Home Church & Religion 21st Annual Hellenic Dance Festival celebrated in Orlando

21st Annual Hellenic Dance Festival celebrated in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. – A record 2,500 participants gathered Jan. 14-17 at the Caribe Royale Resort to attend the 21st annual Hellenic Dance Festival (HDF). The Metropolis of Atlanta sponsored event welcomed performing groups from across its Metropolis and beyond. After a canceled 2021 event due to the pandemic, 43 teams traveled to participate, representing parishes from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado, Virginia, Illinois, and Kansas. HDF also welcomed for the first time groups from Arizona and Maryland.

HDF is led by an executive committee and a 15-person festival implementation team. The event aims to bring together Orthodox families through dance, music and fellowship to perpetuate the rich Hellenic Orthodox tradition. As an acknowledgment of the highly-anticipated return of HDF, the theme of the weekend was “RECONNECT”,  which 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 1000 health kits for local ministries.

 “The theme of our Hellenic Dance Festival was “Reconnect”, and everyone who attended truly reconnected to their relationship with God, reconnected to their Hellenic roots, and reconnected in fellowship with their brothers and sisters in Christ”, said Father Sampson Kasapakis, Hellenic Dance Festival Chairman. “After having to cancel the previous year’s event due to the pandemic, this year’s HDF was a great success not just in numbers but in reconnecting to what we are passionate about, our Faith and Culture”.  

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 Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zelon. On Sunday morning, the entire Metropolis family gathered to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. 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: Elliniki Psihi, Hellenic Youth Dancers, Hampton Roads, Va., Advanced Primary Category: Levendia, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Charlotte, N.C., Junior Category: Oi Dopyoi, Annunciation, Winston-Salem, N.C, Advanced Junior Category: Meraki, St. George, Knoxville, Tenn., Intermediate Category: Ellinopoula, Hellenic Youth Dancers, Hampton Roads, Va., Advanced Intermediate Category: Armonia, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Charlotte, N.C., Senior Category: Ximeromata, St. Dionysius, Overland Park, Kan., Advanced Senior Category: Enosis, Hellenic Youth Dancers, Hampton Roads, Va.

The annual Metropolitan Alexios Philotimo Award was given to the parish of St. Katherine in Melbourne, Fla.

The 2023 Hellenic Dance Festival will be held in Atlanta, GA. For more information about HDF, please 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.