How could we have imagined when we booked our plane tickets to travel to Los Angeles, California for the first time that the strongest image and sound in our memories would be that of young Greeks dancing all sorts of traditional dances from every corner of our country and that the word we would remember most from this trip would be “Glendi”.
As you might have seen on our social media, Greek Lessons OnLine travelled to Los Angeles after gladly accepting an invitation to take part in the 44th Greek Orthodox Folk Dance & Choral Festival also known as Your FDF in Anaheim, California. The annual festival that is one of the greatest for the Greek diaspora in North America means to promote Greek heritage and culture among individuals by expressing it through folk dance, folk art, music and language. The quality of the event and its organization truly impressed us.
In this year’s FDF more than 4000 people attended the Greek dance and choral competitions and the non-competitive performances, along with workshops about the Greek language reminding us once again that Greeks truly are everywhere… We experienced 3 wonderful days under the Californian sun with the warm hospitality of the people from the Greek Village Immersion Camp who we would like to thank for their presence and help at the festival. We were really impressed by their passion and their vision for the Greek language. Thank you Katerina and Tessy. It was so great being there with all these people from Greek Language and Culture and the camps Greek Village and Ionian Village; camps talking with kids and offering holidays that will also give them the chance to immerse themselves in the Greek language. Most importantly we experienced something unique that made us emotional right away; we saw kids, teenagers, young adults of Greek origin dancing the dances that their grandparents brought from Greece to the USA decades ago. They danced as one, with great pride and enthusiasm for their roots. They danced just like their grandparents used to when they were their age and were dancing at the summer celebrations of their village back in Greece or at a Greek wedding. They danced to remind us of the importance of roots, the importance of keeping a culture alive and growing miles away from the home country. They danced and danced and they made us really proud to have witnessed this miles away from Greece but yet so near.
What also made us feel so close to Greece, was the warm welcome we received from the families of our students that we finally got to meet in person. Their kind words and their appreciation about our work is something we will always cherish since it motivates us to continue and try to be the best for all our students and their families. Thank you!
Our trip to L.A. gave us a chance to present our School, our Summer Camp and Immersion Course and generally speaking our work with the Greek diaspora everywhere. We sincerely believe that this was such an amazing opportunity that brought us together with all these great Greeks in California. We now aim to be our best selves to be given the chance to bring all these young Greeks closer to the Greek language too. As close as all of them might be to Greek music, dancing, culture and heritage, quite a few of them never had the opportunity to learn to speak Greek and we would sincerely love to change that. After all, their souls are Greek, their hearts beat in Greek, the Greek language is in their DNA. These were Greeks dancing in California. So being given the chance, they will “remember” Greek in no time.
Thank you to all the amazing people we met in Anaheim. Thanks for the warm welcome, the great stories we shared, the great dances we danced together. You truly made us feel at home. Thank you!
The Greek LOL team