Just like we promised last year in Orlando, in January 2023, our School returned to the Hellenic Dance Festival that took place in Atlanta. HDF is a youth festival that was established in 2000 in order to bring Hellenes from the communities of the Metropolis of Atlanta together. It takes place every year in a chosen town of the Metropolis on MLK Jr weekend and it is a Greek dance festival that celebrates the Greek culture, language, religion, and heritage.
Our School first attended HDF in 2022 and the warm welcome of the Greek communities of the East Coast was truly moving that we absolutely had to be back this year. In 2023, the festival was even bigger with more than 3000 people in attendance and over 1000 competitors who wore their beautiful costumes and were practicing their steps every waking moment of the HDF weekend.
For us, traveling all the way from Greece to the US, the best thing is the chance to meet all of you in person and hear the stories of all these Greek families that had to pursue happiness across the Atlantic. This year we met first, second and third generation Greeks. We met people with Greek last names who do not speak the language but really want to learn it. We met people who have only visited Greece once or twice and speak Greek perfectly. We met people who established Greek schools in the US and others who teach their Greek communities how to dance. We even met people who attended the School of Spetses, where our Greek Immersion Course takes place, as students in the 60s or 70s. Most importantly, we met some of our students who we are so used to seeing online but it just feels so much better when they see you and just run to hug you.
For all these reasons, it’s been our honor to help support the HDF weekend these past two years and we are looking forward to doing it for the years to come. Thank you for the warm welcome and the amazing Greek hospitality that never loses its character and origins no matter how many years or generations have passed. Till next year!