Connecting People, Traditions & Generations

1989, Oakland, CA, Oli Mazi News

A message from the Executive Director Amy Stamison, on behalf of the Ascension Folk Dance Festival Committee, introduces the celebration of the 13th Annual Folk Dance Festival held in Oakland. Bishop Anthony and Rev. Thomas J. Paris of Ascension Greek Orthodox Church encourage FDF participants, as youth, to recognize the place of belief and honor of oneself and the other as divine abodes in the pursuit of excellence. Charles Kyriacou takes over as FDF president following a 4-year illustrious term for Elaine Pepares.


Athan Karras and Stathis Stratis issue tributes to Ted Petrides the Folklorist, who served as one of the judges at the FDF in Sacramento (1988). By the time of his death, he had published 8 books and several articles on Greek Folk Dance, including a primer on Folk Dance terminology (included in this edition of Oli Mazi) in a reprint from the International Greek Folklore Society.

The Firsts in this Year’s FDF

This edition records a series of firsts:

  • The unveiling of the FDF Icon (commissioned after a request made to the FDF Advisory Council by Levendya Dancers in 1987) and created by renowned Byzantine iconographer George Filippakis. In connection with this, Ascension Parish donates the Altar Cloth, made by Mrs. Gianoula Brogalis as the FDF Altar Cloth, to be passed to each hosting community hereafter along with the Folk Dance Festival Banner and Icon;
  • The introduction of a new non-competitive category—Division III—to honor the participation of those dance groups whose oldest member is 8 years or younger;
  • The first year a “second generation” FDF dancer (both parents danced at FDF) has participated in the festival. Jessica Wallner, performing with Elpida Dancers under the direction of Gina Kanakaris, in Division 3; and
  • The first year there is a Director’s Dance and Party at the festival.

This edition lists the largest attendance so far for the FDF: 100 dance groups, including 15 new and returning groups from outside of California.

  • From Arizona: Alpha Dancers directed by Helen Balanis, Asteria directed by Olga Fredericksen, Doxa directed by Kathy Mackos, and Panathenians directed by Loula Moschonas
  • From Colorado: Kleftes directed by Elaine Kostikos
  • From Hawaii: Nisiotes directed by David Weil
  • Asteria Tis Erimou and Zephyros return from Nevada, this time under the direction of Antonia Tzelalis, who also directs Aetoi
  • From Oregon: Hellenic Dancers directed by Rita Demas
  • From Washington: Dennis Boxell returns this year, directing two-time Sweepstakes winners Akrites with Nick Theodorou, Levendya with Thalia Denos, and Spartiates. Also from Washington are Nisiotes directed by Helen Manthou, and Souliotes directed by Steve Teodosiadese and Katerina Lagos.

Together, this roster of 2,300 people holds the record for the largest group to be served a sit down meal at the Oakland Convention Center.

Sweepstakes Award Winners this year are Diaskedasi, directed by Irene Simvoulakis (Division II), and Greek American Folklore Society under the direction of the Apostolos Paul Ginis and Kim Efstathiou (Division I).

Read the 1989 Oli Mazi