Greek Dancers of the Monterey Peninsula
In Memorium, honoring our members and friends who are no longer with us.
Anna Efsthiou was Maxine Myer's Greek Dance instructor. She was active with the Castro Valley Greek Orthodox Church and led their dance groups in addition to teaching Greek dancing extensively in the East Bay area. Anna conducted dance seminars for our own group in Carmel in 1983, 1985, 1987, and 1989. She taught us several of our performance dances, including Pogonissios, Syrto Pyleas, Laziko, Haniotiko, Kastrinos, and Ikariotiko II. Anna was beautiful and graceful dancer; watching her and learning from her always was a delight. She passed away in 2000.
Anna is flanked by our own Joanna (right)
and another dancer in this 1967 Balcanci photo.
Aphro (left), Joanna, & Maxine model
Aphro's creation in this 1985 photo.
Aphro (Aphrodite) Ricupero was a lovely Greek lady married to a gregarious Italian. Aphro was a members of the Greek Village Dancers for many years. She designed the first women's costumes for the group - an embroidered deep red satin jumper over a graceful white skirt and blouse. The women Village Dancers still wear these costumes for some performances and those of us who knew her always think of Aphro when we slip them on. She passed on in the late 1980s.
Lillian Dinniman was one of Maxine Myer's first students in Carmel and stayed with the group until her health failed. She was a member of the Greek Village Dancers for a short time. Her favorite dance was Menousis. Lillian made a poppy seed cake that was the hit of every dance class party, and her sense of humor was delightful. She passed on in 1998. Lillian in 1991
Mary Jane Skopos Mary Jane Skopos had made costumes for several of the Village Dancers in recent years, and was beloved by all who knew her. We lost her suddenly on 18 July 2002, slightly over a year after her good friend, Sam Stamas, preceded her to heaven. This saintly woman had made costumes for Pat, Chuck, Carla, Zorba (2), and the skirt for Joanna's Amalia costume. In addition, she had just finished a vest for Zorba's belly dancing and had started on a second costume for Carla.
She was very active in her Greek Orthodox church, who will also sorely miss her guiding hand in the youth dance program and her costuming skills for same.
Maxine Maxine Myer started the Monterey Peninsula Greek Dance Group 1978. Previously she had performed with the Yassou Greek Dancers in Oakland before moving to the Peninsula. Maxine was host of Maxine's Greek Adventure Hour on Monterey radio station KAZU for several years, in addition to teaching the Greek dance classes and overseeing dance group activities for 12 years. Her passing in 1991 was a sad occasion for our Greek dancers. However, the camaraderie she had instilled and dance skills she had imparted have enabled the organization to continue to flourish even in her absence.
Ora Herren was Maxine Myer's chief assistant with the Greek dance class. She performed with the Village Dancers until health problems forced her to quit. She usually led Hiotiko in performance. When she could no longer dance, Ora continued to play the music for performances and maintained attendance records for the dance class. When Maxine died, Ora continued to help Darold with the class. She is remembered as one of the sweetest people we ever have had the pleasure to know. We lost her in 2001.
More info: http://www.e-odchudzanie.com.pl/lv/formexplode-atsauksmes.html
Ora (left) with Maxine in 1988
Sam Stamas was a fantastic performer from the Roseville area. With his son, he frequently performed the rarely seen "table dance" as "Ulysses" or as "Hercules & Son". A man of boundless energy and good cheer, he was the guiding hand behind the Roseville Greek Festival (which the Village Dancers have performed at in recent years, thanks to Sam) as well as the Roseville Greek Orthodox Church's youth dance program. We lost Sam in a tragic automobile accident on 24 May 2001. His two sons carry on his tradition as "Sons of Ulysses".
Please read Mary Jane Skopos' Tribute to Sam.
Shirley Eastman Zynda was Joanna's dance instructor from the San Jose area and the founder of Balkanke, later changed to Balkanci. This group performed Greek and Balkan medleys for various groups throughout the Bay Area. They performed at Greek Orthodox Church festivals in San Jose, Redwood City, Belmont, and Marin County. Shirley passed along to our group extensive notes on various dances. She worked hard choreographing to make dances interesting while not sacrificing the ethnic validity of steps. Some of the dances we perform which Shirley choreographed are Vari Hassapiko, Karagouna, Lefkaditikos, Pentazale, and Tamsara.
Shirley in Karagouna costume.
Ted Sofias was a performer and teacher of Greek dance in the Oakland area. He taught a seminar to our group in Carmel in 1988. Ted prepared a Syllabus of Greek Dances that still serves as a reference for us. Syrtos Kefalllinias and Zonoradiko IV are among the dances he taught us that the Village Dancers perform regularly. We don't know the exact date of his passing, but it was around 1998.