Orpheus Dance Instructors

Yannis Economou, Principal Instructor Kostas Economou, Principal Instructor  

Yannis Economou
Principal Instructor

Kostas Economou
Principal Instructor

Andoni Platis
Principal Instructor



Jillian Economy
Nea Genia and Youth Instructor

Christina Kokoris
Youth Instructor
Athena Baharopoulos
Youth Instructor
Nikki Tsolakidis
Youth Instructor

Orpheus has focused on carrying out its mission by educating both Greek and non-Greek communities concerning the richness of the Hellenic folk culture and heritage through folk dance performances, dance workshops and lectures.  Set forth below are the biographies of Orpheus' instructors.

John Economou, Principal Instructor Constantine Economou, Principal Instructor

Yannis and Kostas Economou grew up in Athens Greece and came to Chicago in 1984.  Their first organized Greek folk dance experience was with the troupe of a local Greek church.  The instructor, Nikos Kourtis, was a 15-year veteran of the Lyceum of Greece Dance Theater of Thessaloniki.  In 1989, Mr.  Kourtis, Yanni and Constantine founded the Orpheus Dance Troupe.  Following Mr. Kourtis’ departure to Greece in 1991, Yannis and Kostas carried out the leadership and responsibilities of the Troupe.

As the principal instructors of Orpheus, Yanni and Kostas conduct the beginners, intermediate and advanced levels of instruction on a weekly basis.  They have continuously increased the Troupe’s repertoire of dances by their participation in various Greek folk dance workshops in the USA, Canada and Greece.

Together with Marianna Damianides-Gudmundsson, Yannis Economou has been awarded an Illinois Arts Council Grant for 1996- 1997, for his work in maintaining and expressing the Greek community’s aesthetic heritage and tradition, in addition to the preservation of the state’s cultural heritage.


Andoni Platis was born and raised in sunny Tucson, AZ and has been dancing since the age of 6. His family is from the area of northern Peloponessos, more specifically the district of Kalavryta. Andoni has taught Greek dance for over 8 years for the parish of St. Demetrios in Tucson, instructed other parishes and dance troupes, and has participated as director and dancer at the Greek Folk Dance festival winning numerous awards. In addition, he has done field research in the areas of Crete, Naxos, Mykonos, and Paros and has attended more than half a dozen workshops spanning all areas of Greece. His favorite areas of Greek dance are Cretan, island, and Pontic, with a particular emphasis on how Greek cultural traditions influence the Greek religious traditions and vice versa. Andoni is a graduate from the University of Arizona, having attained a Bachelors in Speech and Hearing Sciences and Classics and a Masters degree in Medical Pharmacology. His favorite dances are Maleviziotikos (Crete) and Pano Choros (Karpathos).

Jillian (Ioulia) Economy has been a member of Orpheus since 2008. She first fell in love with Greek folk dancing at St. Nectarios, where she attended Greek School and participated in the Greek Dance program for eight years. Jillian participated in the Orpheus Youth Group and was the recipient of the Dina Sianis Merit Award in 2010. She has also competed with the Youth Group at AGDC in 2010, with Nea Genia at HDF in 2014, with Nea Genia and the Adult group at HDF in 2015 in 2017, and with the Adult group at HDF in 2018. Jillian currently dances with the Adult Group. This is her eighth year as an Instructor of the first-year students and her first year instructing Nea Genia.
Jillian has played the violin and danced ballet since she was three years of age. She was selected as a finalist in the Metropolis of Chicago Fotis Litsas Greek Essay Contest, the Three Hierarchs Award of Excellence, and the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival. Jillian is an Industrial Engineer and works in the northwest suburbs.

Christina Kokoris joined the Youth Group in 2008. Growing up, she saw her brother participate in the group and knew it was something she wanted to do as well. Christina was the recipient of the Dina Sianis Merit Award in 2013, participated at HDF in 2014, 2015, 2016 and looking forward to attend HDF 2017 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She has been playing the flute and singing since she was nine. Christina currently dances with Nea Genia and the Adult groups, and she is a college freshman at DePaul University in Chicago.

Athena Baharopoulos has been dancing with Orpheus since 2012 but has been Greek dancing since a very young age. Growing up, she was exposed to Greek dancing as her older brother and sister were her role models. For three years, Athena did volunteer work for St. John's the Baptist by teaching children from kindergarten to high school Greek dancing. One of her proudest moments was when she received the Dina Sianis Merit Award in 2017 and joined the Orpheus 'Nea Genia' group. Athena is proud of her half Macedonian and half Thracian roots. She loves every kind of Greek dance but her favorite types are Pontian, Thracian, and Macedonian. Athena is currently a Sophomore at Maine South High School. Her other hobbies include swimming, badminton, art, and biology.

Nikki Tsolakidis started Greek dancing when she was just 7 years old, but joined Orpheus in 2014, when she was 12. She has developed a strong love for Greek dancing ever since. Nikki is a freshman at Loyola University in Chicago, where she is a part of the Hellenic Student Association. She is very proud of her Macedonian and Pontian roots and especially enjoys doing dances from those regions of Greece. Nikki is honored to have received the Dina Sianis Merit Award in 2018 and loves doing anything to further preserve her Greek culture. Being in Nea Genia has been an amazing experience of Nikki's and she's excited to be participating in yet another HDF this year. Other hobbies of Nikki's include singing and figure skating.


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