Cherry Hill, NJ – For nearly half a century now, the Hellenic Heritage Dance group of St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church, has been performing and perpetuating Greek dance. On Saturday night the members of past and present united at the Danielle Kousoulis Greek Culture Center to celebrate this milestone in the churches history.
In 1974 the dream of Mrs. Klio Kokolis was to cultivate, perpetuate and preserve Greek heritage and culture through the art of Greek folk dancing. The dream came to fruition when she began her first dance practice in the cultural center. Twenty young people from the church were members of the first Hellenic Heritage Dance group. Since then, Mrs. Kokolis has taught hundreds and hundreds of young people the art of Greek folk dancing.
From ages 13-50, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons took to the floor. Performing dances from all over the motherland, Greece, they beamed as the crowd proudly looked on. It was a special night that celebrated their community, history and their love of culture.
Kokolis introduced each song with a historical outline of its origins and its meaning. Rotating groups appeared from behind a folk outfit backdrop in original recreated folk attire and performed each dance as it was originally done. Each dance is taught by Kokolis, who learned the authentic dances from The teachers and dancers of Dora Stratiou, Vagelli Dimoudis and his wife Natassa former top dancers and teachers of Dora Stratou.