Connecting People, Traditions & Generations

Dedication: To the Blessed Memory of the Late Patriarch Athenagoras I on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of His Birth
Festival: 11th Annual Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival
Theme: Dance to Life
Host: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Long Beach, CA
Hosting Priest: Fr. Michael A. Kouremetis
Executive Director: Chris J. Dolas
FDF President: Elaine Pepares

Sweepstakes Winners: Akrites, Seattle, WA, directed by Dennis Boxell (Div. I), and Little Olympians, San Diego, CA, directed by Mary Dougenis, assisted by Stayci Georggin (Div. II).

Honor Performance (Previous Year’s 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)

Attendance: Sixty-eight dance groups are participating this year. Of these, 10 come from outside California: 5 from Arizona, 1 each from Hawaii and Nevada, and 3 from Washington State.

Theme Song: Dance to Life by Helen G. Dolas

There comes a time when our hearts are high
And are filled with determination.
There’s a drive inside we can barely hide
That gives us this dedication
As the energy flows and accomplishment grows,
We do it for just one thing,
The best in each we want to teach
Sharing love is within our reach.

Dance to life,
Dance to the joy,
Dance to life,
Dance to the joy of life!

We’ll come together and make new friends
That’s what love is all about.
Let’s join our hands, and our hearts
God will give us the strength to start.
Put your right foot forward as the music begins,
The feeling will swell inside
The joyful is so revealing,
It’s something we just can’t hide.

Dance to life,
Dance to the joy,
Dance to life,
Dance to the joy of life!


Bishop’s Column

His Grace, Bishop Anthony encourages participation in FDF as participation in such elements of the life of the church are the opportunities through which we make Christ real in our lives

A Parish Priest’s Welcome by Fr. Michael A. Kouremetis

This year’s festival brings together more than 1,500 youth and their families. Special welcome to His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos, The Holy Synod of Bishops of our Archdiocese, the Archdiocean Council, the Archous of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the National Philoptochos Board.

Assumption Parish—Long Beach Welcomes the 11th Annual FDF by Chris J. Dolas

Assumption Parish is honored to dedicate this FDF to the Patriarch Athenagoras I on the occasion of the Centennial Celebration of his birth. Several key events this FDF coincide with this auspicious occasion, including:

  • A visit by His Emminence Archbishop Iakovos, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Archdiocese, the Archous of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the National Philoptochos Board;
  • The opportunity for FDF members to participate in a hierarchical Divine Liturgy; and
  • The Athenagoras Cultural Exhibit, which includes not only selections from the vast collection of acclaimed iconographer Stathis Trahanatzis, but a photographic exhibit of finds from the excavation at Kourion (Cyprus)—the earliest Greek Christian community to date—jointly presented by the Hellenic Cultural Foundation of Tucson and the Classics Department of the University of Arizona.

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

Four goals set and met by the FDF Executive Council this year are:

  1. To take a more active part in the diocese
  2. To produce a Director’s Handbook for the FDF as a source of guidance for hosting parishes
  3. Devise a more efficient system for communicating with FDF constituents
  4. Increase engagement between the Executive Council and the hosting FDF community

From Last Year’s Sweepstakes Winners—Division I by Dena Stamos

The director of Patriotes shares their experience of winning the Sweepstakes Award last year (they had won once before in the award’s inaugural year; 1984) and preparing for the honor performance this year. They have chosen a performance that reflects her concern for highlighting the place of lyrics in Greek dance; these anchor the oral history of Greece in the hearts of participants.

From Last Year’s Sweepstakes Winners—Division II: by Loula Moschonas and Sandra Kotzambasis

Loula Moschonas and Sandra Kotzambasis weave a tale of the persistence and perseverance on and off the dance floor that saw first-time entrants, Panathenian Dancers, take home the Division II Sweepstakes award. Having won as much the accolades of 1986 as the expectations for this the next year, following a 14-week workshop, the troupe settled on Epiros as the cultural location for their honor performance this year. Their rationale? Its intriguing history, and the fact that it is the birth place of the Patriarch Athenagoras I, whose centenary we celebrate this FDF.

A Letter to the Parishes of the San Francisco Diocese by His Grace, Bishop Anthony

In pursuit of the total development of FDF participants, a reminder is issued that all participants in the FDF program must be members of the Greek Orthodox Church and presently in good standing, and active in the life of the parish. As such only those dance groups that come under the supervision of a parish may participate.

Chris Papadine Memorial Plaque by Polivios Papadimitrakis

The Christos Papadimitrakis Memorial Plaque is presented in memory of Chris, a member of Levendia (Parish of St. George, Bakersfield), who died on May 13, 1985.

It will be presented annually to a male dancer who exhibits the following traits:

  • Has a good Christian outlook,
  • Involvement in church activities,
  • Shows leadership, and
  • Tends to work for the good of the group, and not for personal gain.

A New Look at Saint Nicholas

In an effort to revitalize its ministry, and solidify its financial viability, St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center is under new management. His Grace, Bishop Anthony has recently appointed Fr. James S. Gordon as the Executive Director, and Sam G. Poulos as the Assistant Director.

A Pastor’s Reflections: Folk Dance Festival—1987 by Rev. Fr. Jon Magoulias, Parish Priest, Modesto, CA.

Assigned pastor of Patriotes, last year’s sweepstakes winners, afforded me engagement with a ministry of the church that I had heretofore been unacquainted with. I am inspired by the persistence, the warmth, and the dedication I have experienced in the youth, the parents, and the community at large in preparation of what—for me—will be my first FDF.

Preamble Workshop

This year’s workshop will be presented by Fr. James Gordon, newly appointed director of St. Nicholas; Fr. Jon Magoulias, newly appointed parish priest in Modesto, and Bill Cantos, former member of Oli Mazi Tour Group.

Music—Another FDF First by Don Hiatt

John Filfich, long time folk dancer, and founder (35 years ago) of the California Kolo Festival, will be on site with a large collection of Greek Music to aid dancers and directors alike in their research. 

Athenagoras Cultural Exhibit Centennial FDF by Don and Ellie Hiatt, Cultural Exhibit Chairperson

Several Greek organizations are providing valuable collections and personal memorabilia for public viewing:

  • The centerpiece will be an Orthodox altar, provided by Martinez and Murphy Incorporated of Los Angeles,
  • The acclaimed iconographer, Stathis Trahanatzis, will display select works from his collection of religious articles,
  • Memories, pictures, and personal collections are provided by many generous individuals,
  • A significant array of artifacts brought to this country by early Greek immigrants, including video taped interviews from before the mid-1920s, is provided by the Greek Heritage Society of Southern California, and
  • A photographic exhibit detailing the archeological finds at Kourion; the earliest Christian Greek community on record, is being mounted by the Hellenic Cultural Foundation of Tucson in collaboration with the Classics Department of the University of Arizona.

FDF ’86 Reflections by Stephanie Angeles, 1986 Executive Co-Director

A string of misfortunes plagued the FDF weekend, including the worst storm San Diego has seen in 75 years, which submerged one of the tents in 3 feet of water and turned our sturdy dance floor into a floating raft. Our committee still came away with fond memories of Greek Orthodox youth united in supporting one another, and standing with us against various odds to still pull off a wonderful FDF.

1987 Judges

  • Dance Judges Division I Semi-Final and Division II Final: John Sofias, Stathis Stratis, Nikos Varvitsiotis, Mary Vouras
  • Costume Judges: Renée Cleary
  • Choral Judges: Kristen Bruskas
  • Dance Judges Division II Semi-Final and Division I Final: Joe Kaloyanides Graziosi, Ted Petrides, Ted Sorias
  • Costume Judges: Vilma Matchette
  • Choral Judges: Andriana Kolendrianos
  • Judge Coordinators: Don Hiatt, Ellie Hiatt
  • Data Processing and Score Evaluators: Mark Morenz and Lits Preovolos

Your FDF Judges by Don and Ellie Hiatt, FDF Advisory Board

A short bio of each of the judges is provided.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ by George Papangellini, Treasurer

With the increase in participation and the sophistication of the festival has come an accompanying increase in its budget. From the $4,200 budget in 1977 to the present budget that first hit the six-figure bracket in 1984, the treasury strives to account for all expenses.

Also within this Edition

  • History of the Folk Dance Festival
  • History of the Awards
  • FDF Council Agenda, Thursday, February 12, 1987 at the Anaheim, Hilton
  • Cynthia Anderson Memorial Plaque
  • Amended and Updated Competition Rules and Format as Revised in 1985
  • A Dancer’s Point of View by Stephanie Asimacopoulos
  • Honor Role of Hosting Parishes
  • Award Recipients from Past Festivals
  • Dance Festival By-Laws Changes
  • Special Tribute to the Unsung Heroes of the Annual FDF
  • Council and Advisory Board: Meet your FDF
  • St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center
  • 1986 FDF Financial Results from San Diego

Read the 1987 Oli Mazi