Second year, same spirit: Zeibekiko Festival Australia returns by popular demand


The second Zeibekiko Festival Australia will return with a bang from September 27 this year thanks to Ventouris Productions.

The festival will run from Friday, September 27 to Sunday, October 6. It will feature Greek master of Zeibekiko dance, Christos Shakallis, all the way from Cyprus, and well-respected Yiannis Pagkozidis, who will be teaching traditional forms of Zeibekiko, Aptalikous and Karsilamades dances. Mr Pagkozidis is also a specialist in Cappodician song and dance.

The objective of the Zeibekiko Festival Australia is to explore the history of the Zeibekiko family of dances and their direct connection to Asia Minor culture and history – including the Asia Minor Catastrophe. It aims to help people understand the true origins of Zeibekiko, to learn about the group of traditional Zeibekiko dances that exist, to study their evolution, and to celebrate Zeibekiko in its current form.

Sophia Ventouris, the curator of the Zeibekiko Festival Australia, told The Greek Herald that she feels “Zeibekiko dance carries the history of the Asia Minor Catastrophe” and hopes the festival will enlighten and be enjoyed by the wider community. 

What to expect from the 2nd Zeibekiko Festival Australia

International guest and Greek master of Zeibekiko dance, Christos Shakallis, will be attending the festival all the way from Cyprus. Mr Shakallis was part of the 1st Zeibekiko Festival Australia and taught hundreds of young and older people in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. 

zeibekiko festival australia launch night (210) FEATURE1
Christos Shakallis performing a Zeibekiko at last year’s Zeibekiko Festival Australia. Photo copyright The Greek Herald / Andriana Simos.

During the festival, Mr Shakallis will hold specialised classes for beginners, but also catering for more advanced levels. He will teach women-only and men-only classes, as well as classes for children and dance groups. A Cypriot dance workshop is guaranteed as Shakallis runs one of the most successful dance schools in Cyprus.

From Greece, the well-respected Yiannis Pagkozidis will honour the Zeibekiko dance in its traditional form at the festival. Mr Pagkozidis specialises in traditional Asia Minor dances, especially from Cappadocia, and including all forms of traditional Karsilamades, Aptalikous, traditional Zeibekiko dances and Pontian dances. He is of Pontian heritage and a musician that has played alongside many well-known performers including Ross Daly and Chronis Aidonidis.

Yiannis Pagkozidis
Yiannis Pagkozidis has performed with many well-known and talented musicians.

While Mr Pagkozidis is in Sydney, he will also give a special workshop dedicated to learning Greek dances from Cappadocia and Pontus.

Besides all of these dance workshops to look forward to, the Zeibekiko Festival Australia will involve musical nights with local talents and dance groups. Ms Ventouris is calling on local talents (young or old, an artist, musician, writer, dancer or even a photographer) to reach out if they are interested in taking part in the festival.

There will be a formal Gala Opening of the 2nd Zeibekiko Festival Australia on Saturday, September 28 at the Mytilenian House in Canterbury, Sydney. Titled ‘ΕΝΝΕΑ ΟΓΔΟΑ 9/8‘ (the time signature for Zeibekiko dance), the massive function will feature live music and a show by Shakallis and Pagkozidis, as well as local bands and dance groups showcasing traditional and modern forms of Zeibekiko, Aptaliko and Karsilama dances.

The Zeibekiko Festival Australia will also go to Melbourne and Adelaide this year. Dates, times of events and ticket sales will all available via Try Booking or the Zeibekiko Festival Australia website from July 1st 2024.

If you wish to be a sponsor of this event, or contribute as a performer, business partner or volunteer please call Sophia Ventouris on 0413 114 930. The Greek Herald are proud media partners for this event.

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