ZAKYNTHIAN TRADITIONAL DANCE GROUP

“FIORO TOU LEVANTE”

The dance group “Fioro tou Levante”  (=Flower of the East” was founded in Zakynthos in 1964 with the initiative of physical education professor Angelos Visvardis. His fundamental objective was to record the traditional dances of Zakynthos and to pass them down to the younger generations.

With systematic research, long forgotten dances of our cultural tradition have been preserved.  Among these being  1) “Amiri” a pantomime dance danced in the mountain village Agios Leontas, mainly during the period of the carnival. 2) “Giargittos” the ancient dance which only very few of the elderly Zakynthians could recollect and fortunately were able to describe.

The group presented folk dances and songs from Zakynthos, for the first time, danced and sung by original local folk dancers and instrumentalists, in the “First Medieval and Popular Theatre Meeting” which took place on the island in 1965.

 A major event was the participation of the group in the “Festival of the Arts and Letters” held in Lefkada in 1967 where the age-old dance  “Giargittos” or “the Dance of Theseus” was presented with lead dancer the founder of the group Angelos Visvardis.

In the years that followed the group developed rich artistic activity.

  • Traditional dance lessons were organized in schools and villages of Zakynthos.
  • Dances and songs were presented at various cultural events in Greece.
  •  Contact was made with cultural associations of emigrant Greeks and the group participated in events on their behalf in the USA and Canada.
  •  The group participated in many festivals abroad (France- Spain-Romania- Hungary etc) enabling them to exchange cultural experiences with people from other nations (folk dance being the common language of communication).

Presently the group continues, with its previous unlimited passion, its work, not only on the traditional dances and songs of Zakynthos and the Ionian Islands, but on those of Greece in general.

It organizes dance courses for primary and secondary school pupils and adults of all ages. It participates in cultural events both in Greece and abroad.

The members with their only motive being their love for tradition will continue the work on the research and preservation of traditional morals and customs their main objective being to hand what they know down to the younger generation.