22ND ANNUAL HELLENIC DANCE FESTIVAL CELEBRATED IN ATLANTA
ATLANTA, Ga. - A record 3,000 participants gathered Jan. 13-16 at the Marriott Marquis in Downtown Atlanta to attend the 22nd annual Hellenic Dance Festival (HDF). The Metropolis of Atlanta-sponsored event hosted record numbers from across its Metropolis and beyond. Participants included 48 dance groups representing parishes from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, and Kansas. HDF also welcomed for the first time groups from New York and Nebraska. The weekend was highlighted by the attendance and participation of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, His Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, Archdeacon Dionysios, Deacon Petros, and Archdiocese Youth Director Eva Konstantakos.
“This year’s weekend theme ‘Ascend’ was fitting as each year HDF has grown in numbers,” said Father Sampson Kasapakis, Hellenic Dance Festival Chairman. “Even with over 3000 participants this year, we have not and will not lose focus on what is important: our love for God and the passion for continuing and preserving our faith and cultural traditions.”
HDF is organized by an executive committee and a 14-person festival implementation team. The event aims to bring together Orthodox families through dance, music and fellowship to perpetuate the rich Hellenic Orthodox tradition. The weekend theme “ASCEND” was woven into spiritual workshops throughout the event. Attendees also participated in an HDF-wide service project. Through generous donations from individuals and parishes, they packed over 2023 health kits and toys for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
In addition to full days of competition on Saturday and Sunday, attendees participated in an opening ceremony on Friday evening, with remarks and an Agiasmos by His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios. On Sunday morning, the entire Metropolis family gathered to celebrate a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros. The weekend culminated on Sunday evening with a red carpet themed awards ceremony, which was followed by socializing and dancing well into Monday morning. Live music for the Saturday and Sunday glendia were provided by folk musicians from across the U.S. as well as from Thessaloniki, Crete, and Ioannina, Greece.
The event was enhanced by a prestigious panel of dance and costume judges from the U.S. and Greece representing decades of Greek folk dance research and teaching. At Sunday’s awards banquet, medals were awarded for dance, choral performance, costumes and folk expression in each of eight competitive categories. Platinum (first place) medal winners included: Primary Category: Ta Manoussakia, Annunciation, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Advanced Primary Category: Elliniki Psihi, Saints Constantine and Helen, Hampton Roads, Virginia, Junior Category: Asteria, Annunciation, Atlanta, Georgia, Advanced Junior Category: Oi Dopyoi, Annunciation, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Intermediate Category: Ellinopoula, Saints Constantine and Helen, Hampton Roads, Virginia, Advanced Intermediate Category: Alhimeia, Holy Trinity, Charlotte, North Carolina, Senior Category: Afieroma, St. Elizabeth, Gainesville, Florida., Advanced Senior Category: Enosis, Saints Constantine and Helen, Hampton Roads, Va. The annual Metropolitan Alexios Philotimo Award was given to the parish of St. John the Baptist in Omaha, Nebraska.
The 2024 Hellenic Dance Festival will be held in Orlando, Florida. Interested in learning more about HDF? Visit www.HellenicDanceFestival.com.
The Hellenic Dance Festival, based on the vision and dream of His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios, began in 2000. Traveling to various cities throughout the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta, the Hellenic Dance Festival has grown into a true family event. Held annually on MLK Jr. weekend, it allows participants to join together as brothers and sisters in Christ. Our religion, our Greek language, and our culture help us maintain our identity as Hellenes. The need for our communities to perpetuate our culture, along with the philosophy of ancient Greece and the Olympic spirit of "a healthy mind in a healthy body" were instrumental in the vision of His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios to establish the Hellenic Dance Festival.
Photo: YS Photography