zeibekiko dance family such as Aptaliko, Aidonidiko Zeibekiko, Smyrneiko, Fokiano, Vrakathiko & other Zeibekika danced in Asia Minor and then in the Greek Isles such as Mytilini and others. Dinner will be Politiki Cuisine in line with our seminar – Mikrasiatika Zeibekika, Aptalikoi Xoroi and Karsilamathes.

LOCATION: The Panarcadian Ashbury Bowling Club – 55 King St, Ashbury (opposite Canterbury Racecourse).

  • Friday, July 7: Laiko/ Popoular Zeibekiko seminar workshop, 11am – 2pm (includes light lunch-beverage in break).

LOCATION: Marrickville PCYC – 531 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville (upstairs Studio 1).

Saturday, July 8: Laiko/ Popular Zeibekiko seminar workshop from 11am – 2pm (includes light lunch-beverage in break)

LOCATION: Marrickville PCYC – 531 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville (upstairs Studio 1).

At night from 7pm to 11.59pm, there will be a spectacular show ‘Zeibekika hits from Greek Cinema.’ The show will feature Shakallis and local dance groups interpreting great Zeibekika cinema classics. It will be a dinner dance with a three-course meal.

LOCATION: Greek Community Club, 206-210 Lakemba St, Lakemba

  • Sunday, July 9: 1.30 – 3.30pm, Men-only Zeibekiko workshop. 4 – 6pm, Women-only Zeibekiko workshop.

LOCATION: Marrickville PCYC – 531 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville (upstairs Studio 1).

  • Monday, July 10: To be announced.




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