Connecting People, Traditions & Generations

Festival: 10th Annual Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival
Theme: Praise the Lord in Tympani and Dance
Host: St. Spyridon Parish, San Diego, CA
Hosting Priest: Fr. John Asimacopoulos
Executive Co-Directors: Stephanie Angeles and Elizabeth Terris
FDF President: Elaine Pepares

Sweepstakes Winners: Patriotes, Modesto, CA., directed by Dena Stamos (Div. I), and Panathenian Dancers, Tucson, AZ., directed by Loula Moschonas and Sandra Kotzambasis (Div. II)

Honor Performance (Previous Year’s Sweepstakes Winners): Akrites, Seattle WA, directed by Dennis Boxell (Div. I), and Kamari, Fresno, CA., directed by Gina Nicolaou (Div. II).

Attendance: Sixty-eight dance groups are participating this year. Of these, 11 come from outside California: six from Arizona, two each from Nevada, and Washington State, and one from Hawaii


Bishop’s Column

His Grace, Bishop Anthony in his welcome message reiterates the goal of happiness in performing at the FDF as being found in putting forth one’s best effort in one’s best attitude and spirit.

1986 FDF Returns to the City of Its Birth, San Diego, California: Hosted by the Youth of St. Spyridon: Happy 10th Anniversary! By Fr. John Asimacopoulos

Fr. John addresses the wealth (cultural and spiritual) of the resources available to the church in opportunities for community that FDF preparation and execution presents. He urges continued attention to developing excellence in pursuing its ideals.

FDF President’s Message: Reflections of A Great Beginning by Elaine Pepares

From the small group of 39 dancers in 1976, when dancers competed in parish halls and were housed in the homes of parishioners, to the present where there were over 1,600 dancers in the last FDF; from three categories in 1976 to now—10 years later—with eight categories, two divisions and 68 dance team, FDF returns to its birthplace as the biggest youth gathering within the San Francisco Diocese.

Welcome to San Diego by Stephanie Angeles and Elizabeth Terris, Executive Co-directors

These co-directors, who started with FDF as young dancers, demonstrate that perhaps the key achievement of FDF is how it engages Greek Orthodox young people – culturally, through leadership development, and through encouraging their participation in expanding capacities.

Division I: Winning the Sweepstakes—A Lesson In Responsibility, Creativity and Persistence by Dennis Boxell

Division II: The Sweepstakes Challenge by Gina Nicolaou and the Kamari Dancers

Director Denis Boxell (Akrites of Seattle,) and Gina Nicolaou (Kamari of Fresno) discuss, in separate articles, the joy and honor of having won a Sweepstakes Award, and the incredible journey of rising to the challenge of being “under the special obligation to bring something new and challenging” in the subsequent year’s FDF.

History of FDF

The 1984 FDF (8th), hosted by the youth of the Annunciation Parish, Sacramento and held at the Red Lion Inn, boasted 53 dance groups and over 1,600 registered participants. Its gift to FDF was what has become the official banner of FDF, a 20′ by 5′ painting with the inscription “Praise the Lord in Tympani and Dance, Psalm 150:2-3.

1985 saw an increase of 20% in participation. Hosted by the youth and young adults of Resurrection Parish, Castro Valley, held jointly at the Hyatt Regency and Oakland Convention Center. The Preamble Workshops and the FDF Year Book were generated at this festival.

History of the Awards by Trish Demopoulos

In 1985, the Humanitarian Award was introduced to honor those individuals who have demonstrated a special love for others by persistently going that extra mile in their behalf.

The Choral Award is introduced. It seeks to stimulate interest in learning Greek songs, affirming that most often the music our forebears danced to came from their own voices and those of their onlookers. It is hoped the award will be an incentive for the formation of more Greek Folk Song groups to help support the dancers, as well as increase membership in the church choirs.

Special gratitude goes to the Choir Federation for its assistance in defining the judging criteria for this award, and specifically to Tom Palla, Choir Director, St. Nicholas, Northridge, and Tina Manus, Annunciation of Sacramento.

This year is the last time the Cynthia Anderson Memorial Scholarship Award will be awarded to anyone other than a female dancer. It has previously been awarded to non-dance group members.

What the Folk Dance Festival Means to Me by Marilyn Kalas

“Although the festival has grown in participation, format, budget, and facilities, having experienced FDF as a dancer, director, council member, and spectator, the most meaningful growth over the 10 years has been its accomplishment in me. The deep love, affection, respect, and appreciation for our Greek heritage that it has birthed and nurtured in me is as invaluable as the relationships that it has allowed me to foster here through the years.”

Computer Support Expanded for FDF 1986

In addition to the scoring program introduced in 1984, this year, the entire registration process has also been computerized. The program in use was written and developed over a period of 10 months by our own Maria Kelmis, assisted by Mary Cratsa, Maria Cormier, and Art Balourdas.

1986 Oli Mazi Tour to Greece

The tour, scheduled to be from July 8-August 4, will take us to 14 sites. Oli Mazi is scheduled to perform at several places, including Avgeniki, Thesaloniki, and Loutraki.

A Dancer’s Point of View by Stephanie Asimacopoulos

A dancer highlights the spectrum of emotions and experiences from preparation for the festival to arrival through to the finals at the FDF: the Super Bowl of Greek Folk Dancing. 

Noted Lecturer, Author on Youth Ministries Dr. Larry Keefauver to Conduct Preamble Workshops

Leading the Preamble Workshop, entitled “Dance, Song, and Celebration in Christian Faith,” is Dr. Larry Keefauver from Group Publishing. He will be exploring the biblical foundations for dance and celebration.

1985 Dance Festival by Lou Evans

The 9th Annual Folk Dance Festival was hosted by the Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church of Castro Valley, and held jointly at the Hyatt Regency, and Oakland Convention Center. Sixty-six dance teams from 27 parishes participated.

Three new features were added to the FDF repertoire; FDF Preamble Workshops, the Costume Glendi, and a Souvenir Album.

The Hellenic College/Holy Cross Tour of Seminarians presented the preamble workshop entitled “Orthodoxy in Song.”

What is the Preamble Workshop?

Founded by Fr. Tom Avramis of Castro Valley and introduced to the FDF program last year is a workshop that seeks to work with dancers to ground them in the purpose of the FDF movement.

1986 Judges

  • Costume Judges: Vilma Matchette, Steve Reynolds
  • Dance Judges Division I: George Nickols, Diki Shields, John Sofios, Alkimini Kouri Bloom
  • Dance Judges Division II: Renee Cleary, Joe Kaloyanides Graziosi, Theodorous (Ted) Sofios, Stathis Stratis, Nikos Varvitsiotis
  • Choral Judges: Nicki Demopoulos, Arlene Keeton, Anna Efstathiou
  • Timing Judges: Melia Angeles, Art Balourdes, Mary Cratsa, Martha Coulsea, Arhene Deneris, Jane Macedo, Diane Sadlier, George Stanley, Jimmy Trompas
  • Judge Coordinators: Anna Efstathiou, Patricia Demopoulos, Don Hiatt, Ellie Hiatt, Peter Preovolos

Judge not Thy Judges by Don and Ellie Hiatt

Don and Ellie Hiatt provide a window into the experience and qualifications of the judges at the festival.

This Year’s Participating Dance Groups-1996

Amongst the 68 groups participating this year are 11 dance groups from outside California: six from Arizona, two each from Nevada, and Washington State, and one from Hawaii

Back to Sacramento in ’88

The 12th Annual Folk Dance Festival of the Diocese of San Francisco (1988) will be hosted in the capital by the Annunciation of Sacramento, for a second time in the festivals history.

Also in this edition

  • FDF Council Agenda
  • Amended and Updated Competition Rules and Format as Revised in 1985
  • Carnival by Stephanie Asimacopoulos
  • Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Long Beach, to Host 1987 FDF
  • Award Recipients from Past Festivals
  • Honor Role of Hosting Parishes
  • Special Tribute to the Unsung Heroes of the Annual FDF
  • Council and Advisory Board Meet Your FDF
  • FDF ’85 Souvenir Album Correction

Read the 1987 Oli Mazi