Kypseli
Greek Dance Center
Kypseli Logo


 
Jozef
Life before iTunes
Long-time D.J. Jozef Bilman once juggled two double
cassette decks and brought several cases of cassettes
to Kypseli in a luggage carrier every Friday night. Shown
above after the transition to a laptop.




In 1985, the Intersection Folk Dance café located in Echo Park, near downtown Los Angeles, closed. Several people who wanted to continue to have a place to gather and enjoy Greek dancing got together and formed Kypseli, named after a neighborhood in Athens, and also meaning “beehive” in Greek. While several people volunteered their efforts to launch the new venue, Kypseli was managed by three board members:  Richard “Antoni” Angelos, Kimon Vogassaris, and Jozef Bilman. They soon began dancing every Friday night in Pasadena, northeast of Los Angeles, at Vasa Hall, a vintage building that hosted a Swedish cultural center and offered stage, dining room, kitchen, and a large wooden dance floor.
 
In 2010, Kypseli celebrated its 25
th anniversary in Vasa Hall. But a year later, new owners raised the rent by about 500 percent, and Kypseli was forced to relocate.
 
After brief tenancies in other venues, Kypseli Greek Dance Center opened at its current location at The Tango Room in Sherman Oaks, CA in June, 2011.
 
Kypseli Greek Dance Center is currently managed by a board of about 12 Greek dance enthusiasts who all volunteer their time and energy to keep this unique venue alive.
 
Although Kypseli is not a singles meeting place, at least two marriages have resulted from people who met each other on our dance floor.
 
During its nearly 30 years of providing a place for people to enjoy recreational Greek dancing, the Los Angeles Greek community has seen a resurgence of interest in traditional dances of Greece. This has been due to people such as Kypseli board member Louise Bilman, who initiated the scholarly study of Greek dances in Southern California; to the growth of the annual
Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival, and to other organizations, such as Laografia, and to the EEFC (East European Folklife Center), whose annual camps have included instruction in traditional Greek music, song, and dance.