Episode 1

Meet us on the dance floor: Getting to know Peter Bournakis

Published on: 8th September, 2021

Peter has been dancing since the age of 6 within various cultural associations in the Greater Montreal area. Since 2001, he has been dancing exclusively with the performing group, La Troupe Folklorique Grecque Syrtaki (Montreal). He began teaching within La Troupe Folklorique Grecque Syrtaki beginning in 2006 with dances from all regions of Greece. As of 2008, he began more extensively researching dances, ethnographic data and music related to our traditions and created a personal audio-visual library which has grown to over 650 seminars, hours of locally recorded documentation of villagers dancing and in excess of 10,000 traditional music albums spanning all musical repertoires of Greece. Over the years, Peter has served as director of the group on numerous occasions for the dance company’s yearly program and on the preparation of special presentations/shows including one tour of northern Greece (2013) and the dance troupe’s participation on the Greek national TV show “Όλοι οι καλοί χωράνε” hosted by Kostas Hardavelas.

During his time in the dance group, he also developed a program for the development of the youth dance groups spanning from ages 5 to 16. He directed the senior dance group of The Dodecanesian Association of Canada “O Colossos” in Montreal from 2006 to 2014, where he focused primarily on dances and traditions of the Dodecanese and other Aegean islands.

Peter has taught dance seminars in Montreal (private and public), Ottawa (The Odyssey Dance Troupe), Winnipeg (Kefi Dancers of Manitoba) and as well as in California (Los Angeles – St. Sophia, Koinonia Seminars, Pasadena – St. Anthony). He continues to offer guidance and resources to other directors within Canada and the US on a consistent basis for various presentations and dance competitions.

In the summer of 2009, regularly attended the practices of the Women’s Lyceum of Athens (Λύκειο των Ελληνίδων Αθηνών). Since 2012, Peter has worked extensively on learning and applying the systematic analysis and teaching of Greek traditional dances as taught within the Physical Education (Traditional dance specialization) program in Greek universities [Τ.Ε.Φ.Α.Α.].

In 2015, Peter was recognized at the 9th Gathering of Friends and Tradition in Preveza, Greece for his contribution in the preservation and continuation of tradition abroad as a dance instructor, musician and organizer of cultural events such as Laografia Hellenic Cultural Conference.

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Peter has attended a number of online workshops learning from other instructors in Greece and having various exchanges on the state of tradition in its local environment and our role in preservation and teaching others on the same subject matter.

In addition to Seminars-Workshops attended, Peter also sits as a chairperson for the Laografia Hellenic Cultural Conference held biannually in Montreal. In addition to helping organize and coordinating the event, he has headed the selection of instructors and musicians over the last decade, bringing him into contact with many of the most knowledgeable instructors and talented musicians from all throughout Greece.

Panagiotis (Peter) Bournakis

E-mail: panagiotis.bournakis@live.com

Episode music: Diesi

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About the Podcast

Chronicling Greek and Cypriot folk dance and music.
Chronicling Greek and Cypriot folk dance and music, one episode at a time, with guests from across the globe. Hosted by @mariaseva9 @givi351 and guest cohosts.