Connecting People, Traditions & Generations

1988, Sacramento, CA, Oli Mazi: The Voice of the Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival Movement

Festival: 12th Annual Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival

Theme: Let No One Despise Your Youth

Hosting Entity: Annunciation Parish, CA

Hosting Priest: Fr. Demetrias Dogias

Executive Co-Director: Bessie Papailias and Steve LaBritt

FDF President: Elaine Pepares

Sweepstakes Winners: Little Olympians, San Diego, CA, (Div. I-Intermediate) directed by Maria Dougenis, assisted by Stagy Georggin; Spartiates, Seattle, WA (Div I—Advanced Intermediate), directed by Dennis Boxell; and Neo Lea, Pasadena, CA, (Div II) directed by Marika Psihountas.

Honor Performance (Previous Year’s 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).

Attendance: This year the festival has drawn 92 dance groups, 16 from beyond the state’s borders (Washington and Arizona sent 6 groups each, 3 came from Nevada, and 1 from the East Coast—New Jersey)


 Bishop’s Column

Quoting Martin Luther King Jr, “In order for a dream to come true, you first must wake up, then get up and start doing,” His Grace, Bishop Anthony reminds participants of the indefatigable relationship between commitment, involvement, and achievement. None can stand without the others.

Theme—FDF 1988 by Fr. Demetrias Dogias

The theme this year is derived from 1 Timothy 4:12, where Paul urges Timothy to “let no man despise” his youth. Despite the high premium many societies place on experience born of age, just as vital is initiative, courage, and grace. All of which the young need not be in short supply. These gifts of youth are desperately needed in our world, and young people must not be afraid to take on leadership. FDF provides a solid platform for such growth.

Welcome! From Sacramento by Bessie Papailias and Steve LaBritt

This is the largest Folk Dance Festival to date, with over 2,500 registered participants and 92 dance groups.

Division I: Seattle’s Akrites to Dance Taverna Suite by Theodora Dracopoulos Argue

Akrites, under the direction of Dennis Boxell, won last year’s Sweepstakes Award for the second time in its short history. They will present—for their honor performance—a suite showing the development of dance in the taverna since World War II. It is a dance in 3 parts. For the first time, the dance will include a grandfather, as well as some of the Greek-born parents of the St. Demetrios dancers.

Dennis Boxell was introduced to Greek dance 32 years ago, and since then he has made repeated trips to Greece to hone his craft. He is respected in his parish for his exceptional sense of the dramatic and the historic. For the technical and artistic elements of his work with the dance groups he directs, he is assisted by Nick Theodorou and Steve Teodosiades.

Division II: Sweepstakes Revisted by Maria Dougenis and Stayci Georggin

Mary Dougenis recounts her team’s aspiration in practicing for last year’s FDF, its culmination in their taking home the Sweepstakes Award in the Junior Classification, and “after all the excitement quieted down, the horrendous feeling of responsibility,” that overwhelmed her as she contemplated the accompanying obligation of a performance worthy of the honor this year.

History of the Awards

A 4th place has been introduced for each classification. There will be over 500 awards presented this year.

Greece Today and Its Recent Past: A Folkloric Experience by Don Hiatt

The International Greek Folklore Society is to be congratulated for a historic extravaganza of Greek dance workshops and costume displays that saw experts, including some from as far away as the University of Athens, teach dances styling from regions as diverse as Macedonia, and Thrace, Epiros, and Crete, Thessaly, and Roumeli.

Conceived and presented by Kathy Politopoulos (founder and director of the International Greek Folklore Society) and assisted by Athan Karras and Maria Psihountas, the occasion showed great attention to detail, Greek custom, and culture.

Among others present were Ioanna Papantoniou, founder and director of the Peloponesian Folklore Society, and an authority of Greek folk costume. Thirty selections from her costume collection formed a part of the exhibition mounted for the occasion at the Whittier Historical Society Museum. For more information, see the article: Greek Costume Show Unfurls in Whittier Museum Gallery by Charles Elliot, appearing in the Whittier Tribune

Can Tradition and Evolution Coexist Peacefully? By Charles Kyriacou

The author gives an insightful reflection on the sometimes contentious intersection of tradition and evolution in the pursuit of authenticity.

The New Method of Success—There’s Nothing Like Experience by Charles Kyriacou

FDF has been working on a leadership development system that would ensure continuity and optimal preparation of its executive officers for the task of overseeing the operations of the annual festival. In 1986, the first step towards this initiative was the increase of the terms of service for officers from 1 to 2 years to enable them not only initiate new programs, but follow through on their implementation.

Last year, Elaine Pepares proposed a new system of succession which would see the creation of a new office; First Vice President, who succeeds to the presidency, ensuring that future presidents will have been involved as second and first vice president for a total of 4 years before becoming president.

Director’s Workshops by Don Hiatt

Apostolos (Paul) Ginis and Mary Vouras will be presenting workshops on regional styling with emphasis on reasons for the incredible variety of dance and costumes per region.

Paul Ginis is a native of Mavromati, Greece. Mary Vouras spent 23 years in Greece as an ethnomusiclologist. She is noted as a dancer, an author, and for her work with Simon Karas—an eminent authority on Greek folk and Byzantine music.

A Tribute to the Young Adults of Long Beach By Peter Preovolos

Diocesan Senior Advisor and Representative Peter Preovolos takes this opportunity to acknowledge and commend the work of the young people of Assumption Parish for their incredible organization of the previous year’s FDF. Given the scale of the event, made even more auspicious by its coinciding with the centenary of the birth of Patriarch Athenagoras I, the young people of Long Beach demonstrated their viability as members of a select group of Greek-Americans; Future Leaders of Orthodoxy.

Wonderful is the Jocularity in Directing by Thanasi Preovolos

Preovolos reflects on the variety of emotions and circumstances that directors experience working with dancers of all ages.

1988 Judges

Dance Judges Division I Semi-Final and Division II Final: Joe Graziosi, George Nichols, Ann Sirota, and Nikos Varvitsiotis

Costume Judges: Barbara Metallinos

Dance Judges Division II Semi-Final and Division I Final: Anna Efstathiou, Chris Tasulis, Ted Petrides, Mary Vouras

Costume Judges: Vilma Matchette,

Costume Coordinator: Renee Cleary

Judge Coordinators: Don Hiatt, Ellie Hiatt

Data Processing and Score Evaluators: Mark Morenz and Litsa Preovolos

FDF Very Important People by Don and Ellie Hiatt

A short bio of each of the judges is provided.

From Other Diocese: Letter to the Editor From St. Catherine, West Palm Beach, FL. By Ted Athanasakes

This letter chronicles the start of the FDF project of St. Catherine’s Parish and their collaboration with the FDF movement of the San Francisco Diocese. Through their initiative, they hope to expand interest in other South East Florida parishes and eventually the Diocese.

From Other Diocese: Chicago Diocese Festival

1987 was the 2nd annual FDF of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Chicago. The goals of the festivals are similar: “to preserves and instill the Greek heritage and culture in our Greek-American youth.”

In Memorium: Dora Stratou Will Long Be Remembered by Athan Karras

A tribute to Dora Stratou, chronicling her tireless work towards entrenching the recognition and presentation of the vestiges of Greek tradition through dance and song beyond the theater constructed on the hill across from the Acropolis, and the folk song and dance ensemble both named in her honor.

Greek Costume Show Unfurls in Whittier Museum Gallery by Charles Elliot of Whittier Tribune

Ioanna Papantoniou, founder of the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation and of the Folk Art Museum in Nafplion (winner of European Museum Award, 1981–which promotes the preservation, study, and presentation of the music, dance, and costumes of Greece), mounted an exhibition of a selection of 30 costumes from her collection.

From as early as 8 years of age, when she was learning dance at the Lykeion Ellinidon in Athens, her interest in costumes emerged. She subsequently studied theater and costume design at the Wimbledon School of Art, and since 1971 has worked as a designer throughout Greece and Europe.

Also in this edition

– History of the Folk Dance Festival

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

– Honor Roll of Hosting Parishes

– $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ by George Papangellin

– 1987 Award Recipients

– 1988 Oli Mazi Tour to Greece

– Special Tribute to the Unsung Heroes of the Annual FDF

Read the 1988 Oli Mazi