The resumption of the Oakmont Festival at the Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in a Pittsburgh suburb was highlighted by the joyous steps of the Grecian Odyssey Dancers, lifting spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is so much a part of our lives,” Assistant Director Michelle Kotsagrelos, told TribLive of the return of the event and their performance.
“Whenever anyone actually meets me, within five minutes they know I Greek dance. It is so much a part of who I am … It’s part of my culture. I was raised with it since I was a child. It keeps me connected to my heritage with my grandparents. They were born in Greece” she said.
Her late grandfather, George Kotsagrelos, is from Icaria; her late grandmother, Emorfia, is from Kalamata; and other relatives are from Lemnos.
The Odyssey dancers had not performed since February 2020 due to the pandemic.
“It was hard,” Kotsagrelos said. “It was very difficult … I would put on Greek music at home and just dance around by myself. Greek dancing is very communal, so you need people.” And she got them.