A Two-Part Performance Celebrating Regional Greek Wedding Traditions
& an Assortment of Dances from Throughout the Greek World!
Holmdel, NJ – The nationally famous Hellenic Dancers of New Jersey (HDNJ) present its Annual Taverna Night performance, Sunday, March 22, 2015, at Holmdel High School Theater, 36 Crawfords Corner Road in Holmdel. Beginning at 3 pm, the audience will experience the various wedding traditions of Greece through the medium of dance. Light refreshments will be available for purchase during intermission. All proceeds from the event will support HDNJ in preserving the folk dance customs of Greece, and perpetuating Greek heritage in America. Funding from the event will also support the dance troupe’s 2015 touring schedule. Tickets will be available at the door, however, advance reservations can be made by contacting Cheryl Bontales, 732.796.1006; [email protected] Tickets range from $20 – $25 dollars. This event is funded in part by the Hellenic Dancers of New Jersey, Inc., and New Jersey State Council on the Arts – Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Spiro Petroutsos, Co-Artistic Director comments upon the depth of research that is necessary for a performance like this, “I am excited to share a new theme with our audience this year. We always conduct research to perpetuate our culture and this uniquely talented organization. This year we wanted to apply what we have gathered to bring a new experience to our supporters.” This “new experience” takes the audience on a journey throughout all of Greece with traditional folk dances that take place before, during, and after one of the most joyous events of all – Weddings. HDNJ will visit many parts of Greece including Macedonia, the islands of Tilos and Kimolos, as well as Cappadocia, in Asia Minor.
The performance begins with a dance done for the Groom the night before his marriage. The festivities continue with dances that chronologically represent all parts of a traditional Greek wedding: the Bride’s arrival to the church, when she is given away by her father to the Groom, and the continued joyous celebration after the ceremony. When discussing the chronology of the performance, Soteria Kostas, Co-Artistic Director remarks, “I am blessed to have an opportunity to share my artistic vision with this themed suite this year. It allowed us to still remain true to the history of the group, honoring its past and simultaneously looking towards the future.”
Proceeds from HDNJ’s Annual Taverna Night will support this all-volunteer 501 (c) 3 nonprofit with general operating expenses. By purchasing a ticket audience members directly assist HDNJ in its mission of preserving Greek culture through presentations of the traditional folk dances of Greece.
Founded in 1972, by Fr. Jim and Eleni Chakalos, the Hellenic Dancers of NJ has researched, presented and preserved over 300 folk dances, songs, and traditions from mainland Greece, its islands, Cyprus, and Asia Minor, and passed them on to two generations of Greek Americans. The troupe has been commended numerous times throughout its 42-year history, for its dedication to its mission, as well as the enthusiasm and excitement of its performances. The dance troupe is currently comprised of first, second, third and fourth generation Greek Americans, ranging in age from 16 – 45, and representing the many Greek communities of New Jersey.
This outstanding troupe is nationally recognized for its presentation of Greek traditions and has performed at a number of local and national events including: Dukakis Presidential Rally, Inaugural Festivities for former President Ronald Reagan, Statue of Liberty Weekend Grand Finale, 20/20 ABC Television Program, Queens College of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Benefit, O. Elytis Chair of Modern Greek Studies at Rutgers University Benefit, Union County College Folk Arts Festival, the NJ State Ethnic and Diversity Festival, for Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew upon his first official visit to New Jersey, and Greek Heritage Day with the Metrostars. Members of the troupe participated in the Closing Ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece and at the 2006 Centennial Epiphany celebrations in Tarpon Springs, FL.