By Catherine Tsounis
“Either dance well or quit the ballroom,” is a Greek proverb. A filled library saw the unique Greek American Folklore Society (GAFS) perform Greek dances in authentic costumes on Monday, April 30th evening in the East Flushing branch, located at 196-36 Northern Blvd., Flushing, New York . The program was free. Persons of all ages attended. “In this time of budget cuts, we try to please our Greek-American community and hold a free musical event,” said Library Manager Florence Leung of the East Flushing branch. Persons of all ages attended.
Authentic traditional Greek instruments such as the flute, clarinet and bouzouki were played to traditional dances from the Aegean islands, Macedonia, central Greece and the Peloponnese. The Society studies, preserves and instructs the history and traditions of Hellenic folk culture. Their website says their “primary focus is on Demotic folk songs and dances, as these reveal both the spirit and materiality of their respective cultures of origins…..We give special attention to all Greek communities lost or forgotten in the Balkans. “
GAFS believes their “performance stands as a vital link between the engraved folk traditions and their contemporary expressions within radically different contexts. They survive not only in memory and legend, but in the dynamic structures which continues to shape the Hellenic identity and the communities of the Diaspora today.”
“This is the second year I am attending the Greek culture event at the East Flushing Library,” said Irene Cheung, co-founder of the Key Luck Club. “The Greek dancing is beautiful. The music reminds me of our Chinese music. We sent a student to participate in the 2011 DIAS International Academic Studies Summer Program stationed at the University of Crete.”
The event was organized by Library Manager Florence Leung. “This was a wonderful performance. The music was lovely. The dancing evoked memories that we all share of Greece. The audience was mesmerized. She has received donations of books for the Greek literature library. The Modern Greek multi-media section is excellent. Her leadership has encouraged persons to be members of her branch. For more information, email: [email protected] or call 718 357-6643.
https://www.emoreiro.com/GAFS/ – Greek American folk lore Society
Photo 1 – Folklore Society dancers and the audience, many who are members of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, adjacent to the library.