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Zeibekiko (Greek: ζεϊμπέκικο) is a Greek improvisational solo dance. Its name comes from the Zeibek people of Asia Minor. The term can also describe the music which accompanies the zeibekiko dance, played in a 9/8 rhythm. This rhythm is common in Turkish music and is called zeybeği.

The zeibekiko is a personal dance. Only one man at a time may dance it. If another got up, it would be a cause for conflict and possible violence, in the past. Nowadays, men either wait till the dancing man stops and then they start dancing, or they stand up so the dancer gives them his place. Women were traditionally not allowed to dance the zeibekiko unless they were prostitutes. In modern times women (especially tough and strong ones) may dance the zeibekiko. The dancer is surrounded by other people, who crouch on their knees while clapping for him.

Throwing plates at the dancer's feet rarely happens and is not part of the tradition, despite the belief of some foreigners that it is a widespread Greek custom. Throwing flowers or other items that won't injure anyone (for example, plastic plates) for the crowd to find is more common.

The zeibekiko is commonly referred to as the dance of dances, requiring incredible athleticism, balance, and creativity. This creativity serves to add to the mood of the zeibekiko, one of self-expression and kinship with the traditionally sombre lyrics to which the dance is performed. Hence in the old days, applause was not sought nor commonly given, out of respect. This did not, however, lessen creativity, with dancers performing feats such as standing on a glass of wine or a chair, or picking up a table, adding a sense of braggadocio and humour.

See also

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