|Lyra||Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society Newsletter|
PDF version of newsletter
|Orpheus Anniversary Benefit|
|Educational Article: Costume of Kavakli|
|Orpheus Youth Group|
|Chicago SummerDance 1998|
|Ethnic Fashion Show|
|Fort Wayne Revisited|
|Web Site Update|
|Spotlight On Orpheus Dancer|
The people of Kavakli arrived as refugees in 1906 and settled in a number of villages in Northern Greece. The region, which along with the villages of Sozopolis, Anchialo, Stenimacho and Mesimvria (among others) was in Northern Thrace, is today part of Bulgaria. The splendor of the Kavakli costume provides us with a good idea of the high standard of civilization in the region. The women wove and embroidered their clothes themselves with stitching of exquisite quality. The shirt reached halfway down the calf.
The upper part, called the "parta," was made of deep blue woven cotton cloth and the skirt of white. The embroidery around the neck, cuffs and hem was done using multi-colored threads of silk or wool. The sleeveless woolen garment worn over this, known as the "tsoukmani" or "tsoukna," was dyed a deep blue before being sewn. The opening of the bodice was richly embroidered with brightly colored threads. The women pleated the skirt themselves, decorating the hem with strips of silk, gold braid and embroidery. It was always kept shorter than the skirt underneath so as not to obscure the decoration around the hem. The four-meter long woolen sash was usually red with multi-colored stripes and sewn on the slant for a better fit at the waist. Over it was tied the woolen apron with its woven embroidery.
It was possible to distinguish between married or single women, mothers or women in mourning, just by looking at the type of apron worn. In the old days, they wore silver chains hung with small decorations across the bosom, with a close-fitting silver necklace of agates and other pendants around the neck. Later the bridegroom gave his bride chains of gold coins.
In winter, the women wore a sleeveless topcoat made of woven wool, which was modestly stitched and embroidered around the hem by local tailors using dark-colored ribbon. The hair was plaited into two braids that hung down the back. The little flat fez was shrouded with a printed woolen scarf folded into a band. In the past, they used to coil the braids of hair beneath the scarf. Over this was thrown a large printed wool or wool-and-silk scarf with a fringe, the ends hanging down loose; it was held in place with a pin at the base of the plaits.
The "bapka," a decoration consisting of 5, 10 or even 15 coins arranged in the shape of a cross, was attached to the fez and hung down over the forehead. A present from her mother-in-law, a woman wore this on her wedding day as a talisman; after the birth of the second or third child, it was removed. For everyday use, homemade dark blue cotton or woolen stockings were worn. The bride's stockings were white and embroidered with tiny stitches on the ankles. The wearing of western-style, shop-bought shoes was adopted quite early on. The costume continued to be worn in Greece as well, but was simplified bit by bit until it was finally abandoned altogether. It belongs to the category of village type costumes.
Source: 40 Greek Folk Costumes from the Dora Stratou Theatre Collection, 1993, pg. 60
The Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society is pleased to announce the expansion of its Greek folk dance instruction with the introduction of the Orpheus Youth Dance Group! Beginning in September, 1998, dance classes will be offered to children 11-14 years of age, where they will be taught traditional folk dances by veteran instructors and members of the Orpheus Dance Troupe.
The children will learn basic dance steps of traditional Greek folk dances of the Greek mainland as well as the islands. Along with dance instruction, special emphasis will be placed on teaching the history of each dance, where the dance originated in Greece and its significance in Greek folk tradition. In addition, selected Greek folk songs will also be taught to the students. There will also be an opportunity for the young dancers to perform what they've learned during the year!
In keeping with its mission of preserving and perpetuating the Greek folk dance tradition, the OHFS feels this young group will provide an excellent opportunity to expose the youth of our community to Greek folk dance, history and traditional folk songs. The OHFS believes it is important for our youth to learn about their Greek heritage and the richness of its culture. The vast dance resources of the OHFS, combined with its experience in applying teaching techniques for this age group, is certain to create an enjoyable learning environment for the youth group!
Dance instruction will begin Thursday, September 24 and continue through May 27. Classes will be held every Thursday from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at River Park in Chicago. The one-year registration fee is $200, which includes all instruction fees, performance fees, costumes and an official Orpheus Dance Troupe T-shirt! For additional information or to register, please call Bessie Grosso at (773)286-5132, Yannis Economou at (847)657-0958 or send an Email. Registration has already begun and class space is limited, so please register early!
The Orpheus Dance Troupe is set to participate in the city's newest summer festival, the second annual "Chicago Summer Dance" held in Grant Park. The popular festival is organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and is an event of free public dancing and dance lessons to a variety of live ethnic music.
Orpheus members Alexander Kapotas and Christina Pagones will be featured on Thursday, July 16 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. teaching various Greek dances, accompanied by music of The Hellenic Five. From 7:30-9:30, festival participants will be able to apply the dance moves they learn during 2 hours of live Greek music under the stars!
"We are delighted to bring back "Chicago SummerDance" after the enthusiastic response from participants and spectators last year," commented Cultural Affairs Commissioner Lois Weisberg. The festival runs Thursday-Sunday evenings July 9 through September 20, and features an eclectic selection of music and dancing, including Afro-Cuban, big band, Brazilian, Celtic, Greek, reggae and salsa (to name a few) accompanied by a selection of Chicago's hottest bands.
Participants will dance under a special lighted pavilion framing the 2,500 square foot open-air dance floor made of recycled plastic and created by Chicago artist Dan Peterman. Food and beverages are available for purchase and a seating area is provided at the site, which is Grant Park's A. Montgomery Ward Garden, across from the Chicago Cultural Center.
The event should prove to be fun for all. For more
information on "Chicago SummerDance," please call (312)744-6630.
During the last weekend of June, the Orpheus Dance Troupe performed at the Greek Festival in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. The festival is sponsored by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Wayne and is one of the biggest summer events in the city, attracting big crowds! As in past years, Orpheus performed both a mainland and island program, including new dances the group recently added to its repertoire.
This is the seventh time Orpheus has participated in the festival and during this period, a special bond has been established between the Troupe members and the Greek community in Fort Wayne. Orpheus instructors have conducted dance workshops for the local church dance group in the past and its director, Michelle Kyrou, has visited Chicago in pursuit of additional resources from OHFS.
The participating group members, after a fun and exhausting
trip that included four performances in very hot and humid weather, returned to Chicago in
the early morning hours on Sunday to prepare for yet another performance at St. Simeon
Serbian Orthodox Church. A very warm thank you is extended to Michelle, the Hellenic
Dancers, and to all members of the Fort Wayne community. We look forward to seeing
you all again next year!
Orpheus has switched to a "frames" style format. A permanent, stationary index will now appear at the left of your screen. This format should make it easier for viewers to navigate the OHFS web site. The following new categories/pages have been added:
Costume Donor Program - information on how you can become a costume donor to help supplement the OHFS costume collection.
Orpheus Youth Group - a new and exciting Greek folk dance program for kids ranging from 11 to 14 years of age. You will find all the details about the Youth Group on this page.
Greek Folk Dance Workshops - this page was created to inform dancers of workshops being conducted throughout the United States, Canada and Greece and will be updated periodically. Please e-mail us with news of upcoming workshops in your area!
Editors Note: The preceding feature "Spotlight On Orpheus Dancer will include short biographical profiles of Orpheus members.