HDF 2020 Organizing Committees

Executive Committee

Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta

Fr. Mark Leondis, Chair
Eleni Hopes, Vice Chair
Monica Gjerde, Metropolis Youth Director
Stavros Karagiorgis, FIT Co-Chair
Fr. Sampson Kasapakis, FIT Co-Chair
Venetta Avgeropoulos Jones, Site Selection Advisor

"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

FIT Committee

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

Finance: Vassio Giannakopoulos
Administration: Susan Marinos
Competition: Stacie Peroulas
Events: John Caras & Bess McClure
Judging/Krites: Stacy Kroustalis & Aris Yortizidis
Logistics: Ryan Marinos & George Saad
PR & Communications: Eliana Kioukis & Eleftheria Dako
Registration: Despina Vastakis
VIP/Hospitality: Paula Detweiler
Workshops: Fr. Jon Emanuelson
Host Community Representatives: Raymond Henderer & Effie Hill

Coming together in prayer, fellowship and love.

Stavros Karagiorgis

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Fr. Sampson Kasapakis

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Vassio Giannakopoulos

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 12 years.


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.


Vassio is a member of Annunciation Cathedral in Atlanta, GA. She has attended HDF as a dancer, an instructor and served on several FIT Committees. Before HDF began, she was instrumental in teaching Greek dance workshops to various communities throughout our Metropolis. Vassio is one of the directors at her church for the 3rd-5th grade group, Pyrotechnimata.


Susan Marinos


Stacie Peroulas


John Caras


Bess McClure

Susan is a lifelong member of Annunciation Cathedral in Atlanta, Ga.  Susan has been involved with their dance program for over 40 years as a dancer, board member and parent. She currently assists with costumes. Susan has been participating in HDF since 2005, and was a chaperone on the 2013 Odyssey trip.

Stacie was born and raised in Newport News, VA. She 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 16 years, which has grown to become one of the largest programs in the US.

John graduated from the University of Georgia in 2018. 2020 will be his tenth year participating in HDF. John is both a dancer and one of the directors for the high school group, Yi Anemos & Fotia, in Atlanta, GA.

Bess graduated from Georgia College with a degree in Exercise Science. She has been attending HDF since 2009. Bess is both a dancer and one of the directors for the 3rd-5th grade group, Pyrotechnimata, at Annunciation Cathedral in Atlanta, GA.

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Stacy Kroustalis

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Aris Yortizidis


Ryan Marinos

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George Saad

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.

Aris has been a judge at HDF for 15 years and has performed with various groups since 1982. Aris has done continued 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 in Washington, DC.

Ryan is a lifelong member of Annunciation Cathedral in Atlanta, Georgia, where he has been a part of their dance program for 19 years.   He has been participating in HDF since 2009.  Ryan is both a dancer and one of the dance instructors at the Cathedral for 3rd to 5th graders. In 2013, Ryan earned a full scholarship for the Odyssey trip to Greece. 

George began dancing in 1998 at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Melbourne, FL. In 2012, he began dancing at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Orlando, FL. He also instructed an elementary and middle school group in Orlando. The Greek Orthodox Church has been instrumental in shaping him into who he is today.

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Eliana Kioukis

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Elefteria Dako

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Despina Vastakis

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Paula Detweiler


Elefteria was born and raised in Athens Greece, to Albanian parents. She graduated from Meredith College with a degree in Business Marketing. She has been a member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Raleigh and the adult dance troupe for the past 3 years and is currently teaching Greek dance to 3rd through 6th graders.


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.

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Fr. Jon Emanuelson

Fr. Jon Emanuelson is the proistamenos at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lewiston, Maine.  Fr. Jon has been a parish priest for over 29 years and has also served in Wilmington, N.C., Ogden, Utah and Charlottesville, Va. He received his master’s degree in 1989 from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and bachelor’s degree in geophysics in 1985 from Virginia Tech.

Fr. Jon has also has taught earth and space sciences in an alternative high school setting. He is a talented craftsman and owner of Orthodox Creations LLC, offering educational and wood products of high quality as well as creative carpentry solutions.

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Raymond Henderer

Raymond was born in Teaneck, NJ.  He graduated from Paramus High School in NJ, and attended Bergen Community College.  He was a Hospitality professional who spent 20 years with Marriott Corp and 11 years with Starbucks Coffee.  Raymond is married to Amalia Henderer and they have 2 children, Andoni and Katerina.  They live in Lake Mary, Fl and are members at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox of Orlando.   His favorite hobby is cruising. 

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Effie Hill

Effie Mavrofrides Hill has been a member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Orlando since 1972. Her three children have been part of the Hellenic dance program since each of them turned 3. Effie is currently an instructor for the Pre-K 3 to 5 year olds. She has either volunteered at or attended HDF for the last 6 years. Effie looks forward to seeing you all at the next HDF in Orlando 2020!