2014 Florida Folk Heritage Award
As a second generation Greek-American with ancestral roots in the sponge diving traditions of Kalymnos, John Lulias grew up immersed in the culture of Greek Town in Tarpon Springs. In 1974, he moved to Philadelphia and joined the dance troupe Terpsichoreans. Inspired by his studies, Mr. Lulias returned to Tarpon Springs in 1979 and formed the renowned Greek dance group Levendia. He has studied in the United States and Greece with many noted dance teachers, which led to repeated recognition by the mayor of the Greek Municipality of Kalymnos for his expertise in folk dances native to the Greek isles. He is also the recipient of many awards, including the 2003 University of Florida Greek Studies Award, the 2004 Lykeion Ellinidon of Krokos, Greece Award, and the 2008 Greek Folk Dance Festival Heritage Hall of Fame Award for Lifetime Achievement. Throughout his career, Mr. Lulias has hosted and directed conferences, curated cultural exhibits, served on the Advisory Council of the Center for Greek Studies at the University of Florida, and led workshops and seminars all over the United States. His unwavering dedication to the promotion, perpetuation, and preservation of Greek culture through dance has left an indelible impact on the Greek community of Tarpon Springs and has become a model for cultural advocacy across the state.