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My first Folk Dance Festival (FDF) competition
March 31, 2016. By Athena Rapinan

On February 11, 2016, I attended a Folk Dance Festival (FDF) competition with my dance group in Anaheim, California. FDF is a Greek Orthodox folk dance and choral festival, held every year, where dancers from different Greek churches all over United States compete. My dance group was competing against twelve other groups. FDF was fun, exciting, and I enjoyed being there with my friends and family.

Competition Preparation
In preparation, we had to practice singing and dancing, for four months, once a week, and later on twice a week for two hours each day. Also, during some of the practices, we had to wear different costumes that we were going to wear during the competition. When we were at FDF, we practiced the nights before, and the mornings of the performances. It took a lot of hard work and time to prepare for the competition.

Opening Ceremony
During the opening ceremony, all the dance groups from different cities were introduced. There were a bunch of people, loud and up beat music, and lots of laughter. I have not seen that many Greek people in one big room in my life! When we were introduced, my group and I waved our flag and screamed our church’s name.  Some people also danced, clapped, and some even did gymnastic flips. Although the opening ceremony was short, it was really fun.

Competition Days
I thought the competition days were fun and intense. I remember watching all of the groups before us perform, and they were really good. Watching them made me even more nervous. When it was our turn to dance, I started to feel excited. After each performance, I felt relieved and happy.

Closing Ceremony
During the closing ceremony, they served dinner, presented awards, and had a concert. The dinner was a four meal course where they served different appetizers, salad, a main dish, and dessert. The awards were presented throughout the dinner, and our group won best costume award. After the award ceremony, there were two Greek singers, Eleftheria Arvanitaki and Master Tempo, that performed. My mom and I stayed to enjoy the concert.

Even though my team just won a costume award, I had a great time with my friends and family. FDF was exciting, fun, and a great experience. I really hope I get to go to FDF next year with my group, and have another awesome time.

This is a short video taken at FDF. Hope you enjoy it.