The Greek Community of Tarpon Springs Documentary
Aided by a $5,000 Community Project Grant from Florida Humanities and sponsored by the City of Tarpon Springs Department of Arts and Historical Resources, Folklorist Dr. Tina Bucuvalas produced Dancing as One, a documentary showcasing the rich and vibrant culture of the Greek community of Tarpon Springs, Florida. With its perpetual ocean breeze and sunshine, the quaint town of Tarpon Springs is home to the largest Greek population in the United States and is often referred to as “Little Greece.” Delving into the local culture, the documentary displayed the Greek cultural practices that contribute to the unique charm of Tarpon Springs, including the sponge fishing industry, religious customs, music, food, the celebrations surrounding rites of passage (marriage, baptism, and death) and the most important and endeared aspect of the Tarpon Springs Greek community: dance.
Following completion of the documentary, a screening and a Florida Humanities funded panel discussion were held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral’s Community Center on March 14, 2019 where nearly 500 members of the local community gathered for a community dialogue and celebration of the local Greek culture. The event was free and accessible to all members of the community and the panel included producer Tina Bucuvalas, videography team Kostas Lekkas and Eleni Christopoulos-Lekkas, and respected choir master/dance instructor John Lulias. The importance of the documentary did not end with the screening, however, as it will be available for viewing at the Heritage Museum in Tarpon Springs to continue educating and exciting future generations on the vitality of the Tarpon Springs Greek community.
In the face of a rapidly changing and growing Florida, the documentary project and the panel discussion provided a pause to reflect and a deeply needed space in which the stories and culture of the Greek community could be celebrated and recognized. Discussing and uplifting the individual cultures that contribute to the rich diversity within Florida remains a vital aspect of elevating Florida as a whole and maintaining a collective state culture that embraces and appreciates all Floridians.
Partner: City of Tarpon Springs/ Department of Cultural & Civic Services
Project Director: Dr. Tina Bucuvalas
About the Partner Organization: The mission of the City of Tarpon Springs’ Department of Cultural & Civic Services is to present stimulating, engaging, and educational performances, workshops, festivals, concerts, and visual arts that celebrate the unique heritage and culture of Tarpon Springs and the State of Florida, while bringing nationally-acclaimed artists to the community, establishing Tarpon Springs as a dynamic cultural destination.