Zorba the Greek
The Greek novelist and poet Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) published his novel Zorba the Greek in 1946. It tells the story of a young Greek urban intellectual whose life takes a new turn when he meets the earthy Alexis Zorba. The character of Zorba was based on a real person, Giorgis Zorbas, a Macedonian Greek miner who was a friend of Kazantzakis in his younger years. The novel was translated into English in 1952 and in 1964, Twentieth Century-Fox made it into a motion picture starring Anthony Quinn (born in Mexico of mixed Mexican and Irish heritage). At the end of the movie, the young man, here turned into a half-Greek Englishman, says to Zorba, "Teach me to dance." After Zorba's reply "Dance! Did you say dance?", begins one of the most famous pieces of Greek music, "Zorba's Dance", by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. The dance they do is the syrtaki, a combination of the slow waterfront taverna dance "Varys Hasapikos" and the older, faster "Hasapikos", the Butcher's Dance.