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
Astero Metropoulos
Youth Instructor
Konstantinos Alikakos
Youth Instructor
Athena Baharopoulos
Youth Instructor
Nikki Tsolakidis
Youth Instructor
Jordan Alexander
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.  In addition, they are responsible for the instruction of the male dancers and the particular steps and improvisations that are characteristic of dances performed by men only.  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.

Astero Metropoulos joined the Orpheus community when her brother started dancing with Orpheus in 2006. Her fondness for Greek dancing and the music that accompanies it grew when her brother would return home after practice and teach her everything he had learned from his instructors. In 2007, Astero and her family joined Orpheus on their trip to Kalamata, Greece. The trip only heightened her love and appreciation for her Greek heritage. She decided to strengthen her pride by joining Orpheus at the age of nine in 2008. Astero has since participated in three out of state competitions. She decided to combine her passion for Greek dancing and her goal of becoming a registered dietitian for children and young adults by joining the Orpheus instructors team. This year will be her second year as an apprentice instructor, and she could not be more thrilled. Astero is a college freshman at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Konstantinos (Dino) Alikakos has been dancing since the age of 10 starting at his home parish of St. Spyridon in Palos Heights. His family is all from the Laconia region of Peloponnesos and he prides himself greatly that he is 100% Spartan.
He has been a member of Orpheus for several years, climbing through the groups and now participating in Nea Gennia, Adult group and the Music Group. He has attended numerous dance festivals in the United States and Canada including the Hellenic Dance Festival, the Midwest Hellenic Dance Festival and Laografia in Montreal. His favorite regions are Naxos and Mykonos.
His favorite dances include Naxiotiko Ballos, Skoupa (Katsedama), and Sykathistos from Anatoliki Romilia.
Dino is a student at Loyola University Chicago studying Biology with a Pre-Med Track.

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 sophomore at Lane Tech, where she is an officer of the Hellenic Club and teaches her peers dances from different regions of Greece. 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 HDF this year. Other hobbies of Nikki’s include singing and figure skating.

Jordan Alexander has been part of Orpheus since 2012, but has been dancing at a much younger age. Since then, he is the only member in the entirety of Orpheus to be part of the Youth group, Nea Genia, and adult group all at the same time. Receiving the Dina Sianis award in 2014 has been a very humble step in his dance career as he continues to dance with the burning passion he has had for so many years.
He has participated in many dance competitions and conferences between the United States and Canada, one of them being the Hellenic Dance Festival every year since 2014. He recently became a committee member for the Midwest Hellenic Dance Festival in early 2018, and has had the chance to perform with other groups here in the United States in which he has met many lifelong friends. Jordan graduated from College of DuPage to receive his Associate’s in Science, and is currently a junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago studying Kinesiology, hoping to pursue a career in Physical Therapy.


Last revised:
10/27/18 07:41:42 AM