Yannis Konstantinou

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Yannis Konstantinou

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Yannis Konstantinou is very well-known as a teacher of Greek Macedonian dance and culture throughout Greece and Europe and among those North Americans who have had the good fortune to experience the dance seminars he organizes annually in Agios Germanos, overlooking Lake Prespa.

Yannis' passion for traditional music and dance began in his childhood, dancing with his family in his parents' villages of Alona and Akrites in the Florina region of Greece. To this day, this grounding is evident in his teaching philosophy and dance style, both of which pay homage to the locals with whom he has danced at "panigiria," weddings, and fests; who are a continual source of knowledge and inspiration; and who fuel his deep commitment to preserving and sharing the rich traditions of the region.

Yannis' knowledge extends beyond that of the Greek Macedonian people indigenous to the area. Since 1990 he has conducted research on the impacts on Florina dances due to the migration of social groups and ethnic minorities to northwest Greece, such as Vlachs, Sarakatsani, and refugees from Thrace and Asia Minor. He also has participated in comparative research studies of Macedonian communities beyond the Greek borders. In 1994 Yannis produced The Musical Tradition of Florina, a long-playing album, in collaboration with the Center of Greek Tradition.

Yannis is President and Artistic Director of the "Lygkistes" Cultural Association and a founding member of The Academy of Traditional Folklore Dance and Music located in Athens, Greece. He is actively involved with the "Association for the Preservation and Dissemination of Traditional Dance and Music" whose members are dedicated to sharing with children and youth living in urban areas an appreciation of traditional lifestyles of the outlying areas of Greece. Since 2001, he has been the Director of the student dance association of the Balkan Studies department of the Aristotle University of Thessalonika.

In addition to the annual Seminar on Greek Traditional Dance founded in 1986 with his father, the renowned dancer Simos Konstantinou, Yannis began organizing a Balkan Seminar in Prespes where he and other dance specialists from neighboring Balkan countries present dances, music, and folklore of various geographical areas and Balkan ethnic groups.