John Sofios



John Sofios



John Sofios, a Greek American, was owner and proprieter, along with his brother Ted, of the Berkeley, California, restaurant "Aitos Greek Folkdance Taverna," a converted U.S. post office that had a huge hardwood dance floor and walls decorated with large flags of the world's nations. The taverna also had dance orientale shows Fridays, at noon, and Saturday evenings, with featured dancer Najia.

John relates that in the 1960s and 70s, both he and Ted learned many dances in San Francisco at John Skow's Studio. The classes there were taught by Johnny Pappas. There were many people who taught at the taverna. For example, Ruth Browns taught Israeli dancing and Bora Özkök taught Turkish dancing."

John directed a Greek performance group for a while and was involved with the Hellenic Cultural Celebration and Parade in San Francisco.

Richard Vincent wrote that Aitos was a unique place and Richard had many fond memories of it. During the mid-1970s, it was jumping Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Everyone danced to exhaustion. "No tension, no pretension," someone said, and that was exactly right. Sometimes, some dancers from The Intersection, a Los Angeles folk dance coffeehouse, would come in. What a party! Then, almost overnight, it died out. Nobody came anymore. It was like losing a brother; it couldn't be replaced. After Aitos (which means "eagle") went under, John's brother Ted opened a little deli across from the sugar factory in Crockett.

In 1981, Dick Oakes and Diki Shields planned a Holiday Weekend from December 7 to December 9 in Idyllwild. Headline teachers were John Sofios (Tavern Greek) and Ted Sofios (Village Greek).

Dances John taught included Beratis, Cerigotikos, Kastorianos, Kastrinos, Leventikos, Makedonikos Horos Konstandinou, Mermingas Kefallinias (Koutso-Stamatistos), O Yatros, Pidkhtos Epirou, Seranitsa, Sitiakos, and Tik.