Anne Gani Sirota
Anne Gani Sirota was born in Alexandria, Egypt. Her grandparents were from Arta and Ioannina in Epirus, emigrating to Egypt around the turn of the 20th century. Anne started folk dancing in 1967 at Zorba's, the Greek coffeehouse, in the San Fernando Valley of California, and became totally enthralled by this new community. She learned not only Greek dances, but also Israeli and Balkan. In 1969, she began going to the Intersection folk dance coffeehouse in Los Angeles, California, and joined the Intersection Greek Dancers, directed by Athan Karras.
In 1970, Anne started traveling to Greece, reconnecting with her Greek roots in search of both her familial heritage and authentic village dancing. In the ensuing years, Anne also performed with the Intersection Balkan Dancers and the Intersection Adagio Dancers, both directed by Rudy Dannes; O Pontos, directed by Nikos Savvidis; Panegyri, directed by Nikos Varvitsiotis; and Ellas Dance Theatre, directed by Charlie Kyriacou, for which she was Assistant Director until it disbanded in 1990.
Anne started teaching Greek dance in 1972, and has taught at several international folk dance venues, at Santa Monica and Pierce Community Colleges, and at the Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival (FDF) symposium at St. Nicholas ranch near Sequoia National Park. She has been a dance judge since 1988 for the annual FDF Greek dance competition sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Western Diocese and is a frequent consultant and teacher to local FDF dance groups.
Most of Anne's interest and research in Greek dances has focused on Pontian and Macedonian villages in Northern Greece, and she has visited and documented village festivals, weddings, performing groups, and dance clubs in Athens, Ioannina, Xanthi (Thrace), Thessaloniki, Promahi (Edessa), Kechrokambos and Lakhani (Pontian villages), Aridea (Edessa), Meliki (Roumlouki), Vamvakofito and Skotoussa (Serres), several villages of the Florina region, and the islands of Crete, Karpathos, and Chios. She presented (and published) a paper on "Wedding Traditions in Florina" at the International Organization of Folk Arts conference in September 2000 in Aridea. She also has written articles for Oli Mazi, the annual FDF newspaper, including "The Transmission of Traditional Greek Village Dance" in the 2001 edition. She currently teaches regularly at Kypseli, a recreational Greek folk dance group in Pasadena, California, specializing in Pontian and Macedonian dances.
When she is not dancing, Anne directs professional development for kindergarten through twelfth-grade teachers at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
Among Anne's publications are
Dances Anne has taught include Dimitroula, Dipat, Diplo Kots, Ena kai Ena, Etere, Halay, Kots, Kotsari, Levendikos, Makedonia, Manzourana, Marina, Ormanli, Raikos, Seranitsa, Ters, Tik, Tikvesko, Tis Marias, Tria Ti Kotsari, Triandafilia, and Tsourapia.