Connecting People, Traditions & Generations

1992, Anaheim, CA, Oli Mazi: The Voice of the Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival Movement
Festival: 16th Annual Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival
Theme: Mardi Gras
Hosting Entity: St. John the Baptist Parish, Anaheim, CA
Venue: Disneyland Hotel
Executive Director: Elaine Dorlis
FDF President: George Papangellin

Sweepstakes Winners: Not available

Honor Performance (Previous Year’s Sweepstakes Winners): Patriotes, directed by Dena Stamos and Irene Simvoulakis, and the Spartans, directed by Spiro Stamos and Maria Papadogiannis, both from Modesto.

Attendance: There are 97 dance groups participating this year. The 16 dance groups (Alaska 3, Arizona 4, Boston 1, Nevada 3, Oregon 1, Washington 4) coming from beyond the state, make this the widest reaching FDF yet.

Note: This is the first year Oli Mazi has sponsor ad placements by organizations such as Coca-Cola, Remax, Kosmos Insurance Agency, and Miller Brewing,


Bishop’s Column

Coming in the wake of the momentous events of 1991 (the start of the war in the Persian Gulf, and the break-up of the Soviet Union in December) the discussion concerning the strategic edge created by change permeates this message. With last year’s announcement of the creation of a Blue Ribbon Committee, His Grace, Bishop Anthony reiterates, “the best time to change is when you don’t have to.”—Robert J. Kriegel.

Father James by Fr. James S. Diavatis

St. John the Baptist Parish is honored to be the venue this year, where the FDF community bridges the generations and nurtures our sense of solidarity and belonging in the spirit of well-intentioned competition and Christian fellowship.

St. John’s Welcomes Everyone! by Elaine Dorlis

The Executive Director gives a preview of what is planned for this FDF, including the 1st Annual Milli Vanilli Invitational (aka Lip Sync/Air Band Competition), where the grand prize is $1,000. Besides the banquet, whose theme this year is Mardi Gras, Greek recording artist Sophia Bilides and her ensemble are giving a concert.

President’s Message by George Papangellin

Encouraging engagement by all participants, the president affirms that the changes that FDF is undergoing are planned, and carefully being executed with sensitivity.

Interview with Peter E. Preovolos

In keeping with the theme of leadership development, Peter E. Preovolos reveals with the full support of Bishop Anthony the existing FDF structure is set to be dismantled at the end of February in order to make way for the development of a new structure “better suited to taking FDF ahead.”

This preemptive change has been determined as the optimal course of action following an intensive strategic review of FDF and its systems by the existing FDF leadership over the past year. In the interim, FDF will be governed by another committee that will be appointed by the existing council.

The task of this Blue Ribbon Committee is to evaluate the reorganization reports and develop new structures to grow and meet the needs of the FDF community for the next 16 years.

The Business of FDF by Joyce Nikolau,

Being a member of the 4-person Board that oversees the Registration, Competition, Workshops and Hospitality Committee Chairs, the Operations Director affirms that running FDF as a business does not detract from the reality of its intrinsic identity as a ministry. Particular attention is being given to ensure FDF can increasingly be “efficient, well-managed, responsive, innovative, profitable, fun to work for and a pleasure to do business with.”

Dollars and $ense by Tom Dorlis

The Finance Director here fields questions concerning the costs of running and participating in the FDF. He also indicates that in the event of a profit coming from FDF, it is shared between the hosting parish and the FDF Council, and that when there is a loss, the deficit is covered by the hosting parish.

Kid’s Carnival by Doris Kollias

The Carnival is part of FDF’s efforts, with an increasingly young participant roster (69% being 18 and below last year), to target participants by age group. It further is in keeping with the proposal last year that FDF begin its own folkloric activities.

Letters to the Editor

In this section, a mother has published the college entrance essay her daughter the young Natasha Nikolaidis wrote about the pivotal role FDF has played in her life; Kefi, which—to her—is the very foundation of her heritage, the meaning of the dance.

A concerned member urges the council to be more conscious of the use of paper in communicating FDF events as part of its stewardship of creation.

Zakynthos Extravaganza Slated for Whittier in May 1992

An invitation to the chance to learn the dance, music, and traditions of Zakynthos, hosted by the International Greek Folklore Society. The occasion will kick off with a 6-week exhibition at the Whittier Historical Society Museum entitled, “In Celebration of Zakynthos.”

Surveys Dispel Myths About Youth Beliefs by George Gallup Jr. and Jim Castelli

A summary of the findings of the Gallup Youth Survey in juxtaposition with the findings of the Gallup Poll concerning general perceptions of youth beliefs.

First FDF Heritage Camp Offers 7 Days Immersed in the Greek Cultural Traditions of Our Forefathers

FDF is hosting this camp as part of the initiative to extend its folkloric activities beyond the festival. The camp at St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center in Squaw Valley is open to youth and adults, and will feature instruction in Greek language, arts, history, religion, folk dance, music, song, costume and tradition.

We Made it O’tay In 1991 by Athanasio Preovolos

Borrowing from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, last year’s Executive Director of the youngest committee to run the FDF reports on the challenges and successes of last year’s FDF. His framework? “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.”

Security and Damage by Tom James Dorlis

A reminder that any and all “charges resulting from damage, theft, or vandalism of either Hotel or Folk Dance Festival property caused by an FDF participant and or attendee will be charged to the participant/attendee, his/her parents and/or church.”

Modesto’s Twin Sweep by Dena Stamos

The Patriotes and the Spartans, last year’s Sweepstakes Award winners, both from Modesto, have joined forces to present a comedy for their honor performance this year.

FDF Weekend Workshops by Lea Kiapos

Dancers this year are assigned to workshops based on their ages, a departure from previous years. It is hoped that this change will provide value to participants particularly because the workshops are now scheduled not to conflict with the competition, enabling all dancers and parents to participate in their respective workshops without fear of missing a child’s or fellow dance group’s performance.

Come Join the Circling Dancers

By Professor Louis A. Gaitanis
(Adapted as FDF Official Poem in 1984)

Join a circle of Greeks dancing
Hold the hands that held the hands
Of heroes of the Second Battle of Marathon
When Axis Powers were stopped by ragged Greek bands
A stand that changed the course of World War II
And history came full circle, like the dance.

Join a circle of Greeks dancing
Hold the hands that held the hands
Of Soulian women who one by one left the circle
Dancing off the mountain to deny the enemies’ demands
Preferring death to surrender to the Turks and making true
The freedom call: “Better one hour of freedom
than forty years of slavery and jail.”

Join a circle of Greeks dancing
Hold the hands that held the hands
Of martyrs who held aloft the light
From Byzantium to the western lands
The light first saved at ancient Marathon by the few
Who stood against the Asiatic hordes and
In so doing a continent
And a new world as well.

Come join a circle of Greeks dancing
And hold the hands
That held the hands
That held the hands
Of Homer. 

Anaheim Hospitality by Deidra Chapralis

A reminder of the services available to all participants at the Hospitality Room, including a Souvenir Center, Historical Boards and Display Cases chronicling the development of Greek folk costumes and instruments, as well as a photography service that will cover all events.

1991 Judges

Division I Semi-Finals, Division II Finals: Louise Bilman, Mary Coros, Joe Graziosi, Anna Sirota, Nikkos Savvidis
Division II Semi-Finals, Division I Finals: Renée Cleary, Anna Efstathiou, John Lulias, George Nickols, and Mary Vouras
Evaluation: Nikos Varvitsiotis

Your FDF Judges by Don and Ellie Hiatt

A short bio of each of the judges is provided.

Also found in this edition

– Los Angeles FDF 1991 Award Recipients
– Honor Roll of Hosting Parishes
– 1991 Folk Dance Festival—Final Statement
– Sophia Bilides Concert and Glendi by Deidra Chapralis
– Past Humanitarian Award Recipients
– FDF 1992 Group Registration Information
– 1992 Folk Dance Festival Committee
– This Year’s participating Dance Groups

Read the 1992 Oli Mazi