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In 1983 the Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church Dance Group was formed. The group consisted of 12 dancers with Pat Horianopoulos as the Instructor/Lead. They performed at our festival that year and were greeted by our guests with great enthusiasm. They also performed at other church functions and throughout Brevard County at various events. In April 1984 the group officially became known as the Grecian Odyssey Dancers. Greeks and non-Greeks alike enthusiastically received the group, as they performed at church-related events and various venues throughout Brevard County and elsewhere.
The Grecian Odyssey Dancers received no funds from the Church. They were proud to be solely supported by donations. Their costumes were carefully sewn by many of the dancers themselves and by volunteers who gave their time with great attention to detail. The Grecian Odyssey Dancers were a dedicated group that made many sacrifices, as they traveled to Atlanta and Clearwater, to many dance seminars for instruction, participated in the Epiphany celebrations in Tarpon Springs, devoted many hours to practicing, sewing costumes, marketing, and performing. They took great pride in their performances, often under less than ideal circumstances, uneven grassy picnic fields, intense heat, etc. Always at the forefront, though, was the joy of dancing and sharing an expression of their heritage. In 1989, in response to great demand from parents and children, Gloria Metropoulos founded the Junior Odyssey Dancers, aged 7 to 11. They were taught the fun of learning and performing the dances at our festivals. Almost all of these dancers moved up into the Grecian Odyssey Dancers as they came of age. At this time the Junior Odyssey Dancers and the Grecian Odyssey Dancers were two separate dance groups. In 1992, the dance groups were recognized as a ministry of St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church. The Junior Odyssey Dancers were under the direction of Mrs. Metropoulos and the Grecian Odyssey Dancers under the co-directorship of Nickie Ladis, Fran Hadjilogiou and the late Callie Randall.
In the Fall of 1994, the parish council voted to include the dancers in the church budget. Now as Director, the Grecian Odyssey Dancers under Fran Hadjilogiou grew into three distinct groups or divisions under one banner, consisting mainly of the parish children, ages 7 to adult. She continued to expand the dance repertoire and traditional costumes of the dancers until 2001, when she resigned as Director of the Grecian Odyssey Dancers. Fran is currently on the HDF Executive Council for the Metropolis of Atlanta.
In 2001, Ioanna Hawkins became the Director of the Grecian Odyssey Dancers. Mrs. Hawkins later added a 4th division to the group, the Junior Group 'Little Stars.' Janice Koumarianos, Christina Koumarianos and Jamila Jelani currently assist her as instructors for the various age groups. They are; the Junior Group 'Little Stars,' (ages 5-7); the Advanced Juniors, (ages 8-11); the Intermediates, (ages 12-16); and the Senior Group, (ages 16 - adult). Under her direction and tutelage, the Grecian Odyssey Dancers have expanded their repertoire of dances as well as their authentic costumes from various regions of Greece. They perform not only at the St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church Annual Festival, but also throughout Brevard County at various functions.
In February 2007, at the Hellenic Dance Festival of the Metropolis of Atlanta that was held in Clearwater, Florida The Grecian Odyssey Dancers received the Bronze Medal for placing 3rd in the Advanced Senior Division, an amazing feat considering it was only the second time that they had participated in the HDF competing with approximately 1000 participants, from 50 dance groups, representing California, Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida, and in 2008 our dancers received the gold medal for 1st place in the Advanced Senior Division.
At HDF 2008, in a competition that produced over 800 participants from 28 dance groups, The Grecian Odyssey Dancers received the gold medal for 1st place in the Advanced Senior Division.
On January 17, 2014 the Metropolis of Atlanta held the Hellenic Dance Festival in Orlando, FL. This event lasted four days with various Dance groups throughout our Metropolis. Under the tutelage of Janice Koumarianos, assisted by Gregory Hawkins and Christina Koumarianos and with Ioanna Hawkins participating as an advisor the Grecian Odyssey Dancers Intermediate Group representing St.Katherine's, received the Silver Medal and Excellence Award.
Dancers at HDF 2008 receiving their Gold Medal from His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios.
2014 HDF Silver Medal Intermediate Group