JOIN THE DANCING CIRCLE OF THE COMMUNITY
 Traditions - Authenticity - Spirituality
Cultural dance trip in Greece

Epirus villages, July 18th to 28th, 2022
Ioannina - Zagorohoria - Aetopetra
With Nikos Zekis & Simona Jovic

11-day immersion in the heart of a traditional Greek community!


Join us on an unforgettable cultural and spiritual dance trip in the villages of Epirus (Northern Greece), under the guidance of Nikos Zekis, a dancer and dance teacher who originates from the small village of Aetopetra. The trip is a unique way to immerse yourself in Greek culture and become part of a local community. 

You will travel around small non-touristic villages to attend local traditional music and dance celebrations, meet people, participate in deeply emotional tiruals, and discover the spirituality and customs of the proud and incredibly warm and welcoming people of Epirus.

You will integrate communities that use dance, singing, music, and rituals to celebrate, express, pray, mourn, heal wounds, and transcend. You'll become part of their lives, learn from them, listen to their stories, sing, dance, and celebrate with them all night long, until you feel deeply touched, renewed, and fully alive

In addition to connecting with these powerful traditions, you will share other amazing experiences with your Greek friends: swim in fresh mountain rivers, play games, discover beautiful nature, participate in preparation for celebrations, enjoy local food and wine, share stories, songs, and laughs. This trip will be a very emotional, probably transformative, and definitely unforgettable experience in your life!

Ioannina, Aetopetra, Despotiko, Kipi, Papigo, Metsovo and more...

The trip was designed for a very limited number of participants!

View on the mountains from the village of Aetopetra

What is included?

TRANSFERS

Three options:
1. Individual transfer from/to Ioannina airport
2. Group transfer from Igoumenitsa ferry port (arrivals from Corfu)
3. Individual transfer from Ioannina bus stop (arrivals from Thessaloniki)
For July 18th and 28th only

HOTEL ACCOMMODATION IN IOANNINA (5* hotel)

Two nights on July 18th and 19th
In a beautiful 5* hotel in Ioannina (double occupancy)

WELCOME DINNER IN A TRADITIONAL TAVERN 

In a traditional tavern with live music

GUIDED VISIT OF IOANNINA AND THE ISLAND 

Visit of the old part of Ioannina
Boat ride
Visit of the island on the beautiful Pamvotida lake 

PRIVATE MINIBUS DURING THE ENTIRE TRIP

Private minibus with a driver
Starting July 20th morning 
Driver's salary, meals, and accommodation are included

MOST OF THE MEALS WITH DRINK

Majority of the meals 
1 drink per meal
Not included 5 meals (food nor drinks)

9 NIGHTS ACCOMMODATION IN EPIRUS VILLAGES

Double occupancy
From a luxury hotel to a simple comfortable family guest house, the accommodation will change according to the village and the community we will be visiting

3-NIGHT EMOTIONAL VILLAGE CELEBRATION

3 whole nights celebrations in Aetopetra village
In a healing circle of dance with live musicians 
Subtle trance, joy, tears, and lots of emotions
A powerful once-in-a-lifetime experience

TRADITIONAL-SPIRITUAL MUSIC & DANCE RITUALS

Numerous moving and meaningful rituals passed on from generation to generation for hundreds of years and hidden from touristic eyes.

INTENSIVE GREEK DANCES TRAINING WITH NIKOS ZEKIS

- Special focus on the dances from Epirus that you will be dancing with local people in celebrations and rituals
- Beyond the steps, the "why" of this old dance heritage that people in Epirus consider as medicine
- All levels, men, and women 
- In different places, mainly in the nature

DANCE SESSIONS WITH SIMONA JOVIC

A few dance sessions with Simona Jovic inspired by the ritual and celebration dances from the Balkans (and beyond...)

VLACH CELEBRATION IN THE VILLAGE OF METSOVO

Vlach people sing, dance, and celebrate with live music around the village of Metsovo 
An occasion to discover their traditions and join them in the circle of dance

INVIGORATING RIVER BATHING, HIKING & 
OTHER NATURE-RELATED ACTIVITIES

Invigorating bathing in fresh mountain rivers
Hiking (to get to places not accessible by car and meet local people and dance at the top of the mountain)
OPTIONAL: rafting (not included in the price) 

FREE TIME TO EXCHANGE WITH LOCAL PEOPLE

In the only café/restaurant in the village of Aetopetra
During the preparation for the celebration
Playing games
Or any other shared activities 
Plenty of time to share spontaneous moments with local people

PROFESSIONAL VIDEO FOOTAGE AND PICTURES

A professional photographer and filmmaker will be staying with us during the whole time. 

ALL LOCAL TAXES

Hotel and all the other local taxes are included in the price.

Not included

  • Airfare (plane ticket)
  • Travel, health, and repatriation insurance
  • Entries to museums
  • 5 meals
  • Tips for the musicians (optional)
  • Personal expenses

2017 dance trip group with Nikos Zekis in Aetopetra

TESTIMONIALS

Simona Jovic and Nikos Zekis, by their radiant presence, have the art of opening hearts, arms ... and doors! Beyond a dance trip, it is a path of discovery and appreciation of life. Do not expect anything, be ready for everything, and you will receive a lot.

Pascale Goubert

I can easily say, the one week with you and Nikos on the Greek folk dance tour was the absolute highlight of the year, and maybe many years...

Miriam Gopi Weinstein

A unique experience! Serious organization, lots of pleasure, a whirlwind of new dances, unforgettable encounters, and shared emotions. 

Anne Jouve

An unforgettable trip! Great encounters, lots of joy, dancing, and great memories with great girlfriends and great teachers!

Meriem Hakmi

Thank you for this very special week for me. Thanks to Simona, Nikos, and the Universe for the dream cast of this lovely group full of authenticity and humor. 

Cécile Deslandres

Traveling with Simona and Nikos is a journey of immersion in dance and music. You eat, drink, and dance in taverns until dawn. You become enchanted by the electric atmosphere and experience Greek generosity. Thank you for the wonderful week. I hope there will be many more like this.

Prune Thuillez


I really recommend Simona's Dance Seminars. I have participated in four of these: Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania/Greece, and Montenegro during 2014-2018. The seminars are filled with dancing, but we also discover the culture of each of these countries. I enjoyed every moment and I am looking forward to the next seminar.

Anne Mynnti

A big THANK YOU for your joy and for these moments together. It was out of time and it feels good to be on such an adventure

Nathalie Cauquil

Week rich in EVERYTHING. I really loved everything, this magnificent country, the hotel, each person in the group, the music, the lessons and all your messages between two dance steps ...... ( and the "food" !!!). I am especially deeply touched to have been able to be in contact with a person as radiant as you.

Nadia M.



I first danced with Simona in 2014 in a dance workshop in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was a very nice experience. When she announced a dance retreat in Bahia next year, I was sure I would participate! We danced a lot and had a lot of fun! It was a wonderful mix of vacation, tourism, and dancing!! Then, I attended other cultural and dance retreats in Macedonia/Serbia, Albania/Greece, and Turkey during 2015-2017. On these trips, we dance with local people, learn about their dance, culture, music, food. It is also an opportunity to relax and visit beautiful places. We also have dance classes with local teachers, very well chosen, which makes the whole experience even more interesting and magic! I really recommend Simona´s dance workshops and seminars!

Julieta da Gloria de Souza

Thank you again for this seminar. I really liked your approach and this immersion in body, music, and spirit came at the right moment in my life!

Marie-Odile L.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PRECIOUS TESTIMONIALS. MANY MORE AMAZING EXPERIENCES ARE TO COME. SEE YOU IN EPIRUS IN JULY 2022!

Simona Jovic




Pricing
(Payable in several installments)

2995 €

Book by sending us a 500 € deposit.

YOUR INSTRUCTORS AND ORGANIZERS 

Nikos Zekis

Originating from the village of Aetopetra in Epirus, Nikos Zekis is a professional dancer, dance teacher, choreographer, and artistic director based in Athens. He is also the main organizer of the celebration we will attend. 

Simona Jovic

Simona Jovic is an internationally renowned dance artist and instructor originating from the Balkans. She has been teaching and performing world dances all over the world for the past 20 years and she organized dozens of cultural dance trips, several of them in collaboration with Nikos Zekis.

Simona Jovic organized dozens of cultural dance trips in countries like India, Armenia, Serbia, Greece, North Macedonia, Turkey, Tunisia, Montenegro, Romania, Albania, and several retreats in Bahia (Brazil), Southern France, and the Sahara desert.

Three of these trips were organized in collaboration with Nikos Zekis: In May 2017 in the village of Aetopetra, in October 2017 in Aetopetra and Metsovo (traditional celebration), and in February 2018 in Naoussa (traditional carnival). 

Video excerpts from the Gypsy & Balkan dance tour 2015
Serbia - Northern Macedonia - Transylvania (Romania) 

Frequently Asked Questions

WHO IS THIS TRIP FOR?

For both women and men who are interested in experiencing Epirus culture in its purest, most authentic, and profound form. 

DO I NEED TO HAVE A DANCE EXPERIENCE TO PARTICIPATE?

No. Even though traditional Epirus line dances will be an important part of the trip (as all the rituals, ceremonies, and celebrations include music and dance), the goal of the trip is to offer you a unique experience of the Epirus spirituality and customs. Also, Nikos Zekis will patiently teach every dance before you get the chance to dance it with the community.

HOW DO I SIGN UP?

You first contact us by sending us an email. We will then send you the booking form to fill, as well as the bank account number for the first payment of 500 euros.

CAN I PAY ONLY FOR THE TRIP WITHOUT THE DANCE PART?

No. Music & dance rituals and celebrations are the central part of this trip and these can not be dissociated from the rest. This is not a touristic trip, but a transformational and cultural one. 

CAN I PAY IN SEVERAL INSTALLMENTS?

Yes, the trip is payable in three or four installments.

CAN I CANCEL MY PARTICIPATION ONCE I PAID THE DEPOSIT?

Yes, it is possible to cancel your participation and be reimbursed, but only up to a certain date. The cancellation policy details will be specified in the booking form that you will read and sign before any payment.

WHERE WILL THE TOUR TAKE US?

After two nights and one day spent in Ioannina, we will start our tour in the mountain villages of Epirus. First in Aetopetra, where a small local celebration dedicated to the Prophet Ilias will take place at the top of the mountain. Then we will travel to Kipi, Papigo, Metsovo, and other places in the surroundings. And we will again finish the tour with the village of Aetopetra where the big annual 3 days/nights celebration will take place.

IS THE TRIP SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS?

Most of the meals will be taken in the traditional Greek taverns or in the villages during the celebrations. You will always find something to enjoy, sometimes a good vegan/vegetarian meal, but please note that sometimes your options will be very limited.

WHEN SHOULD I ARRIVE AND LEAVE?

You should arrive on July 18th and leave on July 28th in the afternoon/evening. 

WHERE SHOULD I ARRIVE TO GET THE ORGANIZED TRANSFER?

There are 3 options:
1. Group transfer from Igoumenitsa ferry port
or
2. Transfer from Ioannina airport
or
3. Transfer from Ioannina bus stop
For the first option, you can fly to Corfu town and take a ferry there .
You can also come by bus from Thessaloniki (you will be then transferred from the bus stop in Ioannina). 

IS THERE A AGE LIMIT FOR THE PARTICIPANTS?

No, there isn't. If you love to dance, and if you are in good enough shape to follow the quite intense rhythm of the trip (dancing, traveling, hiking, partying all night long...), you are welcome to join us! Also, if you decide to participle in activities only partially, it is of course possible. 

HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I BRING WITH ME?

It depends on your personal expenses (gifts, souvenirs..), and your travel options once you land in Greece (if you travel from Corfu, from Thessaloniki or you land in Ioannina). As almost all the expenses are covered, you shouldn't need more than 150-200 € of extra money.

WHAT LANGUAGES WILL BE SPOKEN DURING THE TRIP?

The official language will be English. Simona Jovic also speaks French, Serbian, and Czech, so you will be able to ask questions in any of these languages. Please note, that Nikos Zekis will be teaching in English, and there will be no translation offered.

WHAT SHOULD BE THE WEATHER?

As we will be staying in the mountains, the temperatures are much more enjoyable than in other parts of Greece at this time of the year (the average temperature in July is around 30°C). Also, we will go swimming in fresh mountain rivers which is truly invigorating. 

DO I NEED TO BE COVID VACCINATED TO PARTICIPATE??

No. Things may obviously change, but for now, a negative test is also an option for those who are not vaccinated.

Do you have other questions? 

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