Zorba 2001

[Full notes] [Summary notes] [Other dances & the source code]

Alternative Names 'Zorba' is the name given to the dance.
'זורבה' is it in Hebrew transcription.
'Zorba 2001' was how it was called at the time I learnt it in order to distinguish it from the many other dances named after 'Zorba'.
'Zorba Disco' is how it is called in the IsraeliDances.com database.
Formation Line dance.
Dance Structure ((A1 + A2) + (B x 2) + C + D ) x 3.
Music Structure 4 counts/bar, 4 bar phrases. Amusingly different introduction.
Music Speed 180 counts/min.
Choreographer Kobi Michaeli.
Music A version of Zorba's Dance so remixed into clubbing music that almost none of the original remains.
Source Alberto Zirlinger, Gadi Biton & Roberto Haddon at Machol Europa 2001.

Disclaimer: Mistakes are quite likely in the notes and no guarantees are made as to accuracy. There may be other versions of the same dance or other dances with the same name. Music may differ, particularly in speed, introduction and duration, between performers. The division into parts, bars & counts might not be standard. These notes of the dance are freely distributable (under GPL or CC-by-sa) in so much as the note's author's contribution but the choreography and/or collection were by other people and so their copyright might apply to the dance itself. Better than using notes, go to a dance class where it is taught.

An Israeli line dance which can be put in as novelty for two reasons. It's very different in style and music from the traditional Balkan & Israeli circle dances and it's introductory music is Zorba the Greek which makes people who have not done it before expect a gentle folk dance very different than the pounding night clubbing music & contemporary dance which rapidly follows. I don't know if was deliberately made as a joke but it certainly works as one on unsuspecting folk dancers. Even if it does not work as a joke, it is quite a fun dance anyway.

These notes are from a mixture of 3 sources. I did this dance in the evening untaught dancing sessions of the Machol by following those who knew it. It was Alberto Zirlinger who lead most of the line dances. It was officially taught at the Machol by Gadi Biton but I missed the line dancing class because it coincided with another class I wanted. I relearnt it later on, to teach as a novelty, by combining the distinctive figures and styling as I remembered them from Machol Europa with the sequence from Roberto's notes which were based on Kobi's original teaching. Hence this version of this dance I have is a mixture of Kobi's steps as reported by Roberto done with a mixture of Gadi's contemporary MTV clubbing style and Alberto's Latin American style and passed through my memory so don't rely on it being accurately authentic!

Style: Fast, aerobic & macho. Very outgoing with big dramatic strong looking gestures but not high bouncing. All dancers face the same way anywhere in the room with the instructors at the front (it could also benefit from someone who knows what they are doing at the bottom so dances have someone to follow in part A2).


It starts with 4 bars of almost the standard Zorba's dance tune then 2 bars of transition before the real tune starts. Start dancing at the start of the real tune.

Part A1

Summary: Run forwards 4 steps punching the air, 4 swaying steps in place, step-hop x 2 back, turn 180 deg cw.

Start Facing up. No hold, hands as fists down by sides.
Feet Run forwards 4 steps (R, L, R, L). The style is to look strong rather than to cover a lot of distance, is rather flat footed with feet landing firmly and with a slight forwards body lean.
Hands Punch the air forwards with R hand on each of the four steps. The R hand is infront of and above ones forehead by about 1/4 metre with palm down and punching is done by straightening the elbow fast (so it is a table thumping style side of hand punch rather than a boxing knuckles punch).
2 Four swaying steps in place (R, L, R, L) with the feet side by side about shoulder width apart with arms down and slightly out from the sides (like a V-hold position but as fists not holding). The steps are done with a slight spring but bent kneed & flat footed so effect is solidly grounded not aerial. The swaying is mainly a firm Latin American sideways motion of the hips not the whole body.
3 Two step hops backwards (R back, R hop, L back, L hop). The steps are heavy plodding and the hops have the emphasis on a short low strong forward down push of the raised foot.
4 Turn 180 cw to face down in four firm plodding steps similar to those used in sways of bar 1.

Part A2

Summary: A1 facing down.

Identical to part A1 except that it starts facing the opposite way (so one runs down instead of up the hall punching the air) and ends up facing up again.

Part B

Summary: Kneel with dramatic forearm gesture, reverse to standing. Turn 360 deg acw.

Start Facing up. No hold, hands as fists down by sides.
Feet Lunge R forwards into almost a kneeling pose (with R foot well ahead of L foot, R lower leg vertical, R upper leg almost horizontal & L leg trailing behind). Upper body leans a bit forwards to project shoulder even further forwards.
Arms Dramatically and strongly sweep arms up infront bending elbows and rotating arms from the shoulders that the forearms get to horizontal just of the infront the chest at shoulder height directed across the chest close together (L forearm points R and vice versa) with R forearm slightly infront of L and palms towards the chest. Continue the shoulder arm rotating motion so that the middles of the forearms remain at the same height but the fists pivot up and out whilst elbows pivot down and in so the arms uncross dramatically. Stop firmly when the forearms are parallel vertical pointing up. (This looks like some sort of defensive martial arts manoeuvre!)
2 Return weight to L foot.
Feet Stand up again closing R to L.
Arms Reverse the motion of count 1 returning hands to down by sides.
4 Return weight to L foot.
2 Turn 360 deg cw in 4 steps (R, L, R, L). The style is much like Part A1 bar 4 but, turning twice as far, it becomes a bit like a pivot on the L foot.

Part C

Summary: (R across infront waving R & L to the side waving L) x 4.

Start Facing up. No hold, hands open flat & arms up in high V-shape.
Feet Step R onto heel cross infront of L. As a light relief from the marching feel of Parts A & B, the style of this light, happy & upright.
Hands Sway R.
Feet Step L to the side. Ornament it with a pivot of the R foot to the R on its heel.
Hands Sway L.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 (crossing sidestep L with arm sways).
2 Repeat bar 1 (2 crossing sidesteps L with arm sways).

Part D

Summary: Solo circle cw in 2 triple steps & 4 running steps.

Start Facing up. No hold, hands down by sides.
1 & 2 Triple step (R, L, R) forwards travelling a quarter of the way around a circular path.
3 & 4 Triple step (L, R, L) continuing another a quarter of the way around the circular path.
2 Finish going round the circular path in 4 running steps (R, L, R, L) ending facing up.


The rhythm of the last bar is slightly different and one can alter the last three running steps to a triple step and a single running step if one wants (or not bother if it does not come naturally).

The original ending was subdued with arms by the sides but it fits the style to do some dramatic gesture on the last count of the dance instead and hold it after the music ends. For example end with arms up wide or in a repeat of the dramatic pose from Part B, maybe with the leader spinning to face the others.

Circle Dance Adaptation

To save having either someone else who knows it at the other end of the hall for dancers to follow in Part A2 or spending the extra time teaching so that everyone present can do Part A2 from memory, I have done it as a circle dance instead of a line dance. Hardly any modifications are needed. Besides the dancers standing a circle facing in of course, it just the turn at the end of Part A1 & Part A2 increased to 360 deg so that the two parts (which then become identical) are done facing the same direction (towards the centre of the circle) and to only take small running steps in so that the step-hops take one back to the starting point.