The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)
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Information: Nikos Zournatzidis, teacher of Pontian dance.
Nikos Zournatzidis was born in the village of Kechrokambos, near Kavala. Nikos grew up with Pontic music and dance. His first affiliation with a dance group was in 1965 at the Pontic Club of Kavala. He completed his studies in engineering studies in Kavala in 1969. In September of 1969 he found himself in Athens to fulfill his naval service.
Moving to Athens in 1971, he was both a dancer and the director for the Pontic group of the Dora Stratou Theatre, and from 1971 through 1975 he was the director of the entire dance group. He also was both dancer and dance instructor at the Pontic Artists Association of Athens (KOPA) from 1971 through 1983. In 1973 he began to study Pontic dance in order to collect and record its dances. He came to the conclusion that the attempts to do this up to that time had serious omissions.
In 1994 he established the Pontic Dance Society "Argo," later renamed to "Serra." It is the first dance group which has worn true copies of Pontic clothing with all their jewelry and accessories, while utilizing all the traditional Pontic instruments in their performances along with vocalists. The Society has also recorded all Pontic dances on videotape. Nikos is also a partner of the Pontic music hall "Kortsopon" which hosts prestigious dance events regularly. It was Niko's original idea to record Pontian dances, with all of their traditional instruments, by the Federation of Pontian Societies of Southern Greece (OPSNE), under his supervision and the supervision of the Pontian musicians Giorgos Amarantidis and Mihalis Kaliontzidis.
Nikos is an authority on Pontian dance. He has conducted research on Pontian dance, culture, and history and is the author of "Horeftikes Diadikasies Kai Horoi Tou PLontou" (Procedures for Dance in Pontos) in which dances, musical instruments, costumes and historical aspects are described. This book is used as teaching material at T.E.E.F.A of Serra in the dance program of the University. It has also been published in newspapers and magazines (Eleftherotipia, Nea, Kathimerini, Efxinos Pontos, Pontiaki Lyra, Araevo, Horevo, etc.) and he continues to publish various articles regarding Pontian culture and tradition.
He has taught Pontian dance to Pontian and non-Pontian societies, to the Lykeion Ellinidon and at the Gymnastics Academy in the dance field. He has danced or taught dance in various cities in the world: The United States (Los Angeles, Boston, Florida, Atlanta, Wilmington), India (Mumbai, Calcutta, Varanassi, New Delhi), France (Paris, Lilles, Strasbourg), Denmark (Copenhagen), Norway (Oslo, Tonsberg, Os), Spain (Barcelona, Pamplona), England (London), Russia (Moscow, Minvonti, Esentouki), Iraq (Baghdad), Jordan (Amman), Egypt (Cairo), Cyprus (Larnaca, Lemessos, Paphus, Lefkosia, Paralimni), Hungary (Budapest), Bulgaria (Sofia, Bourgas), European Turkey (Istanbul), Kazakstan (Almata), Italy (Rome, Cagliari), Canada (Montreal).
He has been invited to teach Pontian dance by the Federation of Pontian Societies in Europe. He travels to Germany twice a year, and teaches dance to the dance instructors of the societies. Every year he instructs dance at 4 to 7 seminars worldwide. Every summer in Greece he teaches dances to Greeks and non-Greeks as well.
He has made many appearances on television and on radio programs and has given many lectures in and outside of Greece.
In May of 2003, Nikos was honored by the Omospondia Pontiakon Somateion Notias Elladas along with twenty other segments of the Pontian world of dance, through a show in memory of May 19th for his contribution to the raising of awareness by certain actions he took before 1994 for the Hellenic Pontian genocide.
In 2005, along with his fellow villagers, he inventoried 17 traditional games that were played in Pontos and he presented them as gifts to Omospondia Pontiakon Somateion Notias Elladas Kai Nison, in which he is also a member of the executive council as the person responsible for the culture department. Their mission includes the combining of culture and history of Pontian Hellenism, in which he is also responsible for its distribution. Finally, he is a member of the council of the Panpontiaki Omospondia Ellados in which its mission is to study all aspects of Pontian tradition and culture.
Nikos is the director of Serra, the Pontian dance group in Athens, Greece.
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