Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society Newsletter
|Previous issues of Lyra
|See the PDF version (460K)
|Youth Group kicks off Another Exciting Year for 2003-2004
|The Tradition of "Kaggelari" at the Village of Papadates
|Yasoo! 2003 Dance Conference, Seattle
|Winter Dance Conference 2004, New York
|Traveling in Greece
|Spotlight on Orpheus Dancer
Group Kicks off
Another Exciting Year for 2003-2004
|The beginning of the 2003-2004 year for the Orpheus Youth Group has been the most impressive ever! Registration reached record levels as almost 80 children joined the ranks of the group! It is very heartwarming and encouraging to see so many young faces being excited to learn about their Hellenic culture and history.
The Orpheus Youth Group was established six years ago as one of the many programs supported by the Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society. It is open for children ages 10-14 and currently two, north suburban, branches operate weekly from September through May. The group's first appearance will be at the Museum of Science and Industry�s annual "Christmas Around the World" festival. They will perform on Saturday, December 13 at 2:45 p.m. Along with the dances to be presented that day, will be two seasonal folk carols from the islands of Astypalea and Patmos. Both islands are located in the Dodecanese island region of southeastern Greece. The Orpheus Adult Group will also perform at the festival.
This year's Youth Group instructors are Alexander Kapotas, Kostas Economou, Bessie Kouchoukos-Grosso, Yannis Economou, Pinelopi Logothetis, and Marianna Damianides-Gudmundsson. Barbara Dallas, along with Youth Group alumni Joanna Chiotis and Patricia Minakakis will be assisting. This year's instructional material will include a wide variety of folk dances and songs from regions throughout Greece. Our goal is to create an environment in which youth members feel comfortable expressing the steps and style of each dance. In addition, members� understanding of the geographical and cultural history of Greece will be enhanced. Let's all have another great year!
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Tradition of Kaggelari at the
Village of Papadates, Epirus
by Aggeliki Siargos
|I remember sitting on my grandmother�s balcony on Easter Sunday in the small village of Papadates, located in the southwest corner of Epirus, Greece. During the early evening, I heard church bells ringing throughout the entire village. These bells signaled to everyone that the time had come to gather in the plateia (town square) to begin the annual dancing of the Kaggelari. This was the first of six consecutive days that this event would occur.
The Kaggelari is the local dance of the village of Papadates. People dance it whenever there is an occasion to celebrate events such as holidays, weddings or festivals. There are approximately 50 different songs for the Kaggelari dance, each with the same rhythm and step but different lyrics specific to the particular occasion. There is also the traditional Kaggelari song, which is danced at every celebration. This song is believed to have originated in the town of Grevena. It is the only song that differs in rhythm although the step is still the same. The leader of the Kaggelari dance, called the Kaggelari, must be an older respected member of the village. He is the only one who can break away from the line and add his own variations to the dance.
It was an amazing sight to see all the people gathered together in the plateia. People traveled from neighboring villages just to see the Kaggelari danced. The line was nearly 300 people strong and all of them were joined at the hands with their fingers interlocked. The older men of the village led the line wearing the traditional foustanela costume. The rest of the men followed, lined up in order from oldest to youngest. Next were the women and at the end of the line were children, some of whom were as young as 2 years old. The older men who sang so loudly that their voices could be heard throughout the entire square initiated the singing. Everyone else in the line then repeated what was just sung. The dancing lasted for about one hour each day. As long as they had a leader, not even the pouring rain would have stopped the people of Papadates from singing and dancing.
I remember walking back to the house feeling overwhelmed by what I had just experienced. I had never seen a group of people put aside all their responsibilities to join together full of pride and ready to celebrate the festive day. I was anxious for the next day to arrive when I would have another opportunity to dance the Kaggelari.
Many had the opportunity to see this dance performed earlier this year at the 2003 Festival of Greek Music and Dance, Easter Traditions and Customs. It was an honor to be able to teach the Kaggelari to my fellow dancers and to introduce them to a part of our Greek culture that they otherwise would not have known. Being on stage with them, in front of a large audience, while singing and dancing the Kaggelari was a proud moment for them, the entire village of Papadates and myself.
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|Yasoo! 2003 Dance Conference
The Yasoo 2003 dance conference in Seattle was a unique and memorable experience. Two dance groups from Greece, along with musicians and instructors, conducted workshops, performed in traditional attire and offered endless entertainment during the social events. The group Aristotelis from the town of Florina (region of Macedonia) and the dance group from the village of Asvestades (region of Thrace) offered sights, sounds and special moments that will stay with the participants for a long time.
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Dance Conference 2004,
by Spiros Spirou
custom of �Yennitsaroi and Boules� from the city of Naoussa in
Macedonia and Carnival customs from Central Greece and Epiros will be the
focus of Winter Dance Conference 2004. The conference will be held in New
York City from January 30 to February 1.
Our instructors will be
Takis Baitsis and Christos Tsitis from the group �Yiannitsaroi and
Boules� of Naousa, Macedonia; Nikolaos Liondos and Ioannis Koutsoumbas
from the Music and Literary Association �Skoufas�
of Arta; and Nancy Harmanda and George Kotsos from Athens.
Mr. Baitsis is the president of the Historical and Folklore Museum of Naousa and president emeritus of the Yennitsaroi and Boules Association. He is the author of several books on the folklore and history of Naousa, as well as a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers.
Mr. Tsitsis joined the
Yiannitsaroi and Boules Association and began dancing at the age of 4. In
1989 he became an instructor at �Yiannitsaroi and Boules�, as well as
the local group of nearby Episkopi. While teaching in Belgium, he founded
the dance group of the Association of Macedonians of Belgium.
Liondos graduated from the Department of Physical Education of the
University of Athens, specializing in traditional dance. Since 1992 he has
been the instructor of �Skoufas�, as well as other groups around Arta.
He has conducted extensive research in Epirus and the villages surrounding
Arta, where he led the research team of �Skoufas� to document the
Mr. Koutsoumbas studied at
the Academy of Physical Education. A longtime member of �Skoufas�, he
currently serves as vice-president of �Skoufas� and director of the
Historical and Folklore Museums of Skoufas. He is also on the editorial
board of the annual journal of �Skoufas�.
Ms. Harmanda and Mr.
Kotsos are already well known on the East Coast, having previously taught
in Montreal, New York and at the Winter Dance Conference 2003 in Atlanta.
Both began their careers in Greek folklore in the early 1970s as members
of the �Lykeion ton Hellenidon� in Athens. They rose to become
instructors while maintaining their positions in the performing group.
Together they have directed or co-directed numerous performances to wide
acclaim, including at the prestigious Odeon of Herod Atticus by the
For more information concerning the conference, please contact Spiro Spirou at 718-726-8985, email@example.com, or check the conference website at www.wdc2004.org.
by Vasiliki Grosso
This summer my daughter, Catherine Grosso, was selected by the Counsel General of Greek Education affairs to attend a program for children of Greek descent. The program, sponsored by the University of Crete in Rethymnon, invites children to attend classes for three weeks in history, language, arts, music, dance and theater. The purpose of the program is to encourage children to explore their roots and connections with Greece. It also allows them to meet children from all over the world. "I knew Greeks lived all over the world, but I have met friends I will have forever,� remarked Catherine. In addition to classes, the children had a chance to visit places of interest throughout Crete.
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|Spotlight on Orpheus Dancer...
Des Plaines, Illinois
My mother was born in Ahladokambo, Argolidos and my father was born in Lagadia, Arkadias.
|Time Dancing with Orpheus Group:
|Thoughts on Dancing:
Dancing is a form of expression that one can free their spirits. I have found Greek dancing to do just that. It is a way I can experience my heritage first hand and learn how my ancestors expressed their different emotions. Greek dancing is the hidden language of the Greek soul.
Kori Eleni because of its quick-moving, unique steps.
|Most Vivid OHFS Memory:
My most vivid memory would have to be the 2003 Festival because it was my first festival performance with the large group and live band from Greece. That night we made the music become visible. We became the music and showed the audience our passion for Greek dancing.
|Favorite Greek Dish:
Tiropites (cheese pies).
|Favorite Place in Greece:
Island of Siros.
Soccer, Chanting, Dancing, Theater (Ancient Tragedies).
|Nobody knows I:
Have been playing the violin since 3rd grade.
|Best childhood memory:
When I had gone to Boston one summer to visit family.
|Dream vacation/the perfect weekend:
|I'm currently looking for/forward to:
|I stay home to watch:
Antenna Satellite TV.
My family, heritage, and religion.
|Where I heard about Orpheus Dance Troupe:
From my Greek school dance teacher, Mrs. Sianis. Just as Mrs. Sianis encouraged me to join, I too encourage you all to participate. Not only will you learn how to dance but you will also get the chance to meet wonderful people and work with talented teachers. This is what I believe makes Orpheus special.
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