Klio Kokolis Dance Director — Hellenic Heritage Dance Group
For over forty years, Klio Kokolis has dedicated her life to teaching authentic Greek Folk Dances and keeping her Greek Heritage alive.
With her love for Greek Folk Dancing, Mrs. Kokolis had the dream of beginning a dance group in her church to cultivate, perpetuate and preserve her Greek Heritage and Culture.
Arriving in Cherry Hill in 1965, from Kefalonia, Greece, where she was born, she joined the would-be church right away, even before it was actually built. She started out volunteering to help organize the dance group through its first performances. Her wishes came true in 1974 when she began her first dance practice in St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Cultural Center. Twenty young people were members of the first Hellenic Heritage Dance Group. Since then, Mrs. Kokolis has taught over 400 young people the beautiful art of Greek Folk Dancing. In 2014, the dance group celebrated its fortieth anniversary, bringing together three generations of dancers. Her own children, now adults, and grandchildren came out for the evening to perform.
The Hellenic Heritage Dance Group has performed at weddings, christenings, senior citizen homes, nursing homes, museums, March 25th celebrations, colleges, church festivals, workshops, competitions, and other events culminating in performances for Patriarch Bartholomew in Cuba and at the Epiphany in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
Klio Kokolis’ knowledge and expertise in authentic Greek Folk Dancing has given her students the privilege of learning many dances from various parts of Greece, while also acquiring a deep appreciation for the glorious history and culture. Now, forty-five years later, Mrs. Kokolis has mastered more than 300 dances, that she has learned from Dora Stratou teachers and dancers and various seminars in and out of the United States. Her dancers wear exact replicas of authentic costumes which are handmade in Greece.
Mrs. Kokolis’ dedication, loyalty, and love for the Hellenic Heritage Dance Group is deeply appreciated by her students, her audiences and the entire St. Thomas Family. This educational experience has extended from one generation to the next and will continue into the future.
Submitted by Kathy Zografos