Glasgow Hellenic Dancers
|Posted by Dora Scholarios on August 10, 2013 at 3:00 PM|
In 1944, the Greeks in Glasgow numbered two or three families. As the numbers increased through marriage and as a result of relations joining them, it was inevitable they should seek a link with their national heritage and turn to the Church as a focal point for their community. They found help and encouragement from St. Peter’s Church in Hyndland and St. Matthew’s Blythswood Parish Church in Bath Street where they held services until 1953 when Reo Stakis purchased and donated to the Community the church in Grafton Street. In 1962, the present Cathedral of St. Luke in Dundonald Road was consecrated in a service attended by the then Lord Provost of Glasgow and other church and civic dignitaries.
As the Community grew so did our activities including an active Greek School and Youth Club, with organized excursions, sporting and social activities involving our young people. We had a champion football team "Glasgow Hellenic" which was the highlight of Sunday afternoons for many of the community, and also earlier generations of our very own Glasgow Hellenic Dancers. One highlight in 1971 was a trip of 52 young people to Greece, which was an outstanding success educationally and socially (10 Scots children were part of the group). The group also visited General George Grivas in his Athens home.
The youth club has been in existence since February 1976, when it came under the name Glasgow Hellenic Athletic Club. The name Glasgow Hellenic is retained for the Club’s subgroups e.g Glasgow Hellenic Dancers. The Youth Club represents the interests of young people of Greek origin and their family and friends, and is dedicated to promoting Greek cultural activities in the Glasgow area in a way that preserves their Greek heritage and also integrates with the wider Scottish community. The Club also works closely with the Greek School which is based at St. Luke’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral, the only such school dedicated to Greek language for children in Scotland, and some of its members are also pupils at the School. Our dancers have represented the community at both Greek and non-Greek events.
One of Glasgow Hellenic's aims is to shed light on one of Glasgow's hidden cultures through music, dance and other cultural activities. In the past, the Youth Group has gathered funding for and organised major festivals at St. Lukes' Greek Orthodox Church, such as the "Millenium Greek Night" on the 5th of March 2000 and the "Greek-Scots Anthology" which was part of Mayfest in 1996. One of the biggest nights in Glasgow Hellenic's history was when Anastasia Moutsatsou, Nikos Ziogalas & Manos Pyrovolakis, performed at the Renfrew Ferry as the highlight of a week-long Greek Week Festival in June 2002 organised entirely by the youth group at the time.
In 2018, the profile of the Greek community in Glasgow has changed and we have a new wave of young and energetic Greeks and Cypriots who are working and studying in Scotland. Glasgow Hellenic Dancers are still aimed at providing a focal point for Greek activities for young people and others in and around Glasgow. We welcome Greeks, Scots and all nationalities and are happy to integrate with other nationalities' activities, whether in dance, drama or food.
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