history

In October of 2003, four people came together to collaborate on an idea they each individually shared. Each person had their own experiences, their own ideas, but they all agreed upon one thing; Toronto needed an independent forum for traditional Greek dance. Thus, the vision of a professional dance organization was born. This vision was to enable its members to study Greek dance in its natural and organic form.


Talented dancers across Toronto were invited to the inaugural meeting of what was to become the Paradosi Hellenic Dance Company. The first practices set down the foundations of proper dance theory and repertoire. It was within the early stages of this foundational year that Paradosi HDC acquired its direction.


The primary goal of Paradosi HDC developed into the maintenance of Hellenic culture primarily through dance, short lectures on music, song, history, regional heritage, stylistic formation and costume analysis. Classes offered a more in-depth understanding of the Hellenic heritage through an intense program of study. Many mediums for learning, such as live musicians, videos, maps, displays, information packages, and hosting dance and music experts from Greece were provided to the dancers.


Soon after Paradosi HDC’s inception, the instructors traveled to Greece to participate in Kyriakos Moisidis’ seminar on Greek dance. It was then that Kyriakos and Yiannis Amarantidis became mentors to Paradosi HDC, and still are to this day.  Since then, the instructors have actively taken part in many additional Hellenic dance workshops, taking back to the group all their acquired experiences and knowledge. Through these subsequent experiences, the Paradosi HDC instructors introduced yet another mentor; Christos Papakostas from Karditsa, Thessaly.


Over the last five years Paradosi HDC accumulated a collection of traditional replica costumes from the regions of Evros Thrace, Trapezounta Pontos, Almopia Macedonia, and Metsovo Epirus.  Instruments, music, videos, literature, costume jewellery, art, artifacts, and any many other traditional items from the different regions of Greece have found a home in the Paradosi HDC archive.


Paradosi has studied various villages from the regions of Thrace, Pontos, Macedonia, Pella, and Epirus.  Over five short years, Paradosi has achieved many goals. Our dancers have been involved in a cultural exchange program with The Centre for Learning Traditional Dance “Kyklos” from Thessaloniki, Greece, where they were hosted on a ten day tour of Northern Greece. Paradosi has also hosted dance seminars with instructors from Greece and abroad. Aside from their own theatre productions and galas, Paradosi recently was a part of the first ever tri-city venture, “Enthymion”, where three dance organizations collaborated to stage a traditional dance and theatre showcase. Audiences were exposed to authentic village style dance accompanied by live traditional music from Greece, the U.S. and from Canada. Members of Paradosi had the rare and fortunate opportunity to interact and unite with dancers who shared similar ideologies on traditional dance and culture.


Performances, either through the direction of Paradosi HDC, or through their support of other various philanthropic organizations, are always geared towards educating both Greek and non-Greek audiences.


Paradosi HDC cultivates, refines, and nurtures each of its students’ knowledge, ability, and talent in folk traditions that stem from all areas of Greece. Students of Paradosi are called to reach their full potential while at the same time acquiring a deep love and respect for all traditional Hellenic dance, song, and music, regardless of region.


Traditional dance is one of the last pure and untainted elements of our culture.  This is why Paradosi HDC strives to keep the passion alive in its dancers, so that they may never forget the importance of their Hellenic roots and tradition. At Paradosi, our belief is that Hellenic dance is not merely an expression of the past, but a reflection of who we are today.