Upper Darby, PA – With arms raised high and pride in their hearts the Pontian Akritai dance troupe of Philadelphia, strutted their stuff to a packed hall at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. You could feel the floor shaking as the dancers shook and leaped on the dance floor. The 77th annual dance attracted Pontian music fans from all over the northeastern corridor, including, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania to the hall just on the edge of Delaware County. Just a block away, the Pontian clubhouse was the scene of a muhabet the evening before, that brought out hardcore Pontian music aficionados.
The Pontian Akritai clubhouse is the oldest Black Sea organization and hosts the biggest dance in North America. “Tonight we are a Tsunami. Every year we show how passionate we are here in Philadelphia about our Pontian music”, said Spyro Karolides of Pat’s Pizza.
Each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving the Akritai of Philadelphia host the largest Greek dance of the year. The Pontian event takes both halls up with they put on their event. More than 750 attendees came out to the star-studded music performance that featured Seizmos Music (formerly Atlantis of Philadelphia) that now feature a double bouzoukia players and new lead singer Evan Karas on vocals. They opened the evening with laika and got the crowd on their feet dancing.
Following the Akritai Pontian dance troupes performance, the event featured singers Stathis Pavlidis and Giannis Gavriilidis from Greece. The brought the traditional sounds of Pontos to life sharing the stage. Gavrilidis even marched through the crowd singing and dancing along with the guests. Musicians, Christos Tiktakpanidis on lyra, Vasilis Tekeoglou, and Giannis Tataridis on clarino, Babis Almazidis on daouli and Kostas Fetfatsidis on aggeio added to multi-musical talents.
The annual event supports the Pontian clubhouse and funds the Akritai Pontian Dance troupe that performs all over the Delaware Valley and on the road at other festivals/dances.