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Orpheus Participates in “Horepse ‘09” Dance Conference

What’s better than a weekend full of Greek music and dancing? A weekend of Greek music and dancing in Las Vegas! Recently, members of OHFS participated in the third annual “Horepse” Greek folk dance conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. This was the third year of the conference, which gains popularity among Greek folk dance fans every year. Dance workshops and activities were held at the St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church—a beautiful church with spacious facilities and a very warm and welcoming parish.

Dance instructors Kyriakos Moisidis and Katerina Asteriou-Kavazi were the “stars” of the weekend. Both Kyriako and Katerina flew in from Greece to participate in the conference and demonstrate dances from the various parts of Macedonia. Macedonian dances are particularly significant for Katerina, since her family has ties to villages in the region of Drama, and her pride for her roots was evident she demonstrated several dances from that area. Kyriako concentrated on dances from the regions of Goumenissa and Giannitsa. Despite the fact that all the dances demonstrated were from Macedonia, it was interesting to see that there were several differences in the style and execution of the dances. The dances were fun to learn and it was interest- ing to hear the stories behind and backgrounds of some of the dances. On the second day of the conference, Katerina gave a slide show presentation of the customs and traditions of her native village of Petroussa, lending a level of depth to her dance demonstrations and allowing the workshop participants to better understand how certain dances originated.

There was a strong turnout as conference participants came from all over the United States and Canada. During the breaks, lunches and Saturday night “glendi”, there were plenty of opportunities to re-connect with old friends, as well as several chances to make new friends with fellow dance enthusiasts. The evening glendi was held in the church hall, in the same space where the workshops were held during the day. However, that night the hall had been transformed into an elegant din- ing area and the guests were treated to plenty of delicious food, drinks and, quite possibly the best part: a variety of desserts! A definite highlight of the evening was the excellent band that played practically non-stop all night! Band members included Georgios Deliolanis (trumpet), Yannis Mavros (clarinet) and Tasoula Kosmidou (percussion) who flew in from Greece for the occasion, complemented by local musicians Lise Leipman (accordion) and Hector Bezanis (gaida).

The band started playing during dinner, and several guests abandoned their dinner plates prematurely to jump onto the dance floor and kick up their heels. Regardless if the day’s workshops had depleted your energy, or no matter how satiated you were from the abundant dinner buffet, the band’s repertoire soon got everyone on their feet and the dance floor was packed in no time. It was amazing to see the connection that the dancers had with the music. Incredibly, many of them were so revved up, they continued dancing with such animated

joy and self-expression well into the night. In fact, most people watching these hard core dancers from their seats eventually “absorbed” some of that infectious energy, and soon found their way back on the dance floor.

Just when you thought you were too pooped from the workshops to do anything else, the Vegas Strip starts calling your name. The dizzying lights, colorful crowds and an astonishing array of sights and sounds offered all the stimulation necessary to revive us after the workshops and allow us to explore some of the excitement the city had to offer.

Much credit and many thanks go to the organizers and volunteers of this event. Their hard work and love of Greek folk dance and music was quite obvious, playing a significant role in the success of the conference. Now it’s time to pass on the rich dance material and traditions learned from that weekend to our own dance group members, allowing the timeless art of Greek folk dancing to continue for many more years to come!

Joe Graziosi Review:

Las Vegas and Greek Dance. Can you beat the combination? After a two year hiatus, everybody's favorite Greek Dance Seminar, "Horepse", is back with a promise of fun, fest and feast. With dance lessons from among Greece's foremost teachers of traditional dance, in a beautiful gymnasium floored community hall, with live music from some of the best practitioners of regional Greek music both in the States and Greece and with our hostess with the mostess, Bessie Stavropoulos, Horepse will deliver an experience to remember and to look forward to for years to come. I am especially excited about this year's first time teachers , Christos Papakostas, teaching dances from Iraklia (Tzoumayia), Serres, Macedonia and Angelos Nikolaides, teaching dances of his fellow Gagavuz Thracians. Live music will be provided by, Ziyia, Greek America's own kefi inducing band whose wide range of music and instrumentation will once again, as it has for some 20 odd years, have everyone up and dancing from the slow soul filled tunes of Epiros to the swaying tunes of the Aegean, from the high energy of a Thracian gaida to the tsamiko invitations of the clarinet. So it's Vegas or bust, margaritas and merakia.

Joe Graziosi (bringing you Greek Dance since 1982)

Greekdancing.org Forum Post

 A belated thank you to all that assisted with the Las Vegas conference (Bessie etc, plus Sam and all the helpers at the kitchen! :D ).
We had a great time, it was great seeing some familiar faces and making some new acquaintances.
The instructors were as good as they can get, Kyriako showing dances from Giannitsa and Goumenissa and the spirited presence of Katerina who showed dances from Drama.
Of course the glendi night featured some fantastic music and musicians, Giorgo (trumpet), Yanni (clarinet, was also in Seattle when Yannis Manou group was there) and Tasoula (percussion).
Lise (accordion) from Ziyia and Hector (gaida) complimented the All-star caliber team.

by KostasE » Thu Dec 03, 2009