DeWitt: Dancers delight in Greek tradition

Vicky Christo has been teaching dance to children at St. Sophia's Greek Orthodox Church for more than 30 years. Some of her students, including her brother Nick Dimkos, are now well into their adult years and still dance at the church's annual Greek festival. But Dimkos not only continues to perform in the shows; he is also committed to helping his sister instruct dance classes, and has been doing so for 20 years.

This kind of devotion to family and tradition is typical within the Greek community, carrying over from generation to generation.

"That's the most important thing -- to carry on the tradition," said Matina Marinos Sterio, a St. Sophia communicant, in response to why her two children are involved in Greek dance.

Sterio is part of a first generation family. Her parents Peter and Georgia Marinos moved to the United States years ago from a village just outside the city of Sparta off the Peloponissos Peninsula in Greece. They now reside in Liverpool.

Sterio, her sister Elaine (Eleni) and her brother Kris (Kyriako) were festival dancers growing up. Now she and her husband Jim would like for their children to share the same type of experience.

Peter Sterio, 11, has been dancing for three years and plans to stick with it as an adult.

"It's really fun and it's really cool learning about your culture," Peter said. "It's pretty cool meeting a lot of new friends."

His little sister Krystyna, 8, is in her second year of dance and is just as enthusiastic.

"I choose to dance in the Greek Fest because it was a new kind of thing for me," she said. "I never thought I would do anything like it and when I started it was really fun."

As for stage-fright, it only lasted a season.

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