The Open Theatre of Dora Stratou in Athens: The National Greek Dances Theatre of Dora Stratou is situated on the slopes of Filopappou Hill, just opposite the Acropolis Hill and within walking distance from the picturesque quarter of Thissio. Founded in 1953, it is actually a living museum since, every summer, four days a week, live performances of Greek traditional dances take place.
This museum is open and has a large permanent stage designed by the famous Greek painter Spyros Vassiliou, large enough to allow different movements of the dancers. It has a seating capacity of 800 people and it is built amidst tall pines. The performers dance all kinds of traditional dances, from every region and island of Greece. They wear traditional, handmade costumes with precious jewelry on them.
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The performers have a repertoire of 200 dances representing many areas in Greece. The dances are not choreographed but learned from close observation of how they are performed in the villages. The groups consist of men, women, and singers and musicians who play live music.
The Theatre was founded by Mrs. Dora Stratou and constitutes the result of her desire to keep traditional forms of dance, music, and song alive. She spent many years gathering traditional costumes, folk jewelry and handmade objects such as shoes, swords, bells, kerchiefs and various other items. The theater has an astounding collection of 2,000 traditional costumes, the largest of its kind in the world.
Dora Stratou was born in Athens in 1903. She came from a rich family; his father was a politician, but unfortunately, he was charged with high treason and sentenced to death in 1922, after the Asia Minor Disaster. This was a great shock for Mrs. Dora Stratou, who left with her family abroad, having lost their fortune. She returned to Greece in 1932.
In 1952, Mrs. Stratou saw a performance of a Yugoslavian folk ensemble and realized that there wasn't such a group in Greece, apart from the Lyceum of the Greek Women, which used to give only two or three performances a year. Therefore, she founded a Greek folk group. Eventually, the construction of the National Greek Dances Theater was ordered in 1963. Dora Stratou was the president of the theatre for 30 years. She withdrew in 1983 due to health issues and passed away in 1988.
The Dora Stratou Theatre gives performances from mid-July to mid-September, every week from Thursday to Sunday. Each performance lasts for 80 min and includes dances from many parts of Greece and the islands.
Apart from dancing performances, the Theatre organizes dancing lessons, lectures and research programs all year round. In summer, there are also Greek traditional dancing courses for foreigners in English.
How to get there
There are many ways to reach the Theatre of Dora Stratou from any location in Athens.
Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus, or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from the port, airport, or your hotel. Alternatively, there’s the option of arranging a pickup by a local driver directly at the following numbers: (0030) 18288, (0030) 18222, (0030) 18180. You can also book your taxi online.
On foot: As the Theatre of Dora Stratou is located in a central area of Athens, it can be easily reached on foot from Syntagma Square or Monastiraki Square in approximately 20 minutes.
By metro: The closest metro station is Akropoli (Red Line). Note that in order to reach the Theatre of Dora Stratou from the metro, a 15-minute walk is needed. Get a map of the metro here.
By bus/trolleybus: The closest bus stop is "Dryopon". Check the routes and the official timetables on OASA Telematics.