Chicago’s Midwest Hellenic Dance Festival aims to inspire today’s youth to perpetuate traditional Greek music and dance. Learn more.
Midwest Hellenic Dance Festival a celebration of Greek music and dance
You’ve heard it before. How do we keep the traditions of our Greek heritage alive? How do we get Greek kids interested in traditional Greek music and dance? The answers are here, at the 2nd annual Midwest Hellenic Dance Festival (MHDF). The event will take place October 6-8, 2017 at St. Nicholas Church in Oak Lawn, IL.
For years, many major cities hosted a Greek dance festival, but not Chicago. That changed when a group of individuals passionate about Greek dance joined forces. With the blessings of Metropolitan Iakovos of blessed memory, they created the newest ministry of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, with the following mission:
“The Midwest Hellenic Dance Festival is dedicated to promoting, preserving and perpetuating the traditional Greek dances and music of our Hellenic Heritage by inspiring our Greek Orthodox youth and young adults through dance, music, and fellowship. The Festival will be an annual event designed to develop an awareness, appreciation and love for our Hellenic culture and create a greater communion and stronger ties with fellow Greek Orthodox Christians for generations to come.”
Through Greek school, local parishes, and friends, more and more youth are discovering the joy of Greek dance. MDHF strives to bring these young people together for a fun, educational, inspiring weekend to celebrate this love for traditional Greek dances, and continue the customs for future generations.
Under the guidance of committee chair, Father Tilemachos Alikakos of St. Spyridon Church in Palos Heights, IL, the committee invites renowned dance instructors to lead workshops for kids 9-12 years old, as well as adults. Let’s learn more about the weekend’s events.
This year’s guest instructors, will feature dances from different areas of Greece.
Aris Yortzidis will focus on dances from Eastern and Central Macedonia. Aris has been Greek dancing since 1982. Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, he was an active member of the dance program at his parish in the suburb of Downey, CA. He also performed with and directed several groups in Southern California.
In 1996, he earned a scholarship from the Metropolis of San Francisco Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival to research the dances of Serres. He cotninues to research dances from Thrace, Macedonia, the islands, and other regions of Greece. Aris and his wife Anna are also co-founders of the Byzantio Greek Dance and Cultural Arts Program based in the Greater Metropolitan Washington, DC area.
Dean Avdalas will concentrate on dances from Monastiri (Anatoliki Romilia). Konstantine “Dean” Avdalas has been dancing and directing at folk dance festivals for 30 years. He served as judge at the Hellenic Dance Festival in the Metropolis of Atlanta since 2011 and at the Folk Dance Festival in the Metropolis of San Francisco (2013).
He has presented groundbreaking work with the Albanian border villages of Northern Epiros and the customs of the Dodekaimerou in Neo Monastiri. His specialty areas include include Epiros, Sarakatsan villages, and Megalo Monastiri (refugees residing in Neo Monastiri, Domokou, Thessalia). Dean is well-versed in Greek folk culture, including dances, music, customs, and costumes.
Adult workshops will take place on Friday night, and Youth workshops will take place on both Friday and Saturday.
Midwest Hellenic Dance Festival 2017
There’s more to this festival! In addition to the workshops, participants with partake in informal social events, as well as a glendi on Saturday night, Sunday Divine Liturgy, and a Farewell Luncheon with select dance performances. All events will take place at St. Nicholas Church, 10301 S. Kolmar Avnue, in Oak Lawn. IL.
The glendi and luncheon are open to the general public. For more information, schedule and to register, click here.
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