Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic (Greek: Ελληνική Δημοκρατία), is a mountainous country in southeastern Europe bordering Albania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey. It consists of mainland with a peninsula, the Peloponnese. Greece also has about 1500 islands, 160 of which are inhabited.
The great differences in landscape (mountains, coastal regions and islands) and differences in existence (livestock, trade and shipping) have resulted in great differences between the regions, the clothing, the musical instruments and the dances. The biggest difference exists between the mainland and the islands.
Dance instructors often come from a specific region and are often specialized in dances from that specific region or even villages. A short description of the dance instructors we work with can be found below.
Dance instructor Panaiota Spantidea
Hello, my name is Panagiota Spantidea, I’m Immunologist (researcher) and I moved to the Netherlands 7 years ago. I’m from Kalamata in Greece and I moved here because for my work. I left many (not only) things behind but one value that I always have with me is the love for my country and its traditions, and especially the Greek traditional dances.
I started to dance when I was 5 years old, in the group of the youngest members in Lykeio Ellinidon Kalamatas and I loved it. I was member of this groups until I was 18 years old and deep inside it feels that I still am. When I became 18, I moved to Patra for my studies and I became a member in the advanced group of Lykeio Ellinidon Patras and 10 years after that, I became also (in parallel) member of the group in Syllogo Kyrion Pylou. A life full of dancing, experiences, people, and lessons in all levels.
The most important lessons I got for the Greek dance groups, form a very young age, is that we are all part of a group (a team) or as we say in Greek one 'omada'. And as that, we have to respect and support each other, that we have to work hard if we want to be the best. And even if you are the best (as an individual), if you don’t support your group and the other dancers, the results won’t be good. We have to try hard, practice a lot and never give-up.
Greek traditional dances are beyond simple physical exercises, they have to do with passion, love, understanding, maturation, support, self-control, self-respect and less ego. You can’t work as an individual when you are part of a group. So, if someone is not a very good dancer you have to help, to show, to teach. And this is what I’m doing for years now. Being part of a dance group is very close as being a family.
Until recently, I didn’t have the luxury of time and it was a conscious decision not to fully teach in groups until recently. But I was always active and loyal as a member in the advanced groups and the committees.
In the Netherlands, I was actively participating in Kaneloriza Rottterdam and I feel very lucky to meet very talented people all over the country and surroundings.
Now, I’m very happy to be part of Pigasos and I hope that I can inspire people through my passion for the Greek dances. Working to Make Hope Real!
Senior Scientist in Immuno-Oncology
Dance instructor Efthimia Smixioti
A girl from a village in western Macedonia (Greece) that made her way to the Netherlands for her master's degree in UvA (University of Amsterdam). She started dancing when she was six and has never stopped since. During her adolescence, most of her summers were spent in the paniyiria (Greek festivals) of Florina's villages, where she performed with the dance group of her village. She loves the dances of Thrace, but thanks to her teachers Leonida Stoyianni and Yianni Konstantinou, she learned and loved dances from all over Greece. From March 2023 onwards, she will start teaching in Pigasos, where she aims to share this love with others.
Always curious about new things, she is currently a big Balfolk enthusiast.
Dance instructor Christos Pastras
Born and raised in Athens, Greece, having family origins from Stiri, Viotia, nearby Delphi region. Till the age of 25, I have lived in Greece with an interim year in Finland.
My first dance lessons, among other activities, began at the age of 8 and at my primary school. As a dance student I have participated in various dance seminars, groups and shows all around Greece which were organized by the best dance teachers, in that field. The memory I will always carry with me is my dancing participation at the closing ceremony of Athens 2004 Olympic Games. As a dance teacher, I have had the chance to transmit my knowledge, for 10 years now, to numerous students, in seminars and dance groups, in all three countries I’ve lived in. My main inspiration originates from three persons, my teacher Giorgos Velissaropoulos, my father Thanasis Pastras and my grandfather Christos Pastras. They taught me how to “dance” my thoughts and feelings…