Lyra Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society Newsletter
      January/February 1997 Edition
Orpheus to Perform at Chicago Diocese YAL Conference
Folk Customs: Kerchiefs and Scarves in  the Greek Regional Costumes (Part 1)
Cretan Music and Dance Workshop
Quotes: "What Greek Dancing Means To Me..."

        Thoughts From Students of the Holy Trinity Socrates Greek/American School
UNICEF Fundraiser
Personal Announcements

Orpheus to Perform at Chicago Diocese YAL Conference

     The Orpheus Dance Troupe is scheduled to perform on Saturday, February 15 during the 14th Annual Greek Orthodox Diocese of Chicago Young Adult League (YAL) Conference being held over the February 14-17 weekend at the Holiday Inn O'Hare International.  The theme of this year's conference is A Labor of Agape (Love), and a variety of religious and social events are scheduled to take place throughout the weekend.

     This is the second time Orpheus has performed for a YAL audience.  In July of 1994, Orpheus was featured during the National YAL Conference held here in Chicago at an event at the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom.  The Chicago Diocese conference is considered the largest YAL gathering after the National Conference and attracts several hundred participants from North America.

          Orpheus will perform as part of the Saturday night event, Taso & Toula's Wedding, a Greek-flavored spoof of the long-running popular Chicago musical, Tony & Tina's Wedding.  Taso & Toula's Wedding will be presented with trademarks of a traditional Greek wedding and Orpheus will appear as part of the wedding's entertainment.  The folk dances and songs that will be featured are performed during the wedding ceremony or express the desire of the young man or woman to find their loved ones.   In addition, audience participation in the wedding should make the evening full of fun and surprises!

           The Orpheus Dance Troupe enthusiastically supports the YAL youth organization and looks forward to participating in future events!

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Folk Customs: Kerchiefs and Scarfs in the Greek Region Costumes (Part I)

          The headdresses in the Greek traditional costumes fall into two large categories: those characterized by the "mandili" (kerchief) and those characterized by the "bolia" (scarf).  The "bolia" or "obolia" is an integral piece of material of varying lengths and widths, examples of which are the "messali" of the Peloponnese, the "panomoustouchia" of Astypalaia, the "fakioli" or "obolia" of Pagoni.

          The "mandili" is a separate square, or approximately square, piece of cloth.  The transition from the scarf to the kerchief seems to have been effected in the last 60 years, as we see in the Peloponnesian costumes, in the costumes of several islands, and in those of the Mesoghia villages of Attica.  The kerchief is an accessory, imported in most cases from abroad to replace the older head covering of homespun material made by joining two oblong, rectangular pieces of fabric lengthwise.  Such headdresses were the "peskiri tis kouloundas" of Asvestochori, the "piskiri" of the "Kapoutzida"(Pylaia), the "doulbeni" and "dartma" of Florina, Macedonia, the old-style kerchief of Kavakli, Eastern Rumelia, the "kephalomandilo" of Karoti, Evros, and   the   "kapra"   of     Episkopi, Naoussa.  The kerchief is often given as a wedding or betrothal present by the groom to the bride and vice-versa, and is worn hanging from the waist, on festive occasions.

          In the men's costumes, the use of the kerchief is a limited one, since men's headdresses are very simple.  We find it in some places wound around the head, as, for instance, in Skyros, where it is called "geranio mandili", or replacing the fez, after the liberation of Greece.  One such kerchief is the Cretan "sariki", a netted kerchief wound around the head.  It is edged with a fringe or with tiny knots, which according to a local legend, symbolize the tears of Crete.  In other places it is used to adorn the "selahi", the belt, or the waist, as is the case in Chios, where a red printed kerchief, folded to form a triangle, is used.  Small handkerchiefs are used by men and women throughout Greece in dancing.  To this day, Greeks living abroad send kerchiefs as presents to friends and relatives at home, and these kerchiefs are worn in the villages with great pride.

          The "bolies" (scarves) are usually individual silk pieces of  material.  They are off-white in color and the two narrow ends are embellished with a thicker weave, or with woven gold stripes.  They are adorned with gold lace, tassels or embroidery.  The "messalia" of Corinthia and Argolis are narrower than the "bolies".  They are woven of cotton thread and are embroidered, on the two narrow ends, with multicolored silk or cotton threads, in a stitch which is often identical on the front and back of the scarf.  The ends are decorated with a fringe and small tassels.  The "messalia" are twisted around the head to form a turban.  We also find the "bolia" used in the headdress of the island of Astypalaia.  The main accessory of the bridal costume of Astypalaia is the "crysomandilo" the "gold kerchief", which gives its name to the entire costume.  The "crysomandilo" consists of a band embroidered with pearls, which adorns the forehead, and over which is worn a gold-embroidered cap.  Over these fall two silk "bolies", the one yellow, without embroidery, the other, the "panomoustouchia", off-white, embroidered all around with silk threads.

          The headdress of the second-best costume of Astypalaia, the "skleta", consists of a hard, wreath-like crown, the gold-embroidered cap, mentioned above, the "first" yellow silk bolia wound around the head, and the "second" bolia, the ends of which are ornamented with a fringe and embroidery, and which like the first, is twisted turban-like around the head.

     Sources:  Lyceum Club of Greek Women 1995 Calendar, "Kerchiefs and Scarves in Greek Regional   Costume", Athens, 1995.
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Cretan Music and Dance Workshop

          Orpheus Dance Troupe members participated in a Cretan holiday music and dance conference on Saturday, December 28th , 1996 at the Cretan-Hellenic Cultural Center in Chicago.  The event, endorsed by the Folk Dance Council of Chicago, was organized by John Parish, a well-known Greek folk dance enthusiast.

          The song and dance instruction throughout the day-long conference was conducted by Cretan-born Lou Gialedakis, of Toronto, Canada.  Mr. Gialedakis is a well-known Cretan folk dance instructor who has been teaching throughout North America for the last 18 years.  Mr. Gialedakis was also the organizer of the tour for the guest musicians who accompanied him and played authentic Cretan music during the workshop and dinner that followed.

          Prior to their appearance in Chicago, guest musicians Michalis Tzouganakis, Georgios Vranakis and Stelios Oikonomakis had been on a three month tour across North America.  These three young musicians have been enjoying immense popularity in Crete.  Michalis Tzouganakis, musician, singer and composer in traditional style, played several instruments in the ute family (laouto, oute).  Georgios Vranakis played the traditional lyra and Stelios Oikonomakis accompanied them on the toumbeleki.

          The dance workshop program included instruction on the basic step, variations, and solo movements of the Cretan Syrtos, Pentozalis and Maleviziotis.  Couples' variations and various choreographic elements were introduced during instruction of the Cretan Sousta.  These dances were then "practiced" in the evening during the dinner dance affair by all.  The highlights of the evening included the breathtaking Cretan Syrto solos by Lou Gialedakis and singer Michalis Tzouganakis.  In addition the song presentation by Mr. Tzouganakis, which included compositions from his latest recordings, brought about a comradeship amongst the participants as they hang on each word sung by these talented artists.  It was apparent that at the conclusion of the evening, each participant took with them, a part of the soul of the existing rich Cretan heritage which was so eloquently presented.

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Quotes:  "What Greek Dancing Means To Me..."
    Thoughts From Students of the Holy Trinity Socrates Greek/American School

          "A Greek celebration would not be complete without some sort of dancing.  Just as a person needs air to breathe and water to drink in order to stay alive, a Greek celebration could not survive without dancing."
  -Diamanto Chiampas, 8th grade

          "The most important musician in ancient Greek culture was Orpheus, whose music had the power to cause inanimate objects to move…I especially like Greek dance and music because to me it means to preserve my Greek customs and heritage."
  -Adamantia Stratton, 7th grade

          "There are many different Greek dances, some are hard to learn and confusing, and others are simple and fun.  Knowing how to dance to Greek music is part of me being Greek…it's part of my culture and I'm proud of it."
  -Angela Polimenakos, 7th grade

          "Greek music is about hope, love and having a good time.  Greek music and dancing make me feel happy, excited, energetic, but most importantly…they make me feel very proud to be Greek!"
  -Maria Andrianakis, 7th grade

          "Greek dancing is a very  important part of Greek festivals.  In Greece, people often wear colorful national costumes at celebrations.  We even have special music and a special name for each Greek dance.  Greek dancing is a beautiful thing."
  -Antonia Mihopoulos, 7th grade

          "I consider myself lucky to be able to learn our folk dancing.  I hope some day I will know our folk dancing well enough to teach others so our heritage of being Hellenic will never be forgotten."
  -Julie Fudukos, 7th grade

          "One thing I like about Greece is its wonderful customs.  I like how on certain holidays, they celebrate freedom with endless nights of dancing, laughter and just plain having fun!"
  -Amalia Theodoropoulos, 7th grade

          "I like dancing because whenever I dance I feel good inside of myself…I like how the rhythm goes and that is because I like how the bouzouki is played in all of the songs."
  -Yiannis Savalis, 7th grade

    Editor's Note: The above were submitted by Vasiliki Kouchoukos- Grosso, Orpheus Dance Troupe member and teacher at Socrates Greek School.
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UNICEF Fundraiser

          Last December, the Orpheus Dance Troupe performed for a fundraiser benefiting UNICEF at Hellas Cafe, in Chicago's Greektown.  The event was hosted by Ms. Evangeline Gouletas, who is also the chairperson for the US Committee for UNICEF/Chicago and co-chairman of American INVSCO Real Estate Co.  The program included acts from several local entertainers.  Among them were Jimmy Damon, opera singer Effie Priovolos, Broadway singer Claire Bathe, 1993 Star Search winner Robin Simone and many more.

          All participating artists donated their services in supporting this worthwhile cause.  Ms. Gouletas thanked the capacity crowd and announced that this event was a prelude to a Gala Dinner Dance celebrating the 50th anniversary of UNICEF that will take place at the Fairmont Hotel on February 15.  This event will include appearances by internationally-known artists Nana Mouskouri and Harry Belafonte with news anchor Bill Kurtis as the emcee.

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Personal Announcements
Congratulations to Sophia Sianis for her first performance with the Orpheus Dance Troupe!
The Orpheus Dance Troupe welcomes Tina Tsinonis who joined the troupe in November.
Happy Birthday  to Kostas and Yannis Economou, who celebrated their 30th birthday last December!
Congratulations  to John and Elizabeth Economou for the baptism of their lovely daughter Katerina last December at the St. Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church.
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