Kefi: The Story of FDF, the Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival, is a new documentary produced by A Web of Culture. It is long-awaited by those who shared their stories with us, FDF participants past and present, and fans of the folk dance festival throughout the world. But Kefi presents more than a history of the annual event. According to George Papangellin, who danced at FDF in the 1980s and is an FDF judge today, “It’s a bigger story than what you just see with your eyes.”
Celebrate with dance and song.
Greek folk dancing isn’t really a spectator sport, but watching these young people dance makes you want to join in. You don’t need to know the history behind the dances (the experts fill us in on many of them). The beauty in the costumes, the athleticism of some of the dancers, and the faces filled with determination and joy shine through. A choral competition was added to FDF shortly after it began. You can experience the beautiful voices of the choral group singers in the documentary.
Meet some exceptional people.
Not all of the participants claim to be of Greek heritage. Despite this, they are all deeply committed to the art and mission of FDF. Directors and judges travel from across the U.S. and Greece to teach throughout the year. Each year, the judges gather to give their well-informed critiques on the dancing, singing and costumes. Musicians come from everywhere to play and sing on stage at the festival, as well.
See how religion and culture fit together.
The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco sponsors FDF. The folk dance festival’s roots were in the parishes that fall within the seven states within the Western Metropolis: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Although the roots of Greek folk dancing are not necessarily in the church, the Greek Orthodox Church and folk dancing are inextricably intertwined. The documentary addresses the inevitable tension between church, dance as competition, and cultural traditions.
The idea for the documentary became the inspiration for A Web of Culture. Executive Producer Peter E. Preovolos wanted to tell the story of how FDF has been a part of the effort to keep the Greek culture alive in America. He believes that each of us has a responsibility to pass our culture on to the next generation. No matter where your family is from originally, sharing their stories and customs is a privilege. The documentary is concrete proof of his commitment to this principle.