As “Athletic Music Club of Apollon Limassol”, the name under which our association was founded, its action could not be missing in terms of cultural events. The crowning achievement of the cultural action was the dance group of the association, whose fame went beyond the narrow borders of Cyprus.

The creation

Inspirers of the dance group were two dance teachers, Marios Sofroniou and Andreas Lanitis. Both are graduates of the Lyceum of Greek Women in Athens, one of the most famous schools for learning dance, with a love for tradition and Greek-Cypriot dances. When they returned to Limassol, they were looking to house a dance club and teach dance. Apollon gave them a home and so the Apollon Limassol dance group was born.

Performances throughout Cyprus

As the only organized dance group that existed and the most famous of the time, it received invitations to participate in all kinds of events. Of course,it could not miss the pre-eminent events of the city that gave birth to the association: the Feast of the Flood and that of Wine. It also participated in the Limassol International Art Festival, which was organized for the first time during the tenure of Nikos Pattihis in 1969. But Limassol stood small to fit the band’s reputation. In 1971 it took part in the Famous Social Welfare Festival in Famagusta in the Municipal Park, which was organized in the first days of July, while a few days later and specifically on July 9 it contributed to the performance of the National Youth Council of Cyprus BRASS – BAND of West Germany. Also, performances were given in camps on Easter Sunday, traditional events, e.g. dance parties, in our countryside, performances on ships for tourists, in hotels and wherever there was a cultural event, Apollon was present.

With Apollon and delivery abroad

The success of the dance group extended its fame outside Cyprus, as when invitations came to Cyprus to participate in festivals abroad, Apollon acted as ambassador of our island. Accompanied by a member of the Board. each time, Sofroniou and Lanitis prepared dancers who gave their best to promote the Cypriot and Greek tradition in general. In 1967, it went to London with the Mars Choir and performed at the Scala Theater, receiving rave reviews. A year later, accompanied by Mr. Giannakis Erimoudis, it attended the Lefkada International Festival and closed the first night of the events with its performance. A year later, it went outside Greece again, after participating in a wine festival that took place in Dijon, France. During 1970, Apollon gives its presence in May at the festival of Chania, in the context of the celebrations of the anniversary of the Battle of Crete. Rhodes is also on the program in 1971, with the Greek public applauding and applauding its Cypriot brothers. A stop was the 1972 trip to Mallorca and Ibita. With the ocean liner “Romance” it made a big trip for the international festival in one of the top tourist destinations. Wherever it went, the dancers of Apollon gave their best to promote the tradition of their place and the name of the club.

A sunbeam in the wreckage

But no matter how wonderful the members of the dance group did, what they will never forget is the trip to Thessaloniki. The association had been invited to take part in the international song festival,  but was mediated by the Turkish invasion. The curator of the group, Andros Grigoriou, decided to discuss with the president of the republic, Glafkos Clerides, whether Apollon should finally travel. The vertical answer: “Why did not you inform me about the invitation, I give you permission to go, so that you can advertise and export the Cypriot culture”.

The show was given at the “Palais des Sports” in Thessaloniki and those who lived it will never forget it. The Greek people adored the Cypriot dancers from the first moment, not allowing them in many cases to complete their steps in dance! They ran and hugged them, kissed them and showed their solidarity for the drama that the Cypriot Hellenism was going through as a whole. For the finale, Apollon’s teachers reserved something that literally made the dancers one with the world. A handkerchief, the most widespread dance of Hellenism (Kalamatianos) and the dance group to perform it among the spectators. 40 years have passed since then, but in the description of what happened the members of the dance still shudder and sigh. For more than half an hour the audience adored the dancers and did not let them leave the stage!

They could not even imagine when they started this journey, how much it would mean for them, but also for the Hellenism of Thessaloniki. The statement of the Greek officer of the 3rd Army Corps who welcomed the dancers says it all: instead of ammunition, we found STONES “.

Unfortunately, this was the last event that the dance group of Apollon honored our club and our island, since the invasion led to its dissolution. It was, however, the association of the association with its city, Cyprus, but also the Greek tradition that from its foundation was ordered to serve.