Fifteen-year-old Nikolaos (Nikos) Vasilas is on a social media mission to showcase his passion for zeibekiko dancing, with his ultimate goal being to raise awareness of it as widely as possible across all of Australia.

Nikos, who is currently a Year 10 student at Marist College Kogarah in Sydney, is a keen Greek dancer who just last year started a social media page called ‘My Zeibekiko Journey’ wherein he posts videos of himself performing zeibekiko dances in public.

The youngster has so far recorded himself at many notable spots, including in front of Sydney’s largest Christmas tree in Martin Place last Christmas, at Lady Macquarie’s Chair (with the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge behind him) on Australia Day, and in Marrickville’s “Little Greece” on Greek Independence Day.

Niko Vasilas dancing in front of the Christmas tree at Martin Place last Christmas. Photo: Supplied

He mentioned that a particular highlight for him was performing a zeibekiko at this year’s Greek Fest in Sydney alongside singer Melina Aslanidou, which he stated was a “great honour”.

The 15-year-old explained that ‘My Zeibeiko Journey’ was born out of a desire to express his love for this form of dancing and chronicle his own personal development and understanding of it.

“I just want to express my passion for the zeibekiko. I know that I am only 15 years old and I have a lot to learn about zeibekiko and I have to improve too,” Nikos told Neos Kosmos.

“As a journey, I also do not know where this is going to take me and this is all part of the challenge and fun.”

The high school student added that another key motivation for him is spreading knowledge of the zeibekiko to other communities.

Niko Vasilas dancing onstage during Melina Aslanidou’s performance at Greek Fest in Darling Harbour 2024. Photo: Supplied

“It is one thing to dance a zeibekiko at a Greek social dance or at a Greek party, but I want to dance it so Australians see it- I want it out there, in the Australian community. So, it is also an Australian story too,” he said.

The youngster, who does lessons for the Sophia Ventouris School of Greek Dance, elaborated on how his love for zeibekiko grew particularly last year after participating in the 1st Zeibekiko Festival Australia.

“International dancer Christos Shakallis, who is such a skilful and experienced dancer, pointed out ‘zeibekiko comes from heart’…this gave me the confidence to dance zeibekiko the way I feel,” Nikos said.

“Personally, posting my zeibekika online is rewarding because I can see how I am growing as a dancer and also indicates that I have to keep improving too.”

The young dancer stressed that inspiration for videos comes randomly to him, with some of them coming while on holiday with his family.

Portrait of Niko Vasilas with the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge behind him. Photo: Supplied

“My family and I were holidaying in Cairns, so I did three dances- Cairns, Green Island and Kurundra,” he said, adding that he caught the attention of a group of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians during these recordings.

“At the end, we had a chat where they asked me about the zeibekiko. This is the most satisfying part of “My Zeibekiko Journey”- meeting people and getting them talking about it.”

The 15-year-old stated that part of his decision to post his videos on multiple platforms is so it can cater to any person from every generation, with Facebook more popular accessible for middle-aged people and TikTok more popular for kids/teenagers.

“Ultimately, for me, it is not about how many views I get and how many followers I have. It is about improving my zeibekiko dancing and showing this great Greek dance to the world. Taking Greek culture into the wider world is more important,” Nikos said.

Niko Vasilas dancing on a roundabout in Earlwood. Photo: Supplied

The youngster is certainly on the right path in achieving this goal as he now gets invitations to dance at certain locations.

“Last week, I was asked to dance at Barangaroo, which was a great experience, and people are messaging me to dance with them. Next month, I have been asked to dance at a fundraiser,” he said.

“When I had finished my dance at Barangaroo, these nearby Iraqi barbers loved my dancing so much that they invited me into their barber shop to dance. They asked me about the zeibekiko, which I then explained, and I loved this experience because the zeibekiko was taken into another culture.”

Nikos expressed his sincere appreciation with the support he has received so far, even though he is simply showcasing a part of himself that is very dear to him.

“People have stated how inspiring my dancing is, among other compliments, which is very humbling,” the young dancer said.

“From my perspective, I am just a 15-year-old teenager who loves his Greek culture and is enjoying himself through dance.”