LET others enthuse at the enduring appeal of Zorba's uninhibited dance in the bestselling novel by Nikos Kazantzakis and the classic movie starring Anthony Quinn.
Veteran dance teacher Alkis Manasis is not so impressed. ''It's great for marketing reasons,'' he says, ''but Greek dancing is far deeper.''
Instead, he shares with instructor son Deon, who has succeeded him as director of a family dance school, a fascination with an Irish dance phenomenon.
''I compare it to Riverdance,'' 28-year-old Deon says of the international success of the show based on traditional Irish dance. ''That's our task.''
''It always has been'', says Alkis, echoing the ambition. He learned to dance in a small Greek village before migrating here more than 40 years ago.
The 52-year-old founded Manasis School of Greek Dance and Culture, which will have a troupe among 17 acts from various national backgrounds at a festival at Princes Pier next weekend.
As a boy, Alkis knew exactly when to dance to songs on radio in the village of Myrini in Greece's Thessaly region, where gas lanterns lit mudbrick houses and people slept on woven rugs on the floor. His father, Dimosthenis, a renderer, would whistle to let him know. ''I would just get up and dance; as simple as that.''
Dance continued to inspire him long after his family came to Melbourne, which has one of the world's largest Greek communities, when he was just 11. ''Dancing was always part of our lives,'' Alkis says.
Multicultural Arts Victoria is hosting music, dance, markets, exhibitions and other events to celebrate cultural diversity and migration through Port Melbourne's historic Princes and Station piers, where an average 61,000 migrants a year once stepped ashore.
Alkis' wife, Sylvia, sewed hundreds of traditional costumes for the dancers after Alkis started teaching in the late 1970s. They instilled a commitment to dance in Deon and his sister, Penny.
''It was not an option with my son and daughter to dance,'' says Alkis, who arrived at Station Pier with his parents and elder brother, Tom, on the Chandris line ship Patris on the Queen's Birthday, June 1971.
Deon will lead a senior class at Sunday's second annual Piers Festival.Named Dimosthenis for his grandfather and nick-named Deon, the younger Manasis was married late last year and is confident his children will someday continue the dance dynasty.
''There are hundreds of Greek dances from every region in Greece,'' says Deon, who teaches dance at a local high school and co-ordinates classes for 480 students aged three to their 70s in Doncaster, Oakleigh and Preston.
He has twice visited relatives in the family's village where he says the clarinet is the favoured musical instrument for accompaniment and the dance ''quite slow''.
Dancers from the family's school took part in last year's inaugural festival and will this weekend perform a medley of dances from Thrace and Macedonia.
''There are probably three key factors in our culture as far as I can see,'' Deon says, ''the language, the dancing and probably the religion.''
Deon has seen photographs of himself as a toddler. ''I think I was born dancing,'' he says. In part, it is a way of fulfilling a familial obligation to his grandparents, Dimosthenis and Fotini, who, he says, ''could not contain herself'' when she first encountered linoleum floors, couches and electric lighting.
''They came with nothing except what was in their minds; the vision that they had of the Greece they left. And we put that into something that they can look at.''
Alkis reminds his son of bigger ambitions. ''That's on a social level,'' he says. ''We took it 10 steps further. That's what I started to do. We are talking about representing Greek dance on stage worldwide. It's not a little gathering or something.''
The Piers Festival is on at Princes Pier from 2pm to 9.30pm on Sunday, January 27.
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