The Dora Stratou Greek Dances Society was founded in 1953 by Dora Stratou who remained its president until 1983. Ms. Stratou was the daughter of a former Prime minister and sister of a Minister; she was a trained classical singer.
She managed to mobilize state and private support in order to create “a living museum for Greek dance” which later expanded into other activities. She believed in the preservation of dances as a proof of the continuity of the Greek race since Antiquity.
The living museum of Greek dance, since 1953 a public-benefit institution subsidized by the Ministry of Culture and the National Tourism Organization under the auspices of the Municipality of Athens.
Members of the Dora Stratou Society are persons of high position who have offered significant services to the Theater in their various professional, scientific or other capacities. Membership is less than 100, mostly academics of all backgrounds.
The General Assembly meets every three years to elect a 7-member Governing Council, and every year to hear the Council’s report. The President of the Council manages, represents and binds the Society with his actions.
Since 1987 the elected president is Dr. Alkis Raftis, the leading authority on Greek dance, a graduate of four universities and former professor at the universities of Patras and Paris. He is President of the International Dance Council (CID-UNESCO), the umbrella organization for all forms of dance in all countries of the world.
Prof. Raftis speaks six languages and has published more than 20 books and many articles in various languages. He is widely known as one of the foremost dance historians, certainly the most prolific one.
The Theater offices and the costumes collection are housed in a 5-storey historic building in Plaka, the old town of Athens. It the 18th century it used to be the residence of George Finley, the famous British historian of the Greek Revolution. In the same building are kept the archives of recordings, films and field notes.
In the same building are located the headquarters of the Athens Section and the office of the President of CID UNESCO, the summit organization for all forms of dance, with thousands of members in 150 countries. The most notable dance professionals belong to this organization.