CLICK AN IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW
Louise (Anderson) Bilman, a trained musician and former professional accompanist, originally from Canada, pursued studies in Greek music from 1960 on. She taught the dance portion of UCLA's first course in Greek music, given by Dr. Sotirios Chianis in 1966, and together they set up the first formal course of dance instruction in a Southern California Greek Orthodox church, which was courageously pioneered by St. Katherine Church of Redondo Beach, California. That same year, Louise performed with an impromptu performing group for a Folk Dance Federation, South, festival (see photo at left).
In 1964, she was instrumental in bringing together the people who were to start The Intersection Folk Arts Center and Restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Louise taught an academic course on Greek folk dance, "Greek Dance in its Cultural Context," at UCLA from 1968 to 1975. She traveled extensively on a series of study tours to Greece, initially with Dr. Chianis and his family on an ethnomusicology course, and subsequently each year independently. Her area of interest took her for extended visits to Samothrace, Northwest Epirus, Western Crete, and the Thracian border areas.
Louise focused her research in Kalymnos and the central Dodecanese Islands. Because her study was not only the forms of dance but also its social utilization as a representation of community values, she was interested in the "raw material" the dances and songs of shepherds and sponge fishermen of small villages rather than performance groups, as a vehicle to perpetuate traditional values. She presented seminars on this topic at the ITHACA Cultural Study Program in Crete, under the direction of Dr. Nikos Germanacos. Issios and Themariotikos will forever be remembered as her dances.
She served as a judge in the annual Greek Orthodox Youth Folk Dance Festival.
Louise was a licensed clinical psychotherapist in private practice, was married to Jozef Bilman, and had a daughter, Catherine.
On April 12, 2013, Kypseli, a Greek folk dance group that Louise had taught for many years, held a surprise 90th birthday party for her.
Louise passed away on January 3, 2015 after a short illness followed by cardiac arrest. She was surrounded by her husband, her daughter, and son-on-law.