Connecting People, Traditions & Generations

1991, Los Angeles, CA, Oli Mazi: The Voice of the Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival Movement

Festival: 15th Annual Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival
Theme: We Love L.A.
Hosting Entity: Folk Dance Festival Council
Venue: Westin Bonaventure Hotel
Executive Director: Thanasi K. Preovolos
FDF President: Charles Kyriacou

Sweepstakes Winners: This year is a twin win, seeing Patriotes, directed by Dena Stamos and Irene Simvoulakis, and the Spartans, directed by Spiro Stamos and Maria Papadogiannis, both from Modesto take home the Sweepstakes Award.

Honor Performance (Previous Year’s Sweepstakes Winners): Ionians, Anaheim, CA, directed by Dennis Boxell (Div. I), and Spartiates, Seattle, WA, directed by Katerina Lagos and Panos Theodorou (Div. II).

Attendance: There are 76, participating dance groups this year. Nine of the groups are from outside of the state (3 from Arizona, 4 from Nevada, and 2 from Washington), and 1 comes all the way from Greece; American Farm School, directed by Dimitris Pantazis

This Year’s Quote: “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”—unknown



Bishop’s Column

His Grace Bishop Anthony, in contemplating Paul’s message to the young Timothy, says there is no more powerful directing force in our daily behavior than belief and that FDF members should learn to model the beliefs of those who exemplify excellence. Quoting the apostle’s letter to the Ephesians, he says, “build up your strength in union with the Lord, and by means of His mighty power.”

1991 Executive Director’s Report by Thanasi K. Preovolos

This may well be the youngest FDF committee yet, and together they have done a wonderful job planning, programming, and organizing—over the course of the past year—for this weekend, under the able guidance of advisers from the FDF Committee.

President’s Message by Charles Kyriacou

Serving the 3rd year of his term, the president expresses gratitude to various team members for their service during the year, including Loula Moschonas who created and published 2 editions of the Oli Mazi Newsletter since the last festival, and Elaine Pepares and Dennis Boxell who conducted 2 FDF Workshops on Dance during the year (May and October) as part of an initiative to further support the directors.

He reiterates the plan to do more in terms of aiding directors in their work with the dance groups by providing greater access to materials, including sponsoring research trips to Greece.

Los Angeles Welcomes 1991 Dancers by Akrevoe Emmanouilides

A run down of the events planned for FDF this year, including a concert by Up With People, and another by Sam Chianis, a Valentine’s Day Dance, Carnival, and much more.

St. John’s of Anaheim Will Hold 92 FDF by Deidra Chapralis

The community of St. John the Baptist in Anaheim will host the 1992 FDF at the Disneyland Hotel. At the same time, the 1992 Committee is on hand at this year’s FDF providing support as needed to the 1991 committee.

How Proud We Are of Our Marys by Charlie Kyriacou

Two FDF judges are noted for their accomplishments; Mary Coros has received a full scholarship for doctoral dissertation at the University of Toronto in Dance Theory, and Mary Vouros returns to Greece to complete production of the early recordings of ethnic music from the Simon Karas collection of the 1950s.

Lefteris Drandakis: An Interview with Athan Karras

Best known for his work with Lykeion ton Ellinidon (Women’s Lyceum Club, Athens), he gives his thoughts on the recently concluded conference in Larissa, Greece, hosted by the International Organization of Folk Art.

One Judge’s Point of View by George Nickols

Long time FDF judge, George Nickols, shares valuable tips for dancers and directors including, but not limited to, being careful not to “over choreograph,” placement of weak versus strong dancers, stage presence, usage of time, and the value of traditional music over more modern selections.

FDF Official Anthem: 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!

Two More Greek Folkloric Experts to be Guests at the ’91 FDF

Ioanna Papantoniou—who founded the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation in 1974, is on hand to conduct workshops for the festival this year. Her organization’s Folk Art Museum won the European Museum of the Year Award in 1981.

Also on hand is Lefteris Drandakis—Director of Greek Folk Dance Department of Lykeion ton Ellinidon (Lyceum Club of Greek Women) in Athens for many years. The Lykeion’s Dance Troupe performs throughout Greece and is world renowned, having taken part in the Athens Festivals, many European dance festivals, and recently in Dallas Texas.

Dance Directors—A Path to Leadership Development by Peter E. Preovolos

A core function of FDF, in line with our Greek heritage and commitment to a holistic approach to life, is the development of leaders, as such it provides a viable and safe mini-lab for our teenagers and young adults to learn organizational management and leadership skills at a scale that would ordinarily not be available to them.

Over the past 5 years FDF has seen the development of over 98 dance directors ranging in age from 14 to over 60.

American Farm School by Akrevoe Emmanouilides

Founded in 1904 off Thessaloniki, the American Farm School is sending a dance troupe, accompanied by their director, Dimitris Pantazis who, it is reported, knows and teaches 222 different Greek dances.

Message from President Elect George Papangellin

Although in the society at large, ethnic visibility is a recent development, thanks to activities such as FDF, within California, and particularly Southern California, our community has been publicly exhibiting our heritage for a long time. Key developments in this regard include the emulation of FDF in other parts of the country, and increasing collaboration with national and international bodies that focus on or are interested in Greek heritage.

Symposiums: A Wave of the Future! By Loula Moschonas

The sitting 2nd Vice President of the FDF Executive Council reports on the 2nd FDF Dance Symposium held in October of last year, hosted and organized by Dennis Boxell and the community of St. John the Baptist Church in Anaheim. On hand were several Judges, instructing in, and demonstrating dances from several regions.

This initiative is a part of the move towards FDF initiating more of its own folkloric activities. It is the 2nd such dance symposium. The first was held in May and organized by Elaine Pepares.

A Development in Faith and Management by Don Hiatt

For the first time the FDF is being hosted not by a parish, but by the FDF Council. This is as a result of its decision to transfer financial responsibilities of the annual event from the local parishes to FDF leadership. Charged with hosting is a team of young people, the eldest of whom is 23 years old. Innovations include the introduction of raised platforms, backdrops and props to raise the dance atmosphere to a new level.

1991 Judges

Division I, Division II Semi Finals and Finals: Renée Cleary, John Lulias, George Nickols, Nick Varvitsiotis, and Mary Vouras; Louise Bilman, Joe Graziosa, Anna Sirota, Nikkos Savvidis

Your FDF Judges by Don and Ellie Hiatt

A short bio of each of the judges is provided.

Also found in this edition

  • Seattle FDF 1990 Award Recipients
  • Honor Roll of Hosting Parishes
  • FDF 1991 Group Registration Information
  • Letter of Congratulations to Paul Ginis, President, Alliance for the Preservation of the Hellenic Arts (ALPHA) from Charles Kyriacou
  • Volunteer Help by Jodie Baglin
  • New Release: The GOYAL National Conference, July 1991
  • Past Humanitarian Award Recipients
  • 1991 Folk Dance Festival Committee
  • This Year’s Participating Dance Groups

Read the 1991 Oli Mazi