Most of the well-known modern Greek dances were implemented in Greek culture not long ago, such as the Hasapikos, Zeybekikos, Hasaposervikos, Karsilamas and Sirtaki. Although these dance styles differ from each other, they add a different flavour to what most consider to be Greek Dancing. These dance styles can be slow, fast or multispeed, and can be danced both solo or in a group, wether on the Line of Dance or Static.
Back in the byzantine era, this dance evolved among the bouchers and slaughterers in the districts of Constantinople (known as Istanbul nowadays).
Today Hasapikos is danced with dancers holding arm-to-arm, by three or more men and/or women. Routines and steps require synchronization, dicipline and high accuracy. Dancers are holding each other to stay aligned and give the impression of unision.
Although the Hasapikos is not a difficult dance style; it is very demanding. Each routine has its own rhythm-count and it does not move in a circle (Line of Dance) such as Hasaposervikos and other dances. Instead, the dancers move back and forth, towards the right or left side of the dance floor; and sometimes diagonally - but mainly facing the crowd.
Today's choreographies are completelly different from the past as they are influenced by the old Greek cinema leading to spectacular results. The actors starring in the movies dance alone and with professional dancers. The dancing in the movies was set in taverns, night clubs or dancing on the street (according to the plot of the movie).
It is necessary that all dancers know the same choroe as this dance style has many routines.
Presumably of Thracian origins, the Zeybekikos took its name from Zeybeks, meaning rebels, soldiers and gendarmes excluded from the army of Minor Asia; Anatolia area that descended from Thrace before it was islamised.
Zeybekikos arrived in Greece by the Greek repatriates after the Greco-Turkish war (1918-1922).
It's a dance that is heavy and masculine and was once a demonstration of combative-fighting expression among two males and then became a solo dance.
Nowadays, it is the most popular male dance with a variety of tricky movements and very expressive technique, and looks like a drunk mans dance.
The whole idea surrounding Zeybekikos is the expression of internal intensity-fire resulted by loss, defeat, dispair, separation, and destoyed dreams that never came true, including many other incidents endured in the daily life of the dancer.
With such a dramatic wrapping Zeybekikos is the vision of life for men, and a masculine way of "mourning" for any difficulty that happens in one's life journey.
The Sirtaki, which is also known as the Zorba, is a dance based on Hasapikos with a gradually increasing tempo.
Created by the globally known icon of modern Greek music, Mikis Theodorakis and presented in the film "Zorba the Greek" (1964), Sirtaki is the most represented dance of Greece.
It has a different taste from Hasapikos as it's more fluffy and delicate, mainly caused by the music's shifty tempo leading to a multi-speed kinesiology.
As in the Hasapikos, dancers should act as one and take note of all the other common characteristics...but because of the speed variation in Sirtaki, it is more demanding.
Hasaposervikos is the Serbian variation of Hasapikos.
Unlike the Hasapikos; Hasaposervikos is danced by light and bouncy steps, which is common in most Serbian dances.
It is a circular dance and requires a clear Line of Dance. It goes without saying that at times Hasaposervikos can be danced like Hasapikos or Sirtaki differing from the flat-fast speed during the entire duration.
The kinesiology can include the same features as the Hasapikos and Sirtaki, however the main basic movement pattern has only six steps and thus has all the few variant movements which are always danced by the leading dancer.
The Greek form of Karsilamas has only four bouncy and smooth steps at the same time and recruits characteristics similar to Hasapikos.
The Karsilamas can be performed by one group dancing who is facing the crowd or in a circular motion (Line of Dance). However, it can also be danced face-to-face when danced by two groups.
Altough the same time signature is used in this dance as the Zeybekikos, the different metric subdivision makes it much different.
Nowadays, Karsilamas is not that popular but it has its own position in the modern Greek dance era.