Thank you to the HDF 2019 Executive Committee and Festival Implementation Team (FIT).

Executive Committee

Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta

Fr. Mark Leondis, Chair
Eleni Hopes, Vice Chair
Fr. Constantine Simeonidis, Spiritual Advisor
Monica Gjerde, Metropolis Youth Director
Venetta Avgeropoulos Jones, Site Selection Advisor

FIT Committee

FIT Co-Chairs: Stavros Karagiorgis & Fr. Sampson Kasapakis

Administration: Areti "Tina" Klein
Competition: Stacie Peroulas
Events: John Caras, Bess McClure, Alexander Kioukis & Panagioti Gavathas
Finance: Vassio Giannakopoulos
Judging/Krites: Stacy Kroustalis & Aris Yortizidis
Logistics: Voula Giannakopoulos
PR & Communications: Mary Rebecca Harakas & Eliana Kioukis
Registration: Despina Vastakis
VIP/Hospitality: Paula Detweiler
Workshops: Fr. Jon Emanuelson
Host Community Representatives: Susan & Ryan Marinos


Stavros Karagiorgios

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Stacy Kroustalis


John Caras


Stacie Peroulas

Stavros is a Winston-Salem, NC native where he's been actively involved in the local dance program. Stavros has taught groups of all ages, has taught various Greek folk dance workshops throughout the US and Canada, and has served HDF in various capacities over the last 10 years.

Stacy has been a member of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Winston-Salem for more than 25 years. She has a passion for Greek dancing and has been involved with HDF since she began competing in high school.

John recently graduated from the University of Georgia, and 2019 will be his ninth year participating in HDF. John is also one of the directors for the Pyrotechnimata group in Atlanta, GA.

Born and raised in Newport News, VA, Stacie has taught groups of all age levels and currently dances for Thrylos in Charlotte. Stacie has served as Chair of the Greek Folk Dance Program at Holy Trinity in Charlotte for the past 15 years, which has grown to become one of the largest programs in the US.


Susan Marinos

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Aris Yortizidis

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Mary Rebecca Harakas


Bess McClure

Susan Marinos is a lifelong member of Annunciation Cathedral in Atlanta, Georgia where she is the Sunday School Coordinator.  Susan has been involved with their dance program for over 40 years as a dancer, board member and parent.  She is currently the Costume Assistant.  Susan was a chaperone on the 2013 Odyssey trip.  She has been participating in HDF since 2005.

Aris has been a judge at HDF for 13 years and has performed with various groups since 1982. After receiving an FDF scholarship in 1996 to research dances in various regions of Greece, Aris continued his research and has obtained a vast knowledge of dances. He and his wife, Anna, are co-founders of the Byzantio Greek Dance and Cultural Arts program based on Washington, DC.

Mary Rebecca has served the Church in various capacities, including as a counselor at St. Stephen's Camp in 2011, a counselor at Ionian Village in 2014, co-chair of the Triangle Young Adult League for two years and as a dancer in the group at Holy Trinity, Raleigh. Currently living in Atlanta, GA, she's excited for her second year as Communications Chair for HDF.

Bess attends the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Atlanta and recently graduated from Georgia College with a degree in Exercise Science. She has been attending HDF since 2009, both as a dancer and instructor, and she's excited to make this year's HDF the best one yet.


Alexander Kioukis


Ryan Marinos

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Fr. Sampson Kasapakis

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Paula Detweiler

Alexander Kioukis was raised in Florida and went to Holy Trinity in Orlando. He was introduced to dance at a very young age and became fascinated upon going to a family wedding in Kozani. Alexander began attending HDF in 2011 and has since wanted to further his involvement to give back to the community,

Ryan Marinos is a lifelong member of Annunciation Cathedral in Atlanta, Georgia, where he has been a part of their dance program for 18 years.   He has been participating in HDF since 2009.  In 2013, Ryan earned a full scholarship for the Odyssey trip to Greece.  He is currently a dance instructor at the Cathedral for 3rd to 5th graders.

Fr. Sampson was born in Chicago and eventually moved to Sarasota, FL. After graduating from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in 2014, Fr. Sampson served as the Youth Director and Pastoral Assistant at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Lauderdale, FL. On September 14, 2015, he was ordained into the Holy Priesthood at St. Nicholas in Tarpon Springs, FL where he currently serves.

Currently living in Williamsburg, VA, Paula is a member of Saints Constantine and Helen in Newport News, VA. She and her family have served HDF since 2012, and they look forward to the weekend each year. After making new friends each year at HDF, Paula sees HDF as one of a few events where all are able to enjoy authentic Greek folk dances and celebrate the love for our culture and faith.

Love for our great Faith and rich tradition.

"Allowing young people to offer their gifts and talents to our Lord is a true expression of their love for our great Faith and our rich tradition. The hard work, hours of practice and the genuine smiles on their faces confirms their deep devotion to our Church"


 - Fr. Mark

Coming together in prayer, fellowship and love.

"My beloved, the Hellenic Dance Festival Weekend is a beautiful opportunity for our young people to express their love of our Hellenic Heritage.  It is a joy to see our families come together in prayer, fellowship, and love as we celebrate the richness of our culture and faith. I pray that the HDF Weekend will continue to provide opportunities for all the faithful to appreciate the beauty of Greece through music, song, and dance."

                                      - His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios