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Greek Military Band Dazzles Spectators at Moscow’s Red Square

Greek Military band Red Square Moscow
The Greek contingent parades in Moscow’s Red Square. Credit: Embassy of Russia in Greece

A Greek military band accompanied by dancers dazzled the spectators of the XIV International Military Music Festival which took place in Moscow’s Red Square last week.

The band called “Theseus” performed together with the Historical Parade Platoon of the General Staff Academy at the Spasskaya Tower Festival.

The Historical Platoon was formed just this year to participate in the annual Greek Independence Day parade and to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the start of the Greek Revolution.

The platoon is called a historical platoon, since servicemen appear in full dress from different eras. The Greeks paraded wearing six different uniforms, the oldest of which was from 1828-1834, during the reign of the first governor of Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias.

Greece military band
Greek soldiers parade in Moscow wearing uniforms from different epochs. Credit: Embassy of Russia in Greece

The performance was accompanied by the music of famous Greek composers. The program started with members of the Platoon depicting the movement of runners in slow motion.

“With this choreographic composition, we wanted to reflect the idea of ​​the Olympics,” said senior lieutenant Karandinos Georgis, platoon commander. “It is performed to the music from the British film Chariots of Fire, composed by Greek composer Vangelis Papathanassiou.”

Military band and dancer’s perform syrtaki

The slow tempo gave way to sirtaki dance. Immortalized  as “Zorba’s Dance” from the Oscar-winning film “Zorba the Greek,” the dance is associated with Greece.

The syrtaki is not a tradition that comes from our Greek history but rather, one of Hollywood. It is a dance that was specifically created for the needs of a movie. Well, not any movie, but “Zorba the Greek,“ based on the emblematic book by Nikos Kazantzakis, “Zorbas,” released in 1964.

And the composer is none other but Theodorakis, the most prominent Greek musician of all time. What Theodorakis did was take the alternating slow and fast steps of the hassaposerviko dance, and compose the music to Zorba the Greek.

The most important aspect of the syrtaki music and dance is the rhythm acceleration. The name syrtaki comes from the word syrtos, a common name for a group of traditional Greek dances. The word derives from the verb σύρω (syro), meaning drag, as I drag my fellow dancers.

Greek Military band Red Square Moscow
Dancing the syrtaki in Red Square. Credit: Embassy of Russia in Greece

The dancers dance in lines or in a circle, with each dancer holding the shoulder of the person beside him. The measure is 4/4, rising gradually and reaching 2/4 in the fastest part of the dance. The dance starts with slow, smooth moves that gradually become faster, more lively, often including small leaps.

At the same time, military personnel in historical uniforms depict combat scenes, freezing in spectacular poses. The Greeks left the stage at Red Square under the patriotic and military anthem “Famous Macedonia.”

The Russian organizers of the festival reminded the audience that Russia helped the Greek cause of liberation from the Ottoman Empire and its independence.

The Greek military band enters Red Square at around 12′ in the video below:

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