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Pittsburgh’s Greek Dancers Revive Joy of Oakmont Festival

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.

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