Western Springs man finds passion in Greek dancing
Tom Papadopoulos practices with his Greek dancing group, Ellas Dancers. | Chandler West~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:10AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — Tom Papadopoulos does everything from costume management to website work to share his love of Greek dancing with others. Papadopoulos is an instructor with the Ellas Dancers of Chicago, a group that does traditional Greek dancing in as many as 50 performances per year. The dance group, which practices Saturday nights in Elmhurst, is 100 percent non-profit, not being paid for its performances, but it will accept donations. Ellas Dancers was relaunched in 2009 after having been associated with a culture center on Chicago’s North Side. His wife, Lilia, is also a dancer with the troupe.
Q. What inspired you to get involved with Greek dancing?
A. I started at a young age in Greek school. I think I was 7 or 8. At 15, I got involved with a professional Greek dance group, and that was 17 or 18 years ago.
Q. What do you get out of dancing?
A. For me, it’s the love of dancing. They say dancing is a form of expression and passion. I get to connect that part of my life and my self with hundred of years of Greek tradition.
Q. What are your goals for Ellas?
A. To be able to maintain our dance group’s lifestyle and keep the current organization as it is. I want to keep this going well, and to continue to keep our troupe busy professionally.
Q. How much time do you spend on the dance group each week?
A. At least five or six hours between costume maintenance, practicing, performing, music and handling the web server.
Q. How can people get more information about the dance group?
A. By going to our website, http://ellasdance.com, emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contacting the other instructor, Aleks Markovic at email@example.com. There are no age restrictions, the person just needs a willingness to perform.
Q. What does “Ellas” mean?
A. It is the word for “Greece” in Greek.
Q. What is special about the dance troupe?
A. It is a small group, a great group of people. We are like a small family. They do a great job of assisting me; they, take a lot of things off of me.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Opening my own business, being an entrepreneur for the past four years. I own Lightning Computers in Berwyn.
Q. Why did you pick this Western Springs?
A. The location is great, the town is beautiful. We visited a few homes in Western Springs and I said, ‘I wouldn’t mind living out here.’
Q. What about Western Springs makes you proud?
A. It is hard to sum up. It is a great neighborhood with great schools. It is a safe neighborhood. It is a great location and has great history.
Q. What is your favorite community event?
A. Movie in the Park.
Q. What is your favorite restaurant in town?
A. Vie. It’s on Lawn Avenue, south of the tracks.
Q. If you were mayor for the day, what would you do?
A. Probably get the water-softening system installed. We’ve been dealing with hard water for a long time. I can’t wait for that to happen.
Q. What’s your favorite vacation destination?