Greek Dance Center
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Special Guest Teachers

February 7, 2020
Special Guest teacher from Greece & the U.S.
Nikos Savvidis
Nikos Savvidis
Nikos Savvidis was born in Chrysoupolis, near Kavala, Greece. Nikos’ father played the Pontian lyra, and young Nikos was exposed to Pontian dances and folklore from an early age. He later joined the Dora Stratou Dance Theatre in Athens and toured Greece, Europe and Asia. In 1974 he moved to Los Angeles and became an overnight sensation in the Greek dance community for his highly energetic dance style and interpretation of traditional Pontian dance. He has conducted dance workshops, directed performing groups and served as a judge at FDF from 1985 to 2010.

After living in California for 40 years, teaching Pontian dances all over the United States, Nikos and his wife Ann moved back to Greece and now split their time between his home town of Chrysoupolis, Kavalas, Greece and the West coast of the US. He continues to teach Pontian dances in Greece and builds lyras and other instruments in his home-based workshop.

November 1, 2019
Special Guest teacher from Greece
Christos Papakostas

Christos Papakostas Dr. Christos Papakostas is a scholar, master dance teacher and percussionist. He was born in Larissa (Thessaly). For the past 20 years, he has served as a folklorist, choreographer, dance instructor, and percussion instructor for multiple performing groups in Greece. He has undergraduate degrees in physical education and sport science, with a specialty in Greek traditional dance; his dissertation focused on dances of the Roma (gypsy) community of northern Greece. He has published and presented numerous studies on Greek dance, music, and folklore; has taught at multiple universities in Epirus, Thessaly and Crete; and was the author and editing supervisor for the chapter on “Traditional Greek Dance” in the PE textbook published by the Ministry of Education for use in Greek high schools. He has most recently been named to a position in the Department of Physical Education & Sport Science at the University of Athens, lecturing on the subject of "Traditional Greek Dances."

He served as artistic director of Lykion Ellinidon Dramas (Macedonia) and in several folk dance groups in Karditsa and Larissa (Thessaly); and Komotini (Thrace). At present, he lives in Ioannina and is on the faculty of the Department of Traditional Music at the Epirus Technological Institute. He also is executive director for the Cultural Association of Perama (Epirus). Christos is well known in Hellenic circles in Europe and North America and has taught at dance seminars in Belgium, France, the U.K., and the U.S. He has served twice as judge for the Folk Dance Festival (FDF) competition hosted by the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco and has taught Greek performing groups in California, Chicago, and Toronto. 

May 10, 2019
Special Guest teacher from Greece
Agis Tsakalakos

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Closing ceremonies, Olympic Games, 2004

Agis Tsakalakos joined the Lykeion Ton Ellinidon of Kalamata, Greece, when he was only 13 years old. He has since participated in dance presentations throughout Europe and the Mediterranean and performed for a global audience in the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. He will be teaching dances of the Peloponnese.

September 28, 2018
Special Guest teacher from Greece
Nikos Zournatzidis

Pasted Graphic Nikos Zournatzidis is the pre-eminent authority on Pontian Dance. He has conducted research on Pontian dance, culture and history and is the author of “Horeftikes Diadikasies Kai Horoi Tou Pontou.” (Procedures for Dance of Pontos.) He is director of Serra, the Pontian dance group in Athens. Born in the village of Kechrokambos, near Kavala, he literally grew up with Pontic music and dances. From 1971 to 1979, he danced with the Dora Stratou Theatre, and he directed their Pontic suite. Mr. Zournatzidis teaches at many Pontian associations, including the Lykeion Ellinidon. He has presented Pontian dance traditions all over the world -- in France, Bulgaria, Denmark, Jordan, India, South Africa, Turkey, Russia, and Germany.

November 10, 2017

Special Guest teacher
George Papangellin

George Papangellin traces his family roots to Arcadia and Achaea in the central part of the Peloponnese, a region that spawned heroes of the Greek War of Independence and became the heart and soul of the Tsamiko dance.

George began dancing in 1974 with the Ionian Dancers at St. Nicholas parish in San Jose. He helped start the Parnassos Dancers for Holy Cross parish, Belmont in 1981. He has since directed dance groups in Northern California including the Epirus Dancers at St. Nicholas in San Jose and the Ke Dancers at St. George.

He stage directed various Greek variety performances in San Jose, San Francisco, Phoenix, Fresno and Seattle. In Fresno, he choreographed “Zorba, the musical” for The Good Company Players.

He has served as a dance judge for the Greek FDF (Folk Dance Festival) of California, the HDF (Hellenic Dance Festival) in Atlanta, and the American Greek Dance Competition in Chicago.

April 28, 2017
Special Guest teacher from Greece
Anna Mavrou
Pasted Graphic Anna Mavrou has been involved with traditional folk dance and singing since the age of 6. Born in Thessaloniki, she grew up on the island of Kalymnos and currently lives with her family in Kalamata. She performed with the Lykeion of Greek Women in Kalymnos and has been a singer and dancer in the Lykeion in Kalamata, performing at festivals in Greece and abroad. She has taught traditional dances and songs of Kalymnos and the Dodecanese islands at seminars in Greece, Canada, and Germany.

IMG_0031 Joe Graziosi is one of the foremost authorities in the U.S. on traditional Greek dance. Of Thracian Greek and Italian heritage, he grew up in the Greek community, experiencing traditional dancing from an early age. His exceptional knowledge and vast repertoire have made him much in demand, and he has taught worldwide.

Joe began his formal pursuit of the study, documentation, and promulgation of traditional Greek dance during a semester-abroad program in Athens where he worked with the noted folklorist Ted Petrides (1975). Concurrent with his research in 1978 and 1980, he directed the Meraklides Folkd Dance Troupe. In 1982, under the sponsorship of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ethnic Folk Arts Center, he directed the Greek Music Tour. He was also principal editor and author of an accompanying booklet on Greek music, dance and instrumentation.

From 1983 to 1989, Joe was co-founder and instructor and dance for the Greek-American Folklore Society of Astoria, NY. Since 1984, he has taught traditional folk and urban dances of the Greek peoples for various organizations throughout the United States, Canada and Japan, including major dance camps, weekend seminars, and retreats for both professional and amateur dance troupes as well as social clubs, community and church groups, and folk dance organizations all over the United States.

In 1990, Joe was invited to teach Greek dance in Japan and Taiwan, returning in 1992, 2003 and 2005. Joe was also a guest lecturer on Greek dance and music for the ethnomusicology departments of the Universities of California Los Angeles and Santa Barbara (UCLA and UCSB). Since 1985, he has served as advisor and judge for the annual Folk Dance Festival (FD) held under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of the Western States.

Kostas Mitsis Kostas Mitsis grew up in the area of Preveza, Epirus, where traditional dance and music held a significant role in his everyday life. He has been teaching traditional folk dancing in folk dance schools in Thessaloniki, Preveza and Athens since 1997 and performs with the Lykeion ton Ellinidon of Athens.

Kostas is continuously doing research on Greek traditions in the areas of Epirus, Preveza, Syrrako, Metsovo, Konitsa, Zagori, Mourgana, Pogoni and Souli as well as Grevena and among refugees from Asia Minor in the region of Preveza. Kostas has conducted many seminars and symposia on traditional Greek dance in Greece, Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia and the Middle East.

He also organizes annually the biggest folk dance seminar in Greece in Preveza villages the 1st weekend of July.

Yannis-dancing-at-Kostas-Hotel-2004-CROPPED (1) Yannis Konstantinou has hosted seminars in the Lake Prespa region of NW Greece every August, attracting hundreds of international dance enthusiasts.

His passion for traditional music and dance began in his childhood, dancing with his family in his parents’ villages of Alona and Akrites in the Florina region of Greece. Today, his knowledge extends beyond that of the Greek Macedonian people indigenous to the area. Since 1990 he has conducted research on the impacts on Florina dances due to the migration of social groups and ethnic minorities, such as Vlachs, Sarakatsani, and refugees from Thrace and Asia Minor, to northwest Greece.

In 1994 Yannis produced an LP: The Musical Tradition of Florina, in collaboration with the Center of Greek Tradition. He is president and artistic director of the “Lygkistes” Cultural Association and a founding member of The Academy of Traditional Folklore Dance and Music located in Athens, Greece.

Kyriakos Kyriakos Moisidis is one of the most sought-after teachers of traditional Greek dance for his exceptional expertise as well as his superb skill as a dance teacher. He has conducted field research on village traditions and dances of Pontos, Cappadokia, Asia Minor and North Greece (Macedonia and Thrace) and teaches dance at the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki. He has organized and participated in hundreds of performances in Greece and abroad, and he hosts an annual 10-day summer dance conference in Greece which is well attended by dancers from around the world.

Nikos Savvidis Nikos Savvidis was born in Chrysoupoulis, near Kavala, Greece. Nikos’ father played the Pontian lyra, and young Nikos was exposed to Pontian dances and folklore from an early age. He later joined the Dora Stratou Dance Theatre in Athens and toured Greece, Europe and Asia. He moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s and became an overnight sensation in the Greek dance community for his highly energetic dance style and interpretation of traditional Pontian dance. He has conducted dance workshops, directed performing groups and served as a judge at FDF from 1985 to 2010. He currently resides in Chrysoupoulis.